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6-9 INSPIRATION OR HOW TO GET STARTED

1

Are you in and artistic Slump?

There are two problems here depending on whether you earn you living as an artist or you do it for enjoyment or other purposes. In the first instance hunger and finding shelter are great motivational tools. In the second you need to be obsessional, like knowing you hid a bottle of Jack Daniels around the house but can't remember exactly where ... and it's 3am ... if only you knew where to start to look?
I suffer both so I find I must plan ahead;
1. Always carry a pair of scissors and be prepared to mutilate any newspaper, magazine or publication that comes within cutting range, and if none do, you must actively give yourself time to seek them out (10 min per day minimum). Be a serial cutter and cut out anything that startles, frightens, causes you to pause, gives you a tightness in the loins or a warm wet feeling, sinks or raises your spirits or any other strong response. It could well be a line or a drawing a pattern or merely a color scheme. Caution ... don't be selective in what you look at- and try not to be distracted by reading any of the articles. Many excellent artists have some difficulty with reading anyway so that is rarely a big professional problem.
2. Put all these cut-outs in a folder.
3. When the folder holds 20 or 30 start a new one. Don't be distracted by trying to catalogue anything ... if you do, then you are probably a better accountant than an artist.
4. Try and forget about the pictures you have kept - but every now and then, as you relax at the bar, open a folder and look again. Not only will this make you incredibly popular it will enhance you artistic reputation.

Gradually certain pictures will begin to echo in your mind. They will haunt your existence like bad colesterol counts and you will know you must do something about them.
Then, your artistic slump will vanish, just in time for your real torment to begin.
Now it becomes what, how, which combination, what is the essence of the feeling and how do I paint (describe) it, how do I start? I had a folder here with great color schemes somewhere ... now which one was that....? How can I encapsulate the feeling, yet be subtle and convincing? What forms/ lines/textures/patterns/color/ can I apply?
But, just think; when it is all over - and if it all works out brilliantly, you can wildly celebrate, wake up hungover and start all over again.

Now where did I put that red folder with the picture of Englishman on safari in the pith helmet, the Las Vegas showgirl and that picture of the Florida swamp ... and the tree monkey ... actually this is the picture I am painting at the moment.

I reversed the explorer ...

My show girl needed a new face another headress and longer legs

OK, so now I have combined all the elements including a few others hidden in various places

Plus a monkey and an duck ... when you are on a roll don't even hesitate!

Press for full view.

Now for the fun part ... a name! (but I always had someting in mind, you see, for one of my favourite paintings was Giorgione's 'The Tempest' - he died and neglected to name it, and for 400 years art historians have specualted as to the relationship between the two principal players!)

I toyed with 'Dr Livingstone decides to stay put and continue his African studies' or 'A sporting woman encounters a sporting man and looks away '... but then, like Giorgione, I thought it best not to be too deep.

STUDENT ACTIVITY: Make up and label three folders using your own headings then spend some time trying to fill them.

GO TO ....Painting glow and light
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