Thursday, November 17, 2011

Illusive Inspiration

Inspiration can be triggered when we least expect it. I related in my last blog, "Soulful Song in the Sea Fog,"  ( ) how the sound of a distant voice that wafted through the fog lit that spark for me. Sometimes it's inconvenient to follow through on the creative impulse when it arrives. Capturing the inspiration and holding it until you can express it as a visual image can be a real challenge. Just as flashes of memory may be fleeting moments, inspiration can be here one minute, gone the next.

Painters often have the create compulsion at the most inconvenient of times. For instance, I've scheduled today for tax work and cannot allow myself to put that aside to finish up the 5 little works I started yesterday when inspiration took over. I was able to take the hours I needed then to rough in my paintings to almost completion. Yesterday was clear, today is rainy. I'll get back to painting next week. Most of my painting is en plein air, even when I paint mountain themes on the Florida coast. If the weather doesn't cooperate with my creativity schedule, I won't be painting that day.

Five Ways to Capture Inspiration:

Following is a list of  five ways I have developed for generating and holding onto creative ideas when they wander into my mind. Take what you need from my list and, please, add your ideas to share as a comment. No need to suffer the anguish of creative block when staring at a blank canvas.

1.  Record Your Ideas
A small writing pad you can sketch in, or a small recorder, or  phone video or memo that you keep with you is a great way to capture ideas to act on later.

2.  Take a Break in "Thinking" About Art
Immerse yourself  in great art by visiting a local museum if possible, or  larger museums online, or take an outing to the environment that you most express in your painting. You'll find that you are "feeling" the art when you are surrounded by imagery that you love.

3.  Chat it Up with Other Artists
If you don't have a local group of artist friends, the weather's bad, or you're otherwise homebound, get online with other artists. We are a generous group putting our ideas out there for dialogue on projects or promotions we're beginning or mulling over. If you don't have an online presence, setup one.

4.  Peruse Arts and Decor Publications
I love spending time in a new Architectural Digest ( ) or  Elle Decor @ELLEDECOR ) and other publications where I soak up trends for design colors and in artists' magazines where I read about new products or processes. You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter if you can't get the actual publications.

5. Be a Child Again
It's fun to play with line, color, composition when you're under no pressure to produce your next masterpiece. You can scribble in pencil, paint in watercolor or ink, or do simple studies to juice up your creativity. I keep a stash of  3x5" canvas boards, 8x10" stretched canvases, and inexpensive watercolor paper and bristol board for my play time. You may even sell those small works.

Sea fog conceals a beautiful sunny day that lies ahead.

A clear day vista from my island painting perch

  Inspiration can be gained in many ways. I was pleasantly surprised by my foggy day inspiration. If you find my five ways to kick start creativity helpful, please share them with friends and feel free to add you own as comments before you share.

All the best,

Gail Kent

Find me or my work at the following addresses:
Twitter - @Gail_Kent, and Facebook - (in process)

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