We’re only a couple of weeks away from the winter solstice now. It’s dark when I start work in the morning. It’s dark before I end work in the afternoon. On rainy days, I need a light on in my studio just to read a book.
It feels like there’s never quite enough light in the studio to really see what I’m doing, which can’t be true, because I have about a zillion LEDs of lighting.
I should be painting my little heart out right now, in this gap between fall and winter classes, but I don’t seem to have much creative juice this year. I’ve been hearing that from a lot of you, too.
I’m painting, anyway, because I know that momentum is a big piece of inspiration.
The idea for the next piece comes when I have the brush moving. Even when the brush is just making more fodder for the Big Pile of Nope. Sometimes especially when things aren’t working, because that’s when I get fed up and decide to try something crazy. I’m a big proponent of digging deep to figure out what you’re trying to say with a painting, but for me, that comes after I’ve gotten excited about saying something in the first place.
And a sure way to get myself excited again is some high-wattage COLOR!
Sometimes, I pull out an existing painting and re-interpret it with bold, even crazy, color.
I often use those inexpensive “decorator” paints for this, like Apple Barrel, FolkArt or Americana, from JoAnn or Michaels, so I feel completely free to use plenty of paint in whatever wild colors appeal to me. (Using acrylics means I can also easily paint right on top of a failed watercolor, if I want.)
If I don’t have enough energy even for that, I start decorating my sketchbook covers. Again, I usually use acrylics, partly because they help protect the cover against water.
This is the boring sketchbook I bought to prepare for my Journey Through the Rainbow class starting in January (there’s a reason I put that class in January!).
I coated the front cover with white acrylic gesso and then went crazy!
I had a lot of paint left over, so I did the inside of the front cover, too.
Pretty garish, but right now, just looking at little bits of it is giving me ideas for paintings I want to try. Paintings I’m really excited to try!
Look at all these yummy color combinations!
Sometimes, the point of painting is not to “make a painting”. What started out as mostly idle play has sparked ideas for several paintings. But the most important part is that it’s re-ignited my enthusiasm!
And, that sketchbook is going to make me feel like a kid with a new 64-color box of Crayolas every time I pull it out, too!