Ideas for paintings and other art endeavors are all around us. Our familiar environments are rich with possibilities -- objects, colors, textures, patterns, and so forth -- but sometimes the problem is, they're so familiar we don't notice them anymore.
Books and articles on finding inspiration often suggest taking a camera to remote, less familiar locations to capture things that could prompt ideas for your art. This is a great way to go about rousing a sleeping Muse, but what if you're housebound? What if you don't own a camera? Aren't there any other ways?
There's a book that can help you if you're struggling to come up with ideas. It's 210 Imaginative Ideas for Painting: How to Find and Keep Your Inspiration by Marjorie Sarnat. If you can't find any ideas to work from in Sarnat's book, you might want to take up another line of work.
This author has thought of and describes almost every possible thing, condition, or scenario under the sun that could serve as a basis for inspiration. Do you paint still lifes? How about depicting a piece of fruit splattered with drips of colorful paint? If you work in collage, how about collaging one of those small poseable mannequins sold in art supply stores? Or painting a room's interior as seen through an empty goblet? Ideas for realistic and figurative work abound in the pages of this book.
Practitioners of non-objective art aren't neglected, either. Just two examples: homing in on a few square inches of old, worn out denim to use its faded markings as a compositional aid for creating an abstract piece. Or using unexpected surfaces and unusual shapes such as pieces of 2x4 lumber as supports for abstract, primitive or folk art works. There are many, many more.
Sarnat also provides a great many helpful insights on such topics as working in series, developing a signature style, creating a sense of mystery in your work, and determining what makes subjects "worthy" to name just a few.
I had no idea when I downloaded this book to my Kindle what an amazing resource it would be. I now view it as a studio essential. Get a copy and you may find you now have too many exciting concepts to choose from!
©2014 Lynn Edwards