Extraordinarily Ordinary OR "I can't find anything to paint"

4:54 PM

© Sangria Cork by Laure Ferlita
Watercolor and Ink (Title)
5.5 x 8.5 Stillman and Birn
Beta Sketchbook
I have recently discovered a "Sparkling Sangria" on the market. I didn't go looking for it, so for all I know, there may be dozens, but for me this was a fun discovery. When I purchased the bottle, I fully expected the cap to be the screw-on type.

I was delighted to find out that not only did the bottle have a cork, it also had one of those "little-wirey-cage-thingies" so the cork wouldn't go flying until it was suppose to. It also made a big "pop!" when I opened the bottle—kind of like champagne but without the "ouch" in the wallet.

I left the cork and little-wirey-cage-thingie on the counter for several days because I just knew I was going to have to put it in my sketchbook. Which brings me to the point of this post...

No matter where you are, no matter how skilled, talented, creative you are, there is always something to sketch and paint!

It always amazes me when I hear another artist say "I can't find anything to paint" or "Nothing appeals to me. I can't find anything I want to sketch."



Okay, okay, okay. Enough of you have mentioned struggling with this that I'll take it seriously for as long as I can stand it.

First off, let's ask some questions.

  • It's a sketch in your sketchbook, right? We're not talking about something we're going to put on display, in a museum or a show, right? 
  • It's your sketchbook, right? You didn't borrow your brother's, your kid's or your Aunt Susie's sketchbook, right? If you did, put it back and get your own. Then meet me back here.
  • There's no test, right? Because if there is, I'm going home. (Kidding.)

If you answered, "Yes, Laure, it's just a sketch in my sketchbook and I'm not going to judged, tested, quizzed or otherwise measured," then there's plenty of stuff to sketch! Just look around!

We often get caught up thinking we have to "be inspired." While inspiration is nice, I find that I generate far more inspiration when I'm doing (taking action) rather than sitting on my duff thinking about what I could, might, maybe oughta be doing.

Sometimes, not being able to "find anything to paint" is code for "I'm intimidated to try because I don't draw/sketch/paint well." And how do we get better? Um, by doing the very thing we're not good at.

And let me say this...there are no shortcuts. You can read, you can buy art supplies, you can think about it, dream about it, talk about it till the cows come home, but until you start putting pen, pencil and/or brush to paper, you aren't going to get a bit better! (Sorry, that's just the way it is.)

Now, here's the bottom line...I have never NOT learned something (even if it's how not to do something) every single time I put pen, pencil or brush to paper. So, in the end, it doesn't really matter what I paint so long as I paint. If I'm painting, I'm learning. And so are you.

Once we're past the big obstacle of what to sketch and paint (oh, for goodness sake, go into the kitchen and grab a spice bottle if all else fails!), comes the opportunity to challenge ourselves. Maybe you want to get better at shapes, pick a vase, cup, bottle or anything else that strikes you as oddly shaped and get busy.

If you want to do shiny surfaces, pick something with a shiny surface, (a hair clip, a SOLO® cup, a ceramic vase, a tea cup, a pair of reading glasses) and go to it.

Don't make this harder than it has to be! And if at first you don't succeed, turn the page and try again!

Find something ordinary and turn it extraordinary. Now, get busy!!

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14 Creative Thought(s)

  1. ...enjoyed reading your post Laure' and as much as I love your drawing/painting, I also take special note of the alphas, they too are also something special

  2. I was using the excuse of feeling sick not to draw. I managed to look at the computer but then, I don't think that takes as much as drawing and painting. But, I do need to do my lesson from your class and I do need to draw in my sketchbook because... I always, yes always, feel better when I have done these things. Just thought I'd add another excuse to that list of yours for why we aren't drawing!

    Your cork is a neat picture and yes, such a basic thing. A spice jar huh? Well...

    1. We all have excuses, Timaree! Lately mine has been that I just don't feel like it, but like you, I feel so much better when I do sketch.

      And, yeah, spice jars work!

  3. Your cork is really beautiful. I have always been struck by how sketching something ordinary really does turn it into something beautiful. And as usual, you've given excellent advise.

  4. Great post! You mean, just having the art supplies sitting out on my dresser isn't automatically making me better?! (Hey, at least they're out in view and not hidden away in a cabinet...baby steps...)

    And sparkling sangria?? I want some!

    1. Sorry to say that the "art supplies sitting on the counter will make me a better artist" does not work. Dang it!

      Get busy!

  5. Great advice and missed reading you these few weeks. I really enjoy your blog!
    You do turn the mundane into something lovely with your sketches.

    1. Hey, Diane, it's good to be back. I seem to need to go on a wilderness walkabout every once in a while. This one was unschedule, but I'm back (I think)!

      Thanks for your kind comments!

  6. Love this post and love seeing one...it's been too long.
    Actually I have been doing just this; filling up my sketch book with as many sketches as I can. Love doing this.


    1. Thanks, Teri! It's good to be back. Glad to hear you're filling up the pages as well!

  7. Beautiful sketch as usual Laure! Actually looks like a photo! But what I want to know is how was the sparkling sangria???

  8. You are so right with your little poke/push .... to get back to art and 'just do it'! I actually did a simple image last night of a bunch of roses from my husband. Its been sort of a 'pause' here for art, but I'm looking forward to spending more time on it. I'm thinking of a trip to Australia - do you think that would be a fun place to visit?


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