I hope this finds your week going well, and that this finds you creatively inspired and coming up with ways to bring much-needed beauty into the world. I just had my first vaccination today, and now, after a little nap, I feel ready to paint again!
When you make art or get into pretty much any kind of creative mode, it’s helpful to stay in a playful, experimental state of mind. If you can keep it exploratory, and think of it as a discovery process, you will help keep your inner critic at bay, and perhaps make some new discoveries that could open up wonderful new art-making possibilities.
And when you keep it playful, you actually do learn more, because you’re open to it!
As you may have noticed, I’ve been painting using a bunch of different styles and methods lately. I get to use teaching as my excuse — because it’s so much more interesting and educational for folks in classes to see different approaches and find the ones they relate to the best, than to only see one (and in time-lapse demonstration videos, it's easy to see the whole process quickly).
Last night I finished an 11” x 14” primarily-palette-knife painting — not a method I generally use, unless it’s a demonstration painting. But it is so fun to explore! It's the one you see above — I’m calling it Sunset in the Carneros, at least for now. (No, it’s not fire.)
Last summer I painted two other paintings, in different styles with different approaches and different palettes, of the same scene, albeit taken a little further down the road, so the perspective and the composition’s a little bit different….
Each is definitely something completely different….
Have you ever tried that? Taken one subject, and explored painting it in several different ways? One of my painting teachers in college, Maurice Lapp at Santa Rosa Junior College, had his students do that. Then, I did, I think, five different kinds of paintings of an apple. The last one was inspired by Wayne Thiebaud, and decades later I rediscovered it, and realized just how much it foretold much in the work I generally do now (just in a slightly different, but limited, palette).
If you haven’t tried something like this before, and want a little creative push, or an opportunity to play, you might give it a try.
Do you usually draw your composition in? You might try massing in the colors of the big shapes first, and refining them later. Do you usually use a particular kind of brush? You might try using one or two brushes that are very different, or try palette knives (you can get inexpensive sets of plastic ones in different shapes at art supply stores).
Or…? Is there anything you’ve seen or thought of lately, that you might enjoy discovering? So… what are you waiting for? 😊
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am a working artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in northern California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes, workshops, and private lessons, and live in Calistoga, California.