I’m amazed at how easy it can be to change one’s perception and be inspired. For example I took these yellow lemons and set them next to a grey and cream cookie jar. Suddenly I have a color scheme I hadn’t thought of before.
The randomness of all the creative stimuli in the world can feel a bit chaotic. Making links between stimuli can be a puzzle. The challenge is devising methods to sift through the chaos to find the nuggets of inspiration that are relevant to our lives and our personal forms of creativity.
One way I find focus – or links – is to think about what I enjoy. For example hot beverages and books are reliable enjoyments for me so I often use that as a focal point when exploring color schemes, patterns or shapes.
Here’s an original drawing playing with colors using the books and beverages topic:
Then, later, after I’ve chosen a focal point and created a drawing I’m pleased with, I find ways to take my original drawings and make something that might add to the random pleasures in the world.
My entire creative process is a way of talking, listening and actively participating in the world.
Here’s what I did with the above original ink and gouache drawing of hot beverages and books: I made a fabric pattern of it for my Spoonflower shop.
Yes, much of my artistic inspiration comes from my personal life. Below is one of my favorite hot beverages. I wrote the recipe in my sketchbook. A sketchbook is where I do a lot of my sifting through my thoughts and making links.
And here’s some random books I’ve been reading this week:
The Norton Reader 6th edition is a book of essays, a wide ranging freewheeling collection of essays. I like it for it’s oddness this way – most essay collections are more narrowly focused. This book was given to me back in the late 1980’s by one of my literature professors. I had gone to the professor’s office during the appointed office hours but just after I arrived the professor got a phone call. Those were the days of phones connected by cords, lines and an absence of answering machines. While my professor took the call I sat next to a table with books on it and picked up The Norton Reader. By the time my professor finished the call I had read several of the essays. The professor asked if I liked the book, I replied that I did, and she gave me the book to keep. I have read the book multiple times since those college days and this book currently lives in a place of honor on my dining room shelf with my poetry and short story book collections. It has influenced my creative thinking in ways too numerous to list here.
The other 3 titles in the stack of books in the photo below are all books that I similarly encountered randomly:
Darkness Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane was a recent gift, sent by mail, from a friend. I love a good mystery novel and this one is gripping. I’ve almost finished my first reading of it and …wow. Just. Wow. I had never heard of this author till my friend mentioned and sent the book! I’m grateful to my friend…
Given Sugar Given Salt is a book of poems by Jane Hirshfield. I love the way Hirshfield examines little things, small objects like buttons or our habits or ways we sleep. This book (along with Mary Oliver’s work) has been an influence on my own love of little things.
The Blank Canvas by Anna Held Audette is a big “you can do this” support system even though the book is small in size. I dip into it often when I need a little pick-me-up.
All of the books in the above photo were gifted to me. I relish the randomness the book-as-gift adds to my creative life!
I thought a lot this week about those yellow lemons and that grey color together. And about hot beverages. The weather here has been cold, rainy, which makes hot beverages even more pleasant. Here’s what I drew exploring the yellows and greys:
This week I’ll probably do the digital hocus pocus to turn my grey and yellow cups drawing into a pattern repeated on fabric. (This process will be much like what I described last post.)
My other technique for creative focus – for finding links – is to ask myself what would feed my good wolves today?
Then I think of art topics and creative projects that encourage my own thinking towards kindness and the other good-wolf attributes. And provide amusement and comfort.
For example here’s an ink and gouache painting I’ve titled “The Fall Collection”
And here’s another ink and gouache painting I’ve titled “Anyone Bring Cups?”
In both of these paintings – in addition to yellow, grey, leaves, lemons and cups (sortof) to link my thoughts together – I used a bit of text as collage along with my ink and gouache. The text is from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I had a much used copy of that title that has pages falling out so my spouse gifted me with a newer intact copy. So I’m lovingly recycling the old falling apart book into my fine art and my perception of Austen’s writing is shifting in nice ways as I do this.
