Hi Friends. If you’re feeling in a rut with the imagery or shapes you’re using in your paintings, I’m happy to share one simple trick that might change everything.
I remember the exact moment this concept occurred to me. It was about fifteen years ago, and I was out walking on my birthday with my sketchbook.
I was drawing some flowers and loving the funky, unpredictable shapes and lines that were springing forth. What I realized in that moment was how much more interesting these flowers were than the flowers I often drew from my imagination.
In that moment I thought to myself, “Drawing from life, gives LIFE to my drawings!” Bingo.
Often times what we think something looks like is almost a cartoon version of what it actually looks like. Things like flowers, figures, and even abstract shapes can end up looking predictable and stagnant when in life they’re full of exquisite surprises and subtle nuances.
Of course, viewing objects from different angles will also change everything, giving you even more interesting options. Imagine what that flower might look like from above or below?
So, my dears, if you aren’t in the habit of drawing from life (or even from photographs of life), I highly recommend revisiting this age-old practice. There’s a reason artists have always carried sketchbooks, am I right?
And it’s easy. The next time you go for a walk, grab your sketchbook and a favorite pen. Allow yourself to be intuitively drawn towards objects or shapes that feel intriguing to you.
Remember to take in the big picture (like a whole tree), as well as the smaller details (just one leaf). Embrace a loose style. Go for quantity, not quality. The looser your drawings are, the more possibility they hold!
Next, pin your favorite drawings to the wall or pull them out the next time you’re painting to use them as reference material. You can also practice painting your collected images onto cardstock as an in-between step before going into your paintings.
I hope this practice will breathe some fresh life into your paintings. Let me know how it goes!
PS. If you’re craving more tips like this one, I recommend checking out the ‘Finding Your Style’ and ‘Making it Personal’ Studio Diaries. Both these mini online courses are packed with more ways to keep your painting process alive with fresh inspiration and your own special sauce.