Build Imagination with Watercolors!
The pieces of this post are made with watercolors mostly. In my experience, watercolors are the supplies to go if you just stare at the blank paper and have no ideas in mind. They are soft and not so exact than pens or acrylics. It’s also easy to see something interesting appearing and start building new details from that. Maintain an open mind and not try to figure the end result beforehand. Instead, start with a general idea in mind.
1) Start with Mixed Emotions
Because creating art should be enjoyable, we often want to express positive feelings. But to get more connected to your piece, analyze your emotion more in detail. It’s often mixed: joy can hold tears of affection, happiness can contain worry, love can include dependency of some kind. This doesn’t mean you have to dwell on negative emotions but pondering about the more complicated nature of emotions can also free up your imagination. When controversial issues are allowed, it’s a sign to your mind that anything is allowed. This, in turn, will build imagination!
Sheila McGruer’s art journal spread tells a visual story about a woman who has an origin. This would not be so expressive without the teardrops!
2) Get Surreal
People say: “I do only abstracts”, “I focus drawing faces”, “I like landscapes”. Break the rules and combine various approaches. Could abstract contain faces? Could faces include landscapes? Could geometry meet human parts? Could 3-dimensional meet 2-dimensional?
Terry Whyte‘s piece is fascinating. It’s simple if you count the elements but mind-blowing if you examine their relations. A wonderful example of how the surreal can look like!
3) Play with Proportions, Colors, and Abilities
Can houses be smaller than faces? Can trees be red and purple, then change their color and leave off the ground? Anything can be possible in your art journal!
Annemarie de Brujin plays brilliantly with proportions, colors, and dynamics. The painting feels like an experience, more than just an ordinary scene.
4) Envision Your Location
Mind-travel to a place where you would like to go! It can be a real location, an imaginary one or the mix of many! Nothing has to be exact. Get inspiration from the colors and the atmosphere. Make your art journal a mind-traveler’s notebook!
5) Treat Inanimate Object as Humans
One of the easiest ways to get the imagination going is to treat anything inanimate as a living object. Can a house have an identity of its own? Can a group of items look like a choir of brilliant singers? How do the trees look like when they are smiling?
Claudia Kern has created more than a landscape. The painting is like a big and inviting party!
6) Merge Everything into One Flow
Instead of adding single elements, build connections and flow to your piece. Connecting lines also connect the viewer to the painting and it all seems to make sense. This way, small elements can be used to build big pictures.
Debbie Kreischer shows it so well: we are all part of the same flow!
7) Express a Conversation
If you always do faces, why not creating more than one and express a connection between them. Then take it even further: what are they talking about, where are they walking, why are they together? Show it all visually!
Patty Furey’s dreamy woman and dynamic man is the perfect couple to dive deeper into the story. They seem to live in a city. Maybe the man has brought the flowers for her. She seems to be the country girl in her heart, though! These kind of pages that evoke stories are the best ones. If you like creative writing as well, use your image as a starting point for a poem or for a short story!
8) Get Ideas from Treasured Items
Open your treasure box or shopping wish list and analyze how the single items are constructed. Does your favorite blouse have ruffles? Do you grave for jewelry that holds the beads elegantly? How are the details of your dream handbag? Thinking like a designer can give ideas to an amazing art!
Vikki Hoppes’ painting is a great example of how to build imagination by constructing elements creatively.
When planning Painter’s Ecstasy, I spent weeks examining the paintings of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He had students but to my knowledge, they didn’t get much guidance, only a green classroom:
– “I tell them nothing. I just put the plants there and leave them alone together.”
My first sketches were made with few bold strokes but they didn’t catch the essence. Sketch by sketch, I slowed down and toned down. Hundertwasser called his way of working “vegetative painting” as it develops slowly. It doesn’t start with drum rolls but with little bell sounds. The techniques that I discovered with trial and error
make starting easy but stopping almost impossible when you reach the spheres of painter’s ecstasy!
You can also buy all the 6 monthly classes as a bundle. I will also release the classes individually one by one later this summer, and show more ideas on how to apply them.
Build imagination, right now!