Friday, June 13, 2008

the process of painting

photos and pictures from my ideas file

As you probably know, I write a coloured pencil newsletter each month (which you can read from my website). I recently received an email from someone who is a Newsletter Group Member. She was putting forth a question for the July newsletter. After thinking about my response, I decided that it might be best to answer her question in a series of blog posts.

What Karen L. is asking is this: "Could you please describe the process you go through when doing a painting? I seem to flounder about. I thought if I could understand your approach, it might help me."

What an interesting request! So here we go. I have just started a new piece. I shall write about the steps I take to get my painting from start to finish - my 'process'. Karen, I hope this helps. Please keep in mind though that there are no rules in art. This is just how I work. :-)

First of all, I think the act of creating a painting is simply a process of making decisions.

To get started, I need an idea. Where do I get my ideas? For me it is from something I have seen. I am not the sort of person that gets my ideas from a song, or a line of poetry, etc. I am a visual sort of gal when it comes to this.

I am often inspired by what I see in nature. It can be flowers in the garden or items picked up on a forest walk. My inspiration often leads me to capture the object, the moment or the setting with my camera. When I am ready to start thinking about a new piece, I always review the large collection of photos that I have taken over the years.

I also am inspired by my 'idea files'. These idea files are simply file folders that contain images that I have gathered over the years. The sources for these pictures are often various magazines, catalouges, as well as art magazines. I cut out and collect images that I find interesting - it could be because of a colour combination, a uniquely shot photo, or an interesting composition of objects. Anything goes. The picture at the top of this post contains a small sample of the types of pictures found in my idea files as well as a few of my photos. Please note that I only work from my own photos. The images from the idea files are just for ideas.

Once I have some ideas for the next piece, I need to make a decision as to what exactly I am going to focus on. Remember I said that creating a painting was about making a series of decisions? At some point I have to move from having ideas to actually commiting to a subject.

In the next post I will show you how I came to be working on my current piece.

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