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Find inspiration close to home

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I like to think that everything we like to do in our everyday lives is going to influence more or less what we create and what we paint. Your day to day life and interests can be an interesting source of inspiration, sometimes in a conscious way sometimes we just realize the influence of our experiences afterwards.

I am going to talk about this subject along with ways to find your own style, taking risks and enjoying the process of painting in the upcoming webinar hosted by the Artist’s Network. It is a free online event and you can register by clicking on the link:

Fearless Watercolor for Beginners with Sandrine Pelissier

Here are a few ways you can find inspiration in your everyday life:

Paint what is around you

It could be your family and fiends , everyday simple objects, the landscape of the place where you live.

Your family and friends

When I started painting watercolor, I was mostly interested in portraits. I did many portraits of my family and friends and self portraits as well. It was what I wanted to paint, even though I knew these paintings would be more difficult to sell, I am happy I did it and that I have these memories of my kids growing up.

portraits

Family and friends are making inspiring subjects for portraits. They are usually very patient and willing to pose:)

Everyday Objects

There is some poetry in the rendering of everyday objects, you don’t need a grandiose landscape to make a good drawing or painting, sometimes just the most mundane objects can be inspiring.

Drawing of a lemon with dry pastels

white coffee low res

White Coffee: Mixed media painting

The place where you live

Maybe it is just me, but it always felt weird to paint a landscape if I am not there at the time of the painting. Even if it is a place I have been to and I brought back my own reference pictures, there is something that doesn’t feel right. I am currently located in British Columbia and we are very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful rain forests, the sea and mountains, so many opportunities to find inspiration.

For me, it is the forest that is the most inspiring and I have been working on a series of forest paintings for a few years now.

watercolor painting on paper

On either side of the river was painted from a reference picture I took in North Vancouver, Mosquito creek. I am familiar to this place because I walked my dog there a few times. You can see a bit of the river behind the trees.

Find inspiration in your activities

The things you like to do can be an endless source of inspiration, whether it be hiking, swimming, sewing or listening to music. These experiences can find a way in your Art. Here are two examples from my personal experience.

Crochet

I like to crochet and have been crocheting over big river rocks so I can use them as decoration, paper weights or door stopper.

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Then I noticed that some of the patterns I was using in my paintings were very much looking like the patterns I was crocheting on the rocks and that the idea is basically the same: covering an element of the landscape with patterns.

Then, keeping up with that direction, I decided that the patterns I was going to add on my next forest painting were going to be crochet diagram patterns. If you have been doing a bit of crochet, you will recognize the symbols right away. I see that painting as some kind of virtual yarn bombing :)

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The patterns in this painting are crochet patterns.

hooked on trees original acrylic painting

Hooked on Trees: Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.

 

Life Drawing

I am part of a life drawing group in North Vancouver, we meet weekly for 3 hours of uninstructed life drawing. Life drawing is becoming more and more of an inspiration for my work. In class, I am always impressed at how much each drawing has an individual style, even with beginners. In many of my drawings I now outline an area before shading with hatching or cross hatching.This is an habit that developed over time, even though some teachers will advice you not to outline your shading areas so they blend more, I like the look of it.

detail of a life drawing with hatching

In many of my life drawings I am outlining areas to shade before hatching them.

This way of working with life drawing actually found its way into my landscape paintings. This is the latest forest painting I have been working on, adding patterns to the tree trunks that are reminiscent of the shading I used for life drawing:

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The patterns on the tree trunks are done the same way as the shading on life drawings.

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Here is a small video that shows how I added the patterns to the tree trunks:

Do you have examples of how your everyday life and your activities are influencing your Art, please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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