Just Show Up

I love the above quote by Brene Brown. This is how I feel about the painting process. When I go for one or more days without spending time in my studio, I feel as though my “flow” has been interrupted. In painting, and in life, I believe that showing up is half the battle. I try to paint daily, but if for some reason I can’t paint, I try to organize and clean my studio instead. Just spending time in my studio is so important.

Having the courage to show up is the biggest, but most important hurdle. Sometimes I might not be in the mood to paint, but if I show up and spend some time in my studio, many times looking at other paintings I’ve finished will inspire me to paint. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taking a painting I’m not totally happy with, and painting over it.

Some of my best ideas come out of simply spending time in the studio. Being in there with no pressure to “produce” allows me to relax and let my mind wander. I have a nice and comfortable couch that I got from a friend, and I love sitting there while looking through reference photos and reading art magazines or books. This is really just as important as the painting process itself. Allowing my brain to soak everything in helps me gear up for my next painting session.

Sometimes I don’t feel inspired to paint at all. When this happens, I don’t wait for inspiration, but rather just go in my studio and start painting. To me, the act of painting is just as important as the end result of a painting. Many times, this is when I pour my emotions onto the canvas. Sometimes when this happens, something beautiful surfaces, and other times, the outcome isn’t so pretty.

Late Night Biscuit & Coffee
12×12 oil on canvas

Another thing I’ve discovered is that if I’m not feeling inspired to paint, that’s a perfect time to paint a still life — where my subject is already decided, and I can focus on improving my technical painting skills rather than relying on my imagination to paint an abstract.

What about you? What are some ways you tackle being uninspired? Do you spend time in your studio sitting, reading, or doing things other than painting?

Why I’m Falling in Love with Still Life

I know I seem to be all over the map with my art, and while I am starting to develop a style in my abstracts, still life painting keeps tugging at me. What draws me to still life is that setting up your scene is an art in itself. The possibilities are endless and I think I am most drawn to still lifes that are a bit quirky, meaning the objects in the still life don’t really relate at all. An example of this is this still life painting by Leonid Afremov — a high heel shoe with fruit. Another example is the piece I created in still life class recently, below.  That is what I love about still life — the ability to create unique set ups — essentially creating an imaginary world. I can’t take credit for the setup in the painting below though. My art instructor set that up.

StillLifeFiveObjects

My Dad is currently building a still life setup for me, one that adjusts up and down with a shadow box. I can’t wait until it is finished so I can continue on with my still life painting. Not sure what I will paint first with my setup, but I’m thinking I might use some objects I got from a second hand store. Second hand stores are great for finding interesting objects.

Here is an interesting article and two YouTube videos about still lifes that are awesome.

Setting Up a Successful Still Life

Composition Setting up and Lighting a Still Life for Oil Painting by Stefan Baumann

Composition – Eye Movement and setting up a still life for painting -Alla Prima -Stefan Baumann

~ Lori