Art Unboxed The Common Spark
Recently I’ve been painting a lot of chickens. This is in part due to a friend in our Church who’s family has their own chickens. What I did not know until their inspiration, was how many unique breeds of chickens there are. I learned something new, and what we view as common sparked inspiration.
Often as artists we look for something to draw, and we can overlook so many great subjects trying to find something unusual. We can find the unique, and interesting in what is all around us. That is not to say we can’t also be inspired by great architecture etc, but it should remind us not to overlook what we see daily.
Still life’s lend themselves to this, I’m setting looking at our coffee table. Upon it, through the enthusiasm of our toddler, is a Thor hammer, toy soldier, super villain, cartoon mailbox, and a stuffed rabbit. There is more but you get the idea. This collection would be a wonderful still life with a large variety of color and shapes.
The yard just outside your door holds amazing options too. While walking our dog I took a couple of photos of an interesting tree. Without much effort at all, I have a group of painting ideas from my day.
The common spark of everyday objects and activity hold a world of possibilities. Three ways you can find subject matter are simple. First be mindful, pay attention to what’s around you. Notice what is in your direct and peripheral view.
Second squint to see only the large shapes and values. You may be surprised at what you see when you look at it in a different way. It will also help you plan how to paint it when you get ready to begin the piece.
Third, make a note, have an art notebook. Write down an idea when you see it. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as writing tree, interesting branches, and snapping a photo. This way you will not only have one idea, but a storehouse of concepts for future paintings.
Just as a chef has pantry staples to fall back on, and a craftsman collects materials, painters and writers can do the same. This way, when we find ourselves absent an idea, the common objects of our live will spark our creativity.