Saturday, September 21, 2013

Save It For A Desert Day

Any artist knows that sometimes the well is dry when you really want to paint and create - a Desert Day. I found something that helps give me a little push and I'll share it with you.

I have subscriptions to a couple of art magazines with hands-on information in them. As I browse through them, there is always something that triggers the "Hey - I'd like to try that!" response. It's a rare thing that the response coincides with "I have nothing to do and want to create" reality, so I save the magazine. Then I end up with a pile of magazines and can't remember which one held what article and it becomes a frustrating exercise! So, now I keep small Post-it tabs available, or use a scrap of paper to mark my place. I've even improved that with tearing out the article, inserting them in page savers and putting them in the project box. (This only works if there is nothing on the other side of the page that you are interested in, of course!) Or you could copy the pages and put them in page savers.

Now get a shallow box a couple of inches deep (this can be plastic, cardboard, whatever you have on hand, how about the box tops groceries have that they give away for free?) and gather up whatever you already have listed in the article. (The only thing I don't include is paint, because I am not sure when I will get to the project.) If you are missing something, write it where you keep your list of supplies to replenish. Make sure you do get them and add them to the box! These boxes can be stacked on top of one another with a label on a scratch piece of paper on the outside.

Then when you have one of those Desert Days, pull out one of your boxes and work away! I find that many times this starts the creative juices and triggers other ideas for a painting. And don't feel chained to the supply list if you can substitute one thing for another. Recently I pulled out a box where four 6 x 6 canvases had been listed. I didn't have any of those handy when I put together the box, but did have 6 x 6 cradled wood which works just as well for the particular art being illustrated. Just make sure what you want to substitute is not a critical piece of the process (such as beeswax for encaustic work). Otherwise, treat the list like a recipe and make random changes if you want to go on another direction. Or try it their way the first time, and then start changing things around once you have the feel of it. Most of all, have fun!

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