Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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

© 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."

Seriously?

Okay.

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!!