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Saturday, January 02, 2016

A Simple Tip For Overcoming Inspiration Paralysis

'A Quiet Spot'           5x7      oil on panel      ©Karen Margulis
available $75
It is a time killer. How often do you have time to paint and spend most of it trying to decide WHAT to paint? How often have you gone through stacks of reference photos only to decide you have nothing at all that inspires you. How many times have you given up and called it a day because you spent all of your painting time trying to find inspiration? 

It happens and it isn't a good habit to have. I call it Inspiration Paralysis. If you are trying to make a commitment to paint more often this is one habit that needs to be changed. When I started daily painting it was a challenge at first to find things I wanted to paint. I quickly learned that once I got started on a painting it would give me ideas for another.....and it snowballed until I was never at a loss for inspiration.



This quote from Chuck Close is so true. We just need to get into the studio, pick something to paint and get to work. Inspiration will come with painting. Get the engine primed and it will take off!  It doesn't have to be the perfect subject. It just needs to be something that you know....that you like.

I have a simple tip that helps me overcome the 'inspiration paralysis'.  
I call it an Inspiration Jar. 


My INSPIRATION JAR is filled with things I love to paint
I fill my inspiration jar with small contact sheet size reference photos. I like working from small photos so this size is perfect (about 2 x 3) If you work from photos on your tablet or computer you could fill your jar with slips of paper listing subject matter. If I worked from a tablet I think I would still print out contact photos of my potential subject. These small photos are perfect for doing thumbnails!

When it is time to paint I simply reach into my jar and pull out a photo. That is what I will paint for that session.  Of course I make sure that the photos on my jar are all things that I want to paint. They are all my own photos and they all have inspired me. It really doesn't matter what order I paint these subjects. Daily painting is all about putting in practice time at the easel. I dent want to waste my precious painting time agonizing over subject matter!

'A Quiet Spot II'        5x7      pastel     $75
 I am participating in Leslie Saeta's 30 Painting in 30 days challenge. There are over 1200 artists around the world participating. I am doing a 5x7 oil and pastel of the same scene each day. My goal is to get better at oil painting. I am not giving up pastels! I just want to be fluent in both....kind of like learning another language.  See all of the challenge paintings here.


4 comments:

Dotty Seiter said...

Thanks for your tip. Way cool that you're painting the same scene for 30 days. I've never done that. I'll be following your posts to see the month unfold under your brush.

Sandy Sandy said...

Great start and I love your "inspired" theme!

robertsloan2art said...

I love seeing both the pastel and the oil versions of your day's painting. Haven't been able to post to it for logistic reasons but have been drawing or painting daily. I just sketch what's in front of me from life here, have done lots of equines since I moved. Kitten takes me out horse shoeing and that's a perfect time for equine studies. Faces and hooves mostly so far, though today did a far off silhouette of a Friesian in a field.

They're not large or elaborate but it keeps me moving in the right direction.

Jana Forsyth said...

Inspirational jar! Such a cool idea :) Will have to try that.