What is inspiration? How can we stay inspired? How can we move past blocks?
Yes, my friends being creative, starting an art practice takes courage. Why? Because we are afraid to start, afraid to mess up, afraid of what other people will think or say, afraid to give ourselves this gift!
Where do artists find their inspiration?
Inspiration to make art can be found in our homes, the world around us, our pets, people we know, our imaginations and emotions and even nature. Do you ever feel like there are just too many things to choose from? One way you can narrow down your ideas is write down each idea on a small piece of paper and put it into a mason jar, basket or box. Pull out an idea when you feel stuck or overwhelmed about where to start! Keep your idea jar on your desk or work table so you can add to it or pull out an idea when you need to. You can also keep a list of ideas on a fun notepad, or in an idea journal. Start by writing things you love or enjoy doing, or art subject matter you like. Then make a list of subjects you would like to paint or create.
You can also gain inspiration from looking at artwork. But be careful you do not start comparing your work or where you are on your journey to other artists. Every artist is in a different place on their journey and you are in exactly the right place for you. You can learn a lot from other artists work and find inspiration in how they use materials or approach their subject matter.
Taking a class is always inspiring and gets our ideas and creative juices flowing. Make sure you use the ideas from the class in your own way and not copy the instructors work. Put your own spin on the techniques you learned and make it your own.
Art how-to books are another source of inspiration. You can try out new techniques and discover new mediums and materials. Once again create your practice ones and then apply the techniques to your own ideas, subject matter and style. But, what if I don't have a "style"? You my not realize what your style is yet, it is your voice, your way of creating, sort of like your signature. It will evolve as you keep playing, learning and creating. So, don't get too hung up on what your style is, it is all the things you love, the colors you choose, the type of medium you work with, the subject matter you choose, and even your mark making.
Another source of inspiration is our imaginations! Let yourself disconnect, daydream, be bored, let your mind wander. Take a walk in nature and take deep breaths, this will relax you and let your mind open to new ideas. Get out into the world and interact with other people, visit museums, take part in a discussion group, attend a lecture, concert or play, and read books and magazines. Don't forget to play! Get out your art supplies and just play with them, doodle, make marks, practice techniques, invite a favorite grandchild, niece or nephew to create with you and have fun!
Have fun and Happy Creating!
One of the biggest questions people have when starting out creating art is what materials should I buy and how much should I spend on them?
Art materials come in a wide range of quality and price. You definitely get what you pay for with art supplies. This goes for everything from paints, to brushes, pastels, and markers. Paints that are labeled student grade have less pigments and more of the binders or fillers in them making them less expensive. What this means is that the paint colors will not be as vibrant, they will be more difficult to mix and they may have issues over time with peeling, flaking when dry and going bad in the tube. But, student grade paints have come a long way in quality. They are not bad paints by any means but the professional grade paints are simply even better! This is true for all art supplies.
Start out with the student grade and as you use up a tube buy that color in the professional grade. This way you won't feel that pressure of spending and not wanting to waste it.
And please never feel like you are wasting paint or any of your materials when you create.
Every painting or creation is part of your learning process. None of us have created a masterpiece the first time out! It's all the stuff we create in between and before and after that make us better at what we do. Getting to know and using your materials is part of the process of creating.
What is the difference between fluid, soft body and hard body paints?
These labels simply describe the viscosity of the paint. Fluid will be able to flow easier, soft body is similar to fluid and hard body is still soft but not as fluid as the others.
You do not have to buy the most expensive brushes either. Buy a set with a variety of sizes and shapes, flats and rounds, that is made for the paints you are working with; watercolors, acrylic or oil. Once again when you feel ready purchase a brush that is a bit more expensive and see how you like it and what the difference is. As you create you'll discover you like certain sizes and shapes.
When purchasing paper the heavier weight the better it will hold up to your medium so buy 140lb at least. As for canvas, the more expensive canvas is usually thicker and better quality, but buy what you feel comfortable with. As you become more confident you may want to invest in the thicker edged gallery wrap canvas, it simply looks more professional. In the beginning buy the packs of less expensive canvas and remember with acrylics you can always paint over it!
In the beginning purchase materials that fit your budget and as you run out or use them up go for the better quality materials. You can purchase art supplies locally at Michael's Arts and Crafts, Hobby Lobby and online at Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Michael's and there are many other art supply online sources.
Surround yourself with a bounty of supplies that makes you feel excited to create.
Happy shopping for supplies and
Starting an art practice needs space. Space to be, think, breathe and create.