Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trail of Inspiration

This week I was challenged in a class on Inspiration to draw inspiration from a Beatrix Potter image. I did not grow up with these drawings, so the stories are not familiar to me. What struck me the most was the detailing and the amount of work in these paintings.

My first thought was: water colours (the paint, you know)  and soft tones. It had been a while since I used water colour paints and I wanted to get started again with them! Even though I am not an experienced painter and certainly don't apply these classic rules, like you cannot use white opaque paint in a water colour...!

The mice in the drawing made me think of something I did years ago: making finger prints (with ink or paint on paper) and drawing a long tail and ears, eyes, add some whiskers, and there you have it: a little mouse!
With an inkpad I tried to make the prints - felt a bit like a criminal - but the ink did not transfer very well. So after three attempts - they looked more like cats than mice anyway - I stopped.

Then came the thought: I have water colour brushes in Photoshop, how can I use these in combination with photographs? I started stamping the marks of the brush down in Photoshop. Soon it resembled a sort of 'photo mask' and I put a picture of my daughter's dog in it.
What a coincidence: I took the picture the day the dog learned to swim in the river - again that water connection!

The next idea was developed when I came across the artwork of Stephanie Levy. She uses black to make line art illustrations of interiors and colours them in with paint. She then adds patterened papers as a simple collage. Very clean and modern.

This reminded me of the spread I did in Julie's Altered Book about Historical colours. For her book I made a drawing of a French antique chair and outlined it in markers in a suitable colour.
So some decorating magazines came out and I started to trace lamps and chairs. Using coloured or black thin markers to outline them, filling in the colours with water colour paint.

I can understand why Stephanie likes to make this kind of work, it is fun and quick to work with. And I would love to experiment with pictures of my own interior! Well, only the nice pieces of course. On the other hand, I can just leave out the cracks and the dust bunnies!

The water colour inspiration trail did not come to an end yet. The next idea that turned up was painting swatches with water colour and tearing them in simple shapes, like petals, to use in collages or turn them into an illustration. Maybe have these tall childlike flowers reaching out to the sun? (I must be longing for spring).
Or I could use tissue paper and paint those - that would crumple up the paper and make a nice texture too.

So this is just an example of how one image can trigger the imagination and inspiration, if you just try looking behind the image itself. Even when that image has no special meaning to you.
I think that concentrating on inspiration these last few weeks made me so much more aware of how the things I encounter in everyday life can trigger so many new ideas.
And all I need now is the time to try them all out!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like these ideas. Thanks for sharing.