After many years of university study, words become scrawl. Scrawl becomes a treasure trove of inspiration. Text turns into it’s own motif. The greater the need to focus the more text becomes a rhythm. A rhythmic sea of text that appears and disappears like waves on the beach.
Unexpected words from a speaker cause a flurry of scrawl barely readable. Then, as the tide of information dissipates, thumbnail sketches appear like cocktails at a resort.
Drawn at a professional development weekend on teaching ethics. Discerning the Message was drawn on a Best Western notepad while listening to a keynote speaker.
(with audio) “Every artwork is a potential masterpiece” but you don’t always know what will look good, especially when you are starting out. I never want to set up people for failure so today I am sharing some tips on life drawing when you’re starting out.
Difficulty spells disinterest
My students one year were given a 12 inch square canvas to paint a picture of themselves and something that identifies them. One student showed me her detailed pencil drawing drawn directly onto the canvas.
In my mind all I could see was the frustration she would be setting herself up for. Having to paint such detailed information onto that small canvas. Watching the pencil muddy the paint or the paint beading over the graphite. Watching the paint go in spaces not intended. Alarm bells as difficulty spells disinterest at the early stages of artmaking in my books.
You live and learn as a art teacher. I bet the next lot of students were bored to tears when I advised on keeping it simple and not too detailed.
How do you turn something that you think doesn’t look OK into something that you can use?
As an artist there are times that you just aren’t inspired. I sometimes have a spare canvas to muck around with in the meantime. Let that other painting dry. Don’t make it worse.
Document as you go
I always bang on about making sure you document your work as you go. There are times where you won’t be inspired. You will just want to throw the work away. You think it’s no good. You might even want to slap some gesso over it and start again. If you document as you go there is always some design element that will fly. Some great designs and abstractions come out of the ashes.
Salvaging your disasters
We live in an age of technology. You can make all kinds of changes to your work digitally. You might have Photoshop, you might not. It doesn’t matter. There is still a creative element that can be salvaged.
Take this one for example. Lost in the Forest. It’s nothing to write home about. I was mucking around.
Now cropped and enhanced I am already seeing with different eyes. The gold is more pronounced in the flowers. It almost looks like something you could put in a children’s book. Sure it still needs reworking but now I can see something worthwhile. What else can be salvaged?
1. I am now going to seriously crop out a section (image 1).
2 I will then put it into Photoshop for a basic crackle pattern (image 2).
I have also seen some Word programs that you can play around with images like this.