Aug 25, 2016

The Trail: From Inspiration to Creation - Painting & Drawing Tips


Have you ever stood back and looked at your Trail, your Road to Creation?

I know, you have so many ideas, you don't know what to paint first. Inspiration is everywhere.  It is. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see, or feel or sense a special moment.  One I would love to capture on paper.  But many times it passes with no results. 

THE HUNTER WAITS - Watercolour 12 x 16
Other times, I will sit and go through my reference material, spinning my wheels, looking for something.  You know, that thing that makes you want to grab your pencil, start a plan and 'get into it'. Standing back and analyzing your Trail will tell you lots about your work.  You will gather knowledge about your process and your goals; basically what makes you tick.

Why is that important? 

Knowledge about your process can help you streamline your energy.  Gives you more time to focus on what is important.  Knowledge of your goals gives you more control over your future.  For example: you rattle about, pick your reference and paint.  Are you challenging yourself with new stuff every time - if so, maybe you need to hit a holding pattern for a few projects and solidify that knowledge.   Or you find you pick the same kind of material to work from every time - could be time to change it up, and challenge yourself with new subjects, a new series or a new technique. 

My new piece, "The Hunter Waits" was a new challenge for me.  As many of my readers know, I spend the summer camping, painting and gathering new reference material.  For last few summers that has been on Texada Island. Camping in a forested area right beside the ocean, lots of opportunity to see seals, otters, birds and deer. My kind of stuff.  Each summer I find that I focus on difference things.  This summer I really worked at incorporating the birds I saw into my seascapes. Herons,  bald eagles, oyster catchers, crows and seagulls were the main order of the day.  I did get good shots of the turkey vultures too but right now I am not inspired to paint or draw them.

When I look at my Trail from Inspiration to Creation for this piece, I see several things that drove me:
1.     Walking on the beach at low tide: as the tide goes out the action starts, birds are plentiful, trying to capture whatever is left behind.  Tidal pools spring up, rocks appear, draped in seaweed, sparkling sandy bars run along the shore and gooey ducks squirt up as you walk by.  I totally wanted to put all of that into my picture.

2.    Having a resident pair of bald eagles near by: there was an eagle nest by the bay where the campsite is located.  Eagle sightings were a common occurrence and when the neighbour campers put their fish heads out for the birds, we had an awesome sight of Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Crows, and Seagulls, right at our doorstep.  I got fabulous shots of all of them. I really wanted to put the birds into my picture. 

3.    Reading about a painting technique: I have been trying different ways of underpainting with watercolours.  I want a looser underpainting but yet my tight detail for my birds and animals.  Resolving this without having my animals have that 'pasted on' look is my issue.  I was looking at Kim Johnson's work in "The Art of Watercolour" magazine and really liked what she was doing.  I tried two smaller pieces of a crow and seagull and decided I was ready for something bigger.  "The Hunter Waits" was the result.  See my crow in this post here. 

What does your trail look like?  Study your trail, find your new places.

I did take several work in progress pictures for "The Hunter Waits", especially the under-painting part, I will share those with you on the next post.

Late summer and fall are still good times for painting and drawing outside.  Check out my series of  Drawing Tips for Summer Fun.  It is a four part series starting here.  Great ideas for quick sketches in your journal or plein air pieces.  Best of all when the cold wind blows you can take these ideas inside and keep on going. 

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art.
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Have a great artful day, 

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