Books are one of my lifelines these days for staying inspired.
BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott was the first book ever prescribed to me by my first painting teacher. The lady knows her stuff. I just attempt to parallel what she says about writing to painting and more often than not, it just clicks. I’ve been posting quotes that resonate with me with a current sketch in progress to my Instagram feed. It makes sense for me right now and I can go back and look at them later.
For my lettering practice, right now I still love my Fabrianos. In fact, I even favor their watercolor blocks over others.
The small EcoQua books are perfect for just shoving in my bag and getting something down wherever I am.
This notebook gets more and more valuable everyday for getting me to do something.
What’s this? Has it gotten fatter?
Just a smidge.
I really like to keep my notebook on the trimmer side. Two inserts, tops. But, I recently added one more insert to my notebook.
It’s the TN Kraft File. I use it to hold my pencil boards and an article detailing an interview with Nikki Giovanni on finding and trusting your voice as a creative. I also use it to hold these…
I intend to paint from them and to use them to do color studies, etc. It’s pretty controversial for me since it was such a frowned upon practice in school. But these days, it might be the only way I get to work at all. As the saying goes, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Most recently, I took some photos from my potted plants and started working on one using a water soluble pencil and a Pentel water brush in my notebook.
Later, I tried painting it. I felt pretty intimidated all over again. But I made it through (which is why reading that book simultaneously really helps).
I got my values mixed up in some areas. But, overall, I’m happy I broke through that particular creative block to just do it.
Most times, I have to work at night if I’m going to get anything done. So, usually, I will restrict night work to black and white or just color mixing or making charts, etc.
That is important…but monotonous sometimes. So, the photos help to keep me moving forward. I figure as long as I’m working at night mostly, I should have some clear photos to use…and as long as I balance it out as much as possible with working from life, it can’t hurt. Some work is better than no work.
I was also really encouraged about working from photos after seeing Anna Mason’s website. I found her site after seeing some of her paintings on Instagram. Her watercolors are beautiful and she teaches her students using tutorials based on photos on her site. I liked her site so much, I joined her school. A couple years ago, I tried a membership for Billy Showell’s tutorials. I love Ms. Showell’s botanical paintings and how she makes wet-on-wet look so easy! But, at the time, I never got around to using the tutorials or the site. Looking at Anna’s site now, I believe it was the vid on creative blocks that did it. I experience them more than I care to say. She made me laugh and feel like she got it. She was also so transparent about juggling her own life and struggles with her painting. Her willingness to share about painting through the ups and downs of life felt comforting. I still don’t know if I’ll actually do the tutorials there yet either or how long I’ll do the membership, but it feels right for now. She paints her subjects larger than I do with tiny brushes, however. So, I’ll have to see how that goes. Even so, I have a choice to use my own photos or photos from her tutorials. If I should get stuck on a project of hers, I can see her video on it to get unstuck…maybe it will help me with aspects of my own projects. There’s also a place for interacting with other students which I haven’t used yet, but plan to look into some time soon. At the end of the day, I feel like learning painting like anything else is truly a hands-on activity. One can only learn but so much from watching a video. But, I still think they’re useful for providing a good dose of inspiration.
So, I have a few things in my pocket to keep me busy for now. 😉