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Walking Around with Your Eyes Open . . .
This is, of course, a good idea for many reasons, but making sure you don’t fall or run into something is not our subject here.
So many people do not make art because, although they own and hoard a shipload of art supplies, they lack a huge piece of the art making process - an idea.
“I can’t think of anything to draw” is a lament heard far and wide.
You know how, when encountering an article or book that seems a bit boring, you “skim” over a lot of it? Well, that is exactly what we tend to do with our lives. We miss a lot of interesting details that way.
So, my suggestion is to open your eyes in a brand new way while you walk around through this day.
Telling you to start noticing things is much too general to be effective, so I am going to suggest that you choose a “theme” for the day. It could be as simple as leaves or flowers which are ubiquitous, or it could be more challenging - like things that are hanging, or windows, or doors, or kitchen utensils, or things you can tie a knot in or gates or doorknobs.
I could go forever here. You can do this as you are out for a walk or inside your own house (things that are box shaped, for example, or things that are blue). You could even do it in the grocery store - as I did here.
The theme thing is a training exercise to teach yourself to notice what is around you. When you work on a “collection” like this, you will always find something to draw. And there will be stories attached, so you can write about the things in your sketchbook or visual journal.
My example is this metal milk can filled with leaves.
The story is this: I was leaving on a road trip to Scottsdale, and decided to take a sort of detour around the traffic in Albuquerque, and stop at a Sprouts Farmers Market in the village of Corrales to pick up some food stuff.
I love Corrales. It is a rural village stuck into the side of a huge city, but when you are there, you would not know that. It is beautiful and feels peaceful. So I wandered around a bit, took a few pictures to start my trip journal, and bought some good groceries. Then, because I would be on the road for hours, I thought it prudent to visit the store’s Ladies Room. I turned into the access hallway, and saw this . . .
One of my ongoing themes is “found” still life. I am always attracted to things arranged by someone else. As a fine art photographer, I always had a rule that I would not rearrange anything in a scene that I found. I am a little looser with sketching and might adjust things to fit a page layout. But the color and shape harmony of this scene was so pleasing that I pretty much depicted it as i found it.
I did leave out shadow because I did not want the viewer to be sure whether this was up against a wall (which it was) or in the middle of a room. The Surrealist part of me makes me do things like this.
Two minutes before turning into that hallway, I had no idea of something to draw, but because I had my eyes open and have trained myself well in the art of noticing things, I now had one. Though I felt motivated to put it in my sketchbook right away, I could not spend that much time in the market. But I took my time getting a good photo with my phone so it wouldn’t be forgotten.
This sketch is not the result of exciting sightseeing on my trip, but it takes me right back to Corrales that day and the excitement of anticipating a great road trip (which it did turn out to be).
So, if you are stuck for ideas, try this noticing exercise today, and see what comes into focus for you. Then, make some art.
New Class Added to my Site . . . Tiny Watercolor Paintings
I continue to move my online classes to an open shop where you do not have to join or sign into anything. Most of the classes are only $25 to own them forever and even download them. Actually, at this point, all of them are $25.
This one is really fun. Together we create 6 tiny watercolor paintings of easy subjects, and I give you all the helpful tips I can think of along the way.
This class is a lot of fun - and has a very rewarding “accomplishment” pay off. These paintings can be finished in 30 minutes or less. Also available on Skillshare.
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