How I get inspired 101

So I asked people on the bookface what they’d like to see me talk about. I have seen things, done things, know -many things-… but I don’t always talk about all the stuff I’ve seen and done because I’m kinda focused on the now and the very near future. I am told though that I’ve led an interesting life. So yah, I’m doing this blog thing mostly for myself but I’m open to what ya’ll want to know or hear about so if you got a question about… anything, I can probably riff on it.  I’ll even throw in pictures of my cat.

Look at my super awesome cat!

One of the questions though was ‘How do I find Inspiration’, so let me readers digest about that.

My approach into making stuff is part asking and answering a question. Painting and drawing is about discovering what works and what doesn’t. It’s kinda like handwriting, only instead of words you use shapes, shade, color, and arranged in a way that a creates tension, meaning, symbolism. The question asked and answered can be reinterpreting a still life or a seated model. Something represented in the physical world. Artists that focus on realism face the challenge of how to frame and depict what they see, create the illusion of a 3 dimensional object on a flat surface in their chosen medium.

There’s also the challenge of uncovering the interior world. This gets… mushy. I have developed an elaborate interior ‘world’ since I was a child. It’s the space I day dream, it’s the space where I work stuff out, cook up ideas, the space where I mediate. It’s not one of logic, it’s about as linear as dream. Describing it as a place is misleading, because it’s not a place, it’s just in my head. A way to explain it is like practicing visualized meditation, which is something I learned formally how to do as a teenager. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying this is some scared woo woo shit. It’s just how I think, work stuff out, have conversations with myself and work at uncovering my own personal jungian archtypes.

So what does that have to do with making stuff?

First I ask a question, or think about a person or situation that interests me, or something that I want to start talking about. I sketch out some ideas, or put it together roughly in my head. Think about it for a while sometimes or maybe get right to it, just depends on what I have time for that day. When working without a model I’ll sketch out the idea first, and then maybe look for photo references for any issues I may have with the figure. The style I have been adapting is deliberately flat and decorative, that plays with color, shape and heavy lines. The style is part of and part of solving the problem. Creativity only really develops with restriction, when you have all the options you can become lost. Maybe later I’ll talk about how I developed my style and where I want to take it. All that said, it’s better to work with a model live, at least in outlining the figure.

Then other elements are considered, depending on the source of the work. My sources come from things I’ve seen and done (and my impressions and feelings about them), characters that interest me in the real world, and myth, stories, symbolism. I stay away deliberately from contemporary stuff, like you won’t see me painting Batman or anything. I love comics, movies, pop stuff, but those are other people’s dreams, other people’s stories. I find it too easy to reinterpret someone else’s already created popular whatever. It may make it harder for me to get noticed but I prefer to give you my own world, not someone else’s.

So drawing is laid out and I lay in the color. I think about other elements, like do I want to include metallics or color effects. My goal with painting is to make it hard to reproduce exactly in photos, because I want the viewer to have an authentic experience when they see it in life. With digital work and prints it’s a little different, but when I do hand signed editions I look for a quality printer and do very small runs… because that’s what I can afford to have printed. If people want more printed work then I’ll do larger runs. Demand isn’t there… maybe it’ll never be. Oh well, just will make my work rare.

So paintings tend to evolve. I won’t always have a title when I start a painting, sometimes the meaning comes later, before I finish. This is part of the puzzle solving, the asking and answering. Like in working the tones of the face, the color shifting of the hair, the lines in the hands or folds of fabric, I’m figuring out what this is, who they are. Even though the drawing is laid out and I know the color decisions already, theres the emotion that is being worked into the work. Part of it is very practical and obvious. Like I said, it’s not a woo-woo thing. I’d say, for me painting is like a meditation, the asking and answering all at once.

I’d say, ultimately I’m an expressionistic painter, even when I’m being very literal. I’ve had it said that my work are all self portraits… I don’t agree but that’s not entirely wrong either. It all comes from me after all.

mmm… I don’t know if that makes sense. What I do know is my best work comes from things I feel strongly or react to. The more I feel something when I put it down, the better people respond to it. Hardest part for me is trusting my instincts, because I can overthink it. A common problem really 🙂

So, I hope you found that interesting. Now get back to work you!



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