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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Generate Painting Ideas

'Joyful'            5x7            pastel              ©Karen Margulis
It is hard to get started. There always seems to be something else that needs to get done. Painting time often takes a back seat. Especially when you haven't even been home for much of the summer! I haven't even unpacked the boxes from the IAPS convention! They hold all of the demos I painted. I am anxious to see them and share them but the boxes are not my priority. Painting is my priority.

Yes I have a long list of things I need to do but it is important for me to make a little time in my day to paint. I don't need much time. Under 30 minutes is enough. I think of painting time like doing a workout...30 minutes helps keep me fluent and flexible.  All of my daily workouts add up and makes me a better painter.

Making time to paint is easier if you know in advance what you are going to paint.  Having a selection of reference photos or subjects already planned saves much time and energy. 

TIP: Spend some non painting time choosing reference photos and clipping them to the paper you will use. Put these painting ideas in a pile. When it is time to paint only choose from this pile. Feel free to add to the pile only during non-painting time. Generating a stockpile of painting ideas during downtime allows you to be more productive when it is time to paint.

'Happiness'        6x6        pastel          sold

Today's paintings took about 30 minutes. I was able to start painting as soon as I went down into the studio because I had a pile of photos and papers all ready. I was able to get into the zone quickly. I enjoyed the first painting(top) and wanted to do more!  I was inspired by the first painting to zoom in closer to the Hollyhocks and paint another version. 

Often the act of painting will generate ideas for other paintings. My first painting inspired several new ideas that I look forward to exploring.

It was easy to get started when I have so many painting ideas all ready and waiting. It was just a matter of making time and ignoring all distractions!  How do you generate painting ideas? Share in the comments!

My reference photo from Auvers-sur-Oise France


Lisa Graham said...

This post was so inspiring! I love what you painted. I work in a similar way, but I always get side-tracked and before I know it the day is gone. Chores and people seem to interrupt and demand my time. I do find that a clean studio is a HUGE help. If my studio is a mess I waste a lot of time fumbling.

Thanks for this great post!

Unknown said...

Hi Karen, I had been painting more regularly ever since I took your Texas class and I felt like I was making improvements. But lately I have been busy and hadn't painted for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I went to my pleine air class and I went back into my struggles from several months ago. I think it was just a mini throw pack and even a good learning experience that my instructor helped me through. Your idea that it is just like "working out" is especially useful. If you want to stay in physical shape you can't exercise once every 2 weeks! My problem is that my studio is in my basement and I have to make an conscious effort to go there. I think I need to make a mini pack that I can have nearby with some small projects set up and then I would be more likely to do something each day. I'm going to set that up today. Jeff

PS Yesterdays blog post was especially helpful. Thanks.

Unknown said...

I definitely need to take your advice and get some reference material ready! I've started (again) doing daily 21 minute paintings following your advice at the wonderful Finland workshop. But I'm spending more time deciding what to paint than I am actually painting!
One good thing is that I am really testing and getting used to my Maggie Price landscape set of Terry Ludwig pastels. They are there, in their set, colours just waiting to use. My main pastel palette is a bit of a mess.......

robertsloan2art said...

This is a great idea to get going. I love the two hollyhock paintings. You've done so much better than the photos!