I’m sure you noticed in the paintings that in addition to my use of yellows, greys, leaves, lemons I also used my current “everyman” characters in the form of rabbits.
As I describe in my last post I use techniques for writing as my guide towards creative thinking. In these paintings and in my fabric pattern designs I am following both pieces of advice given to writers: “write what you know” plus “write about what you want to know“. I am also imitating mystery genre writers who use the same characters and themes with subtle variations over multiple books.
Randomness and changing ones perceptions are such fun creative tools to play with! I hope you’ll enjoy some pleasant randomness this week too.
See you next Monday!
26 thoughts on “Linked by leaves lemons and literature”
I’m often amazed by the myriad of things that get my creative mind ticking on a project, or things that catch my eye and add a level of ‘ahhh’ to my day. Your work, “The Fall Collection” made me smile. And just when I thought I couldn’t love it more, you called attention to the text being from “Pride and Prejudice,” one of my all time favorite books. What fun!
Thanks for sharing your whimsical and wonderful works, as well as glimpses into your fascinating processes.
Thank you for your comment!! I am glad to hear that you, too, enjoy being amazed by a myriad of things! It is nice to share this amazing phenomenon. I am so glad my work made you smile and that you too love Austen’s work! How fun is this?! ❤
You’re so talented, Sue. I love the whimsy of your illustrations. So fun.
Oh thank you D. Wallace! Such a kind thing to say! I will keep it up…
Such beautiful work! Love the patterns you create!
I am reading The Tattoist of Auschwitz. I must get out some sketchbooks and my watercolours. I feel I should be painting but so limited in how far I can go even in crutches. Stairs are scary!
Thank you so very much for your kind comments!! I’ll keep the patterns coming…😊
And I totally hear you re physical limits but still wishing to paint. Back in 2018 I had an illness that limited my physical scope but didn’t diminish my desire to paint one iota. I solved my dilemma by getting a small sketchbook, watercolor/gouache palette and the water brushes that contain the water inside the brush thus eliminating needs to have a pan of water and get up often to empty the pan or wash brushes between colors. My whole painting kit was/is smaller than a paperback novel and easily fits in my sweater pockets. Jetpens.com is one of my sources for good quality small-scale art supplies. I wish you the best.
I am always impressed by how prolific you are as an artist. I am a big fan of yellow and grey together so I like that recurring theme in your art in this post. I look forward to seeing the teacup images transformed into a fabric print.
You’re so kind and I appreciate you! I am really enjoying yellow and grey colors together too and it amuses me that I’d not noticed this color combo before! Lol! Still learning something every day!! As far as my being prolific goes… I must confess that I often paint instead of doing other necessary tasks. 😁
I approve of your priorities.
Lol!!!! I’m so glad!!!! 🤣
I just love “The Fall Collection”! The curator looks so professorial in his jacket and tie and big bunny feet. I am very taken with the whole scene.
Lol!!! It delights me that you said these kind words!!! Thank you!! ❤
You’re welcome, Sue! I’ve been waiting years for the second childhood we’re promised for our dotage, and your art has fulfilled that promise for me.
Lol!! Funny you should mention this… because that’s what I’m doing, indulging by making things I would have loved when I was a kid! The therapists do say that we can be the kind of adult person we most needed when we were children. I figure that includes making the stories and art etc we’d have loved!! Oh it makes me happy, Liz, to hear that you’re enjoying too!! ❤❤
I’m thrilled to be enjoying new picture books and artwork and having that childhood feeling back. 😀
Oh I am very glad to hear you say this!!!! You made me smile!! I’ll do my best to keep my picture books, art – and more – in production for you!! ❤❤
Thank you!! (I would love to see the professorial rabbit make an encore appearance . . . )
Lol!!! That might happen !!! 🤗 Please stay tuned….
Staying tune, same time, same channel . . . 😀
Lol!!!! Oh good!!! I’ll keep up production….🤗❤📚☕