Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Looking for inspiration

Study of Moose
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I was looking for a reference photo of a black cat, as I wanted to try something dramatic on black paper. While I was looking, I came across an image of Maggie Stiefvater's cat, Moose in the WetCanvas library and while I was at lunch today, I sketched it. Eyes always appeal to me and this one was no different.

I've been in a bit of a drawing slump this week, likely because work has been over the top in terms of busy and by the time I get home, I end up collapsing on the sofa not doing much of anything else.

I have snippets of things that I've done this week, but nothing significant. But I hope by this weekend I will have started a larger piece Inspiration hits in strange ways and I never know when it will or what will trigger it. It seems there are a number of artists who are going through a slump right now. Maybe its the change of the seasons. So what do I do to find new inspiration? Here are a few things that usually provide me with something to sketch:

1. Visit other artists blogs. Leafing through pages of other art blogs often provides inspiration for drawings and sparks off ideas.

2. Visit a local art gallery or museum.

3. Looking through drawings that I haven't finished. I am often tempted to go back and finish them or redo them in a different medium.

4. Go for a walk. As I like detail in my work, walking gives me a chance to explore the world at my feet. I bring a camera with me and take a few shots of whatever strikes my interest.

5. Wander through the barn. There are dark hidden corners and lots of animals ready to pose. If you haven't got a barn, go to the zoo or an animal sanctuary or even the animal shelter or explore someone's garden shed.

Rust and iron in the barn

6. Go to the supermarket. Aside from buying groceries, you can find interesting fruits and vegetables, shiny displays, glassware - a artist's treasure trove.

7. Look through old photo albums. Old photos of relatives and friends from when they were children or portraits from the 30s or before make wonderful reference images. That's where I found an old photo of myself as a child and did a drawing from it.

What do you do to break out of a slump?


"JeanneG" said...

Don't struggle. It won't be long until we get our next virtual sketching project.

Rose Welty said...

I'm trying a new project to break myself out of a slump...quickie little 'just for practice' pieces that are all about trying out new things, regardless of outcome.

Fun little 30 mins to 1 hour sort of pieces.

I think "the slump" has something to do with changing seasons...everyone's routines are shifting with the weather. At least that's happening here. :D

Hang in there! (You mentioned a "blogger's block" the other day...I've got that going on too. Very unusual for me to have nothing to write about! :-)

Billie Crain said...

so this is the infamous Moose. he doesn't look nearly as criminally insane as Maggie says he is. looks can be deceiving, tho. great sketch, Jeanette!

Jeanette said...

I'll be waiting to see what's next on the VSP.

Rose, it seems like a number of people are in the same boat lately. Yes, it must be seasonal or too many other things competing for attention.

I think all cats are criminally insane Billie :) I know Tripod sure is...

E. Floyd said...

I have really been enjoying your posts.

When in a drawing/painting funk, I typically revert to focusing on the subjects which have been successes before. It seems to rebuild the confidence that seems to be lacking during the slump. Being that I am an architect, this means drawing interesting buildings, windows, and such. As confidence grows, new topics are broached and exploration begins again...

vivien said...

I always go back to my sketchbooks - no pressure there, just exploring ideas.

Also looking through old work can trigger new ideas on old themes and all the other ideas you suggested.

I'm sure you won't be in a slump for long.

Moose looks great - and my 2 are definitely criminally insane too!

The sketchbook exchanges have been presenting me with some interesting challenges - not least working in that tiny tiny moleskine :>0 How about setting one up?

Sydney Harper said...

I look through other artist blogs and websites. I'll look through technique books. Sometimes a forgotten or new to me technique will spark an idea. I also depend on my sketchbooks a lot. Going for a walk helps too.

Good job on Moose, wonderfully expressive eyes.

Jo Castillo said...

Great drawing to get you going. Moose looks like a sane cat in your drawing!

I sketch or try a new medium or one I don't care for much. That would be oil pastels!