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Start Working When You're Inspired . . . but Finish Later

by Clint Watson on 5/22/2008 12:37:00 PM

Sometimes, when planning to write a blog post, I look at the screen and just don't know where to start or what to write.

Perhaps, as an artist, you've experienced a similar feeling when starting a new artwork.

A few months ago, I added a new feature to our blogging platform that lets me start and save unfinished blog posts as "drafts."  The drafts don't appear on the blog, they are just a repository of started....but unfinished ideas.

This has been greatly beneficial.

Now, whenever inspiration strikes, I just fire up a draft, bang out a few sloppy lines that outline my idea and then go back to other work.

The benefit is that, when I'm feeling uninspired, editing is easy.  The difficult work is the initial spark of inspiration and the foundation that is laid at the beginning.  After that, it's really all just editing, refining and correcting.

So, now that I've saved a nice backlog of drafts, when my writing muse has decided to go on vacation, I can simply pick one to edit and finish it.  The fact that I have something already written seems, somehow, to jump start my brain.

I suggest that this would be a great way for you to work on your art. 

Whenever inspiration strikes, do a sketch....start a painting . . . . whatever it is that you have to do just to get things started.  Then, leave that started, but unfinished work for a future time.  That way, when you experience a creative slump, you can pick one of your previously started masterpieces and simply continue with the technical work of bringing it to completion.

Sincerely,

Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

PS - In this post, I mention our blogging platform, which is included with FineArtStudioOnline Gold accounts.  If you would like a full-featured artist website.....with a built in blog, give us a try.  Head over to FineArtStudioOnline and sign up for a free trial!



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Topics: Clint Watson | creativity | inspiration 

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 9 Comments

Lori Woodward Simons
via web
Clint,

Yep, you are absolutely right. Some mornings, I'm just full of ideas, and if I don't write or type something about it, the thought fades by the next day. Not only does it fade, but often evaporates. Painting ideas work the same way. Edgar Payne's book on Landscape composition states that one idea leads to another and if we artists don't get some marks down on paper, we will, in a very short time forget about the idea.

Thanks for your insight.


Artist Boyd Greene
via web
Clint,

It does make it easier to paint when you are inspired but at the same time I grow inspired when I force myself to paint when I'm not in the mood to paint.

Van Gogh often spoke of making himself paint when he didn't feel inspired.

I like Harley Brown's idea just throw some paint on the canvas and get started.

Reading seems to help me to get inspired and jazz and classical music seems to help me to stay inspired.

Diane Shields Spears
via web
Inspiration can be elusive, but I've discovered that if I don't let much time elapse between painting sessions, that it is easier to tap into it. I do set paintings aside frequently to finish later. Lately I found fresh inspiration to finish one that I began two years ago that was "lost" leaning against a wall behind others. The only difficulty with letting that much time elapse is to be sure that the surface will receive fresh paint. Many times my initial inspiration is a thin paint sketch, which will allow additional paint after long periods of time, so I normally don't have much trouble continuing. For me, creating an initial thin paint sketch insures that I won't "tighten up" right away without examining the serendipity possibilities in the sketch.

Gayle Faucette Wisbon
via web
That is exactly how I paint! Right now, I have 5 different paintings in progress. I have one on the easel and four hanging on the wall. So, while I am painting one, I am studying the other four. I let the paintings speak to me and tell me what they need next. So, I never get bored and for me, it keeps the creativity flowing.

bob Ragland
via web
I solved the problem of having subjects to paint or the inspiration thing , this way. I keep a list to possible projects to explore. I work in series the artist Robert Kulicke is one of my distant mentors for this idea. Think Georgio Morandi. I also work in other mediums,, a kind of crop rotation if you will. I have more art ideas than I will ever get to do. I like having future projects to do.
Sincerely,
Bob Ragland

Ivonne Campbell
via web
I'm going to try this approach w/painting and a different mind set. Sometimes I let too much time go between paintings due to lack of confidence. I can see a terrific painting outcome in my head, but worry that I wont be able to reproduce it in reality, so I take up too much time planning my approach. I think I will attempt what the other person said about a lightly painted sketch and build from that. Perhaps if I put a few of my ideas in sketch form on canvas, this will provide breaks between paintings and inspiration may strike more frequently w/several pieces in the works!!! Thx for the tip.

Ivonne Campbell
via web
I'm going to try this approach w/painting and a different mind set. Sometimes I let too much time go between paintings due to lack of confidence. I can see a terrific painting outcome in my head, but worry that I wont be able to reproduce it in reality, so I take up too much time planning my approach. I think I will attempt what the other person said about a lightly painted sketch and build from that. Perhaps if I put a few of my ideas in sketch form on canvas, this will provide breaks between paintings and inspiration may strike more frequently w/several pieces in the works!!! Thx for the tip.

Verna D'Alto
via clintwatson.net
Hi,
I would like some advice on how to make a presentation book. What size? How many paintings? Is it better to show paintings than slides?
HELP,
Verna

Susan Ziots
via clintwatson.net with facebook
Hi, I love these comments. I have a box with a couple of dozen underpainted canvases and lots of referance materials hanging around.
Thats what works for me.
Also Diane, I have restarted a few painting after long periods and I have found that if I brush a thin layer of turpenoid natural( available at Michaels and hobbylobby) It soffens the surrface and gets it ready for new paint.










 

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