Ahhh that elusive creativity…

So, perhaps you’ve been building a series of works. Perhaps you are starting out and unsure what to start with and where to begin. after a flurry of about 3 months painting, exploring techniques to use with oils (glazing, brushes, palette knife, textures, colour blends), I am stuck.

I actually sat down at the canvas and…hmmm…nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I could have painted something I am sure, but that normal directional pull I feel whether due to colours, subject matter, tools, or music just wasn’t cutting it. It was as if there was some kind of cardboard ceiling I couldn’t quite see through, a sort of sluggish dissatisfied feeling that came up every time I thought “Ok, well let’s do this”. Nope. Nothing. Nada.

So I did what anyone would do. I tried something. Yuck (technical term don’t you know). Stopped and gave myself a break. So where do I go from here? Hmmm… Well, new songs, old songs not working, so I guess we are back to inspirational photography. Checking out beautiful scenes until something hits me in the inspirational gullet. I was watching a program on Istanbul last night and some of the architectural features struck as being possibly very cool to paint-if I could capture the essence of the arches in my style without overly dwelling on the fact that realism is not my forte by any stretch of the imagination.


Anyone else dealt with this same stage of the process?


This art show entry process…

I think one can truly drive themselves over the bend with will art show entry process.

To begin with, the whole trying to narrow down your work to five photos is brutal. Do you try and show a wide range or techniques and colours, or should you show work that embodies just one element of your style. I mean, no one would ever misidentify me with a realist painter, but that said, I have been known to do brush work, and my palette knife paintings are far ranges in so far as subject matter and style.

I tried taking an overall poll to help me narrow it down, and while interesting to see what a wide range of tastes those I know have, made things even more confusing, since they were picking solely with their hearts and eyes based on what touched them in some way…but really, isn’t that the whole point? I suppose it should be unless things are so politicized or marketed to death. Is is a good thing when what you see is nothing like what you are doing? Or does that indicate that the panel is going to be looking for more of the same sort of flavour to make their show cohesive….arrggggh…see what I mean about second guessing yourself?

And on another note, while checking out the entry requirements for other shows, some are so totally detailed and cost prohibitive for a new artist or one who hasn’t yet turned what they do into a business or marketing machine that it inhibits them from applying. I know I certainly don’t have professional booth lighting, walls, fixtures, advertisement banners etc just laying in my basement awaiting my first show. So, are these professional art shows loosing out on potential talent due to the rigours of their entry process? And what are new artist to do to get their works exposed?

More and more things to ponder.

On a fabulous note, I finished the 4th painting in the lilies series-this one at dawn…and am pleased with the results. And found a new song that inspired me to do a large palette knife canvas…so I guess things are moving forward…now just to get that damn art show entry form in :o)


So, you think you want to enter an art show eh?

It does sound pretty exciting and like a good opportunity to get your work some exposure, but there are many things to think about.

Where is it? Indoors or outdoors. What is provided for the space? Is it just a space with no walls? Canopies for weather concerns? Tables? Many shows will just in essence “rent” you the “space” for a fee and you will be responsible for the rest of your booth set up and display. Read the fine print regarding your responsibilities for set up AND take down. Also pay attention to the hours you MUST be there for. I mean what do you do if it’s an outdoor show and you have 40 paintings with you? Bring them, leave them overnight…hmmm. And again, more for paintings, less for pottery etc., how do you protect said work from the sun/rain/weather in general for two days. Unless a glazed, framed print, or an outdoor installation, most art work is not really made to be outside

What kind of clientele are you likely to get? Is it an art show? Craft show? market? All of this will determine your customer base and those looking for scented candles and beautifully crocheted toilet paper holders may not be the best candidate for your experimental art or vice versa. No one wants to spend the day sitting there while people scrunch their noses over your work.

Finally, if it is a juried show, what are the entry requirements. Read the entry form carefully. Many of these shows have an entry deadline far in advance of the show date-some almost a year ahead. You will minimally have to provide examples of your work. Most often, this can be pics on a cd, but pay attention as there will be a limit as to how many pieces you can show them. So, do you choose your bestest most favouritest works (and yes, I know those aren’t words lol), or do you choose ones that show a wide range of ability???

And so that is where I am now. What pieces do I choose to put on this cd….hmmmm….



To thine own self be true

Slowly, but surely, I am learning that we all have our strengths and talents. To accept our limitations (for lack of a better term) is extremely difficult. Maybe, it’s better to say directions rather than limitations. I may never be a perfect realist artist, but playing with colours and textures, seeing what the end product might be, is to me much of the fun.

So…about that creativity

Where the hell does it come from? It’s not like you can buy it at a store, nor is it a switch that you can turn on. It doesn’t have to be “traditional” art related. I have friends who are equally creative and passionate about cars, photography, culinary things, gardening, wood and stone. I guess it’s more to do with a direction of that inner spirit I believe we all have-and with some people it comes out in a form of “art”. Then, you can get into the whole debate of “what is art”…but that is a topic for another day, and for someone who actually cares I suppose about putting a definitive box around that term. For me, it is as wide as an ocean and just as unfathomable; it is what it is and everyone has their own tastes regarding what inspires them, what attracts their souls and spirits to some things as opposed to others. And so be it. That’s the way it should be.

The one good lesson that I learned from a creative, artistic colleague was that just because I cannot do what someone else does, that does not make the worth of what I CAN do any less. We each have our own gifts and styles and that is what makes things so delightfully different. I could never throw a pot like my fabulously gifted Trial By Fire potter friend Ruth Gauthier does (unless hurled across the room in temper maybe). I could never paint such realistic detailed scenes or portraits like my colleague Sandi. Another colleague does pen and ink drawings,  what some might consider “doodles”. Yet, they are so complex, intricate, interesting and beautiful, they are an art form in and of themselves. Even some of the students at school, their work leaves me humbled and feeling introspective regarding my style and what I do. But, I am learning, that this is ok! It’s part of the process, to learn and identify who you are and your own style as it develops and morphs; to celebrate and respect the styles and works of others.

For me, being creative when I feel like it, is mostly of an organic process (for lack of a better, less cliched term). Sometimes, I will start with some idea in my head. Sometimes, I feel nothing in particular, just a pull to the easel and the paints. And when I sit there, the colours themselves will “speak to me” and let me know what direction I will be going in. I’ve oftentimes set out a palette of colours only to find that I don’t want to use them because today is a “blue/green” kinda day. Sometimes I will start with the brushes and end up playing with the knives. Sometimes when I have that “idea” in my head, the paints have a totally different idea and I end up going in a totally different direction. What I call “mistakes”, Sandi calls process. And so it goes…

And music…music I find helps move the brush, find the chemistry in the colours and the tempo of the brushstrokes. I think music more that anything while I am painting determines the end product, because somehow, I get lost in the music and colours, go into the zone, and then it is done…

So, what’s your creative process…what inspires you?

Hello world!

Welcome to Arwen Inspirations ARW!

I am just starting up here and learning as I go, so please be patient :o)

This is a place where I can explore the process of inspiration and creativity. Having started oil painting, it has been indeed a process, learning the craft, finding inspiration, all the while working in the “real” world and enjoying a fabulous time with two youngsters and my infamous doggies. But where does the inspiration come from? Everywhere. I have been blessed to be surrounded by creativity and creative people everyday. Not all of them produce artistic products, but are just as creative and inspiring nonethless.

I hope you enjoy toodling around through my brain and hopefully I will be able to share not just my art, but also the wonderful things people around me have created as well.