Color the Emotion

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Inspirational Adjectives for Your Art

"Introvert", an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Find inspirational adjectives for your art!

This art journal page is called “Introvert.” I made it while thinking about how much I enjoy spending time alone. My love for sharing and interacting are not the only things that make me; I am also an introvert who needs time to ponder and visualize what’s going on in my inner world. I find it often difficult to express myself in writing, so I like to create an image first and then write down the thoughts. Usually, my thoughts have moved forward and become clearer after processing them visually.

"Introvert", an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

My Inspirational Adjectives

When I begin creating and while I am creating, I often get inspired by single adjectives. The same words continue to fascinate me, at least for a while, before I have found new ones. These words challenge me to both start and finish the artwork.

These are my current adjectives: “imaginative”, “forward-thinking”, “avant-garde”, “visionary”, “historical”, “futuristic”. I am especially fascinated by the words that are somewhat opposites like “historical-futuristic” or which describe a new kind of idea like “forward-thinking – imaginative”. While creating the page, I introduced the word “introvert” and got inspired by the word pair “visionary – introvert”. Brown watercolor felt just the right choice to express those words!

Creating of an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

I continued with the black pen, not worrying about what to draw. Namely, it’s difficult to express “visionary” without first having something to look at!

Free drawing on watercolor by Peony and Parakeet

It was a warm summer day, so I took my colored pencils outside and started coloring carelessly.

Colored pencils and art journaling by Peony and Parakeet

After a while, I added some watercolors with a thinner brush.

Adding watercolor with colored pencils by Peony and Parakeet

How to Choose Your Words?

Some people think that art is a set thing. But pre-named styles and standards don’t define it adequately. On a general level, yes. But when creating art, your uniqueness should be your standard. Thus your adjectives should be set so that you respond to them emotionally. They should make you feel not only excited but also a little bit scared. For example instead of “caring” you might choose “sensitive” or “connected”. Think about your personality and what you value. Don’t take the first words that come to your mind. Seek for specific words that define the adjectives more accurately.

Express Your Adjectives!

Start seeing and enhancing your words, your personality, and your values in what you create. Whatever your piece looks like when you are in the middle of the creative process, think about those adjectives and find ways to express them.

“Introvert” instantly brought black color to my mind. “Visionary” made me look for circles like eyes. As there’s something mystique in the combination of those adjectives, I set a quite dark and little bit dramatic color scheme.

From intuitive to more intentional way of creating art, by Peony and Parakeet

When you focus on things that excite and scare you, your art becomes more meaningful. It can bring new kinds of thoughts and ideas not only for you but also for others. Everybody doesn’t need to know your adjectives. Art can often be interpreted in many ways. But your creativity is most powerful when it’s focused, and few inspirational words can bring that focus!

"Introvert", an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

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18 thoughts on “Inspirational Adjectives for Your Art

  1. I love the bird image and the sun that I can see in this page. Both seem apt symbols for visionary. I like your term historical-futuristic…it seems to apply to many of your drawings.

  2. So beautiful and full of ideas…on average, how long does it take yo to make a drawing like this from start to finish?

  3. I absolutely love reading your posts and seeing your journal pages — they are so inspiring — I can look at them for hours and keep seeing different elements — thank you so much paivi for your teaching me to see things in a different light — have loved inspirational drawing and plan to revisit all of the videos and lessons again —

  4. I’ve never really thought of inspirational adjectives for what I do. That sounds so professional and I do “little” art for me to enjoy, not grand art that would qualify me as a professional artist. You always get me to think and this is a good lesson for me – if I don’t value what I do, then why do it? I do it because I love it – therefore it has value and personal inspiration words are extremely useful as background for my marks. That gives the marks more depth and value in each piece. Thank you again for your forward-thinking and then sharing such important thoughts!

  5. This thought process is like a precious gift today, taking me further and with new meaning onto the page. Thank you from a very grateful heart.

  6. I am always AMAZED with your art! Do you imagine certain images when you start to doodle (draw) ?
    I love your art and hopefully in the near future can take one of your classes.

  7. Paivi, I love, love this piece. I get so many wonderful feelings while looking at it. The bird soaring gently over all. The medallion sun, the mysterious face on the right side and for some reason the lower right corner made me feel I was at an outdoor cafe in Paris having coffee and a croissant! Energetic, inspiring, abundant!

  8. Another fabulous piece. I am glad you are offering your Inspirations course again in the fall. I hope that I will be able to join in at that time.

  9. This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL Paivi!!! I could look at this piece for hours! I love how you get so much detail, diversity, and color, and it all works together. I love the INTRICACY of your work!

  10. Dear Paivi,
    Just finished your wonderful, insightful on line class. This was the FROSTING on the cake. By concentrating on a word combined with a feeling my hand was free to EXPLORE on it’s own. It didn’t need to copy anything. Going out tomorrow to buy more sketch books and paper ! You are such an inspiration to all of us.

  11. You make it look so easy… for me it not adjectives but symbols that I see while painting. I never thought of writing them down or writing my thoughts on the opposite page. You have given me inspiration today, thank you!

  12. Wow! This piece is so filled with images and emotion. I could definitely get lost in it. I loved the concept of thinking of a descriptive word while creating. I also appreciated how you stressed finding a deeper word than your first thought. The one page of journaling next to a page of gorgeous art is speaking to me. Thank you for another piece of inspiration.

  13. Great article, love how you can come up with art from anything, adjectives!, never thought about them as art inspiration, once one start to see around with different eyes, everything can come to live!
    I’m working on my first art page inspired by your work, it’s still shy, it’s still asking for more… it’s still asking to be itself.

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