Want new ideas of what to paint next?

Addressing artists’ creativity blocks:

Finding new ideas of what to paint  next, isn’t easy. But it can be easy, if you know how to go about it.

Finding new concepts

A5 watercolour: Orange autumn trees in contrast with green and blue of the scene.

What people expect:

People want their paintings to be uniquely special, only one of its kind. They want to know they hold the original masterpiece. Why, because it has greater investment value. And of cause, its brag value, as well.

Artist’s dilemma:

Knowing it’s not wise to re-hash the same scene or subject matter over and over again, it becomes hard to think up new ideas of what to paint next. Especially if galleries are demanding more and more of your paintings.

Artist’s creative block:

  1. Thinking up new subject matter on a regular basis becomes stressful. It’s not long before the artist has a mental breakdown under the strain . Their minds go blank somewhat like `writer’s block’.
  2. Their powers of creativity seems to come to a standstill. And if they do try to paint, their work somehow has lost its spark. It’s scary, knowing they can’t produce what the galley is expecting of them.
  3. It’s like a chain re-action. The stress builds up until they can’t seem to be able to produce anything! This is very worrying for an artist. Especially a renowned artist! People expect so much of them.
  4. Obviously they need a break, a holiday, etc. But when they do get back to work, they still have to keep up with production all over again.

Here are a few tips how to get over their creative block:

Keeping up production:

If you don’t want ‘artist’s creative block’, you have to be always on the lookout for new possible compositions. And to do that, you need to be more observant and keep your camera and note pad handy, for the unexpected panorama ambiance in Nature.

Most people will tell you to paint, what they think is dynamic. Example: panoramic mountainous scenes, dramatic seascapes with clear waves, etc. But it isn’t often you come across the just-right  scenes, with the composition perfectly placed,  in real life! It’s actually the job of the artist to make it exciting and dynamic!

The artist has to have the ability to recognize a good scene. Knowing what he or she can do with it to make it so special.

Let me open your eyes, to be able to recognize those possible scenes:

One: Seeing things in better light:

Play the new game, of looking at life all around you, as if it was for the first time.

  • Even though everything may look mundane, look again more carefully. You’ll be surprised what you see.
  • Do you see the strong contrasts of tones, sparkling highlights and contrasting rim-lights?
  • Do you see the energy in what you are looking at?

Two: Contrasts of colour, make exciting paintings:

The secret is to see contrasts of colours where there isn’t in mundane everyday things. For example:

  • How you can make the mountains in the background bluer. And make the beautiful autumn russet trees brighter against that blue!
  • Or putting magenta or violet in the evergreen  foliage of the dull olive-green trees.

Three: How to add energy to space:

  • By blending subtle tones and intermingling analogous colours in the open restful spaces between objects.
  • By creating smoke or fading mist to contrast with bold shapes of the foreground?
  • Atmospheric dimension of space creates perspective depth.
  • Notice how back-lighting creates rim-lights, haloes and atmospheric auras. Example: around  people shoulders and around the seeds of grass as the sun is setting.
  • Or the beauty of the tiny little specks of dust floating in the rays of light.

Now isn’t the world beautiful? Good enough to paint?

Yes, there is a lot to paint out there.

All it takes is having new eyes. Opening your eyes and seeing beauty in everything. And using your imagination, to make your painting profound.

Now you can see, you don’t have to search for what people consider the right type of picture to paint. It’s up to you to make it dynamic.

Now to paint on a regular schedule:

Remember all those photographs you took on holiday and outings with family? Keep them on a memory sticks. Sort them according to their subject matter.  And when you want something to paint, peruse through them.

But remember photos can be flat and boring.

So you need to liven them up and remove all the unnecessary detail. You don’t want your painting to look like a photocopy!

  1. Look for the boldest shapes and strongest tonal contrasts. Make that your main point of interest.
  2. Where can you liven up the colours with contrasts?
  3. What state are the in between spaces? Can you add energy to those spaces with mingled subtle blends of colour?
  4. Where are the highlights? Can you dramatize them by surrounding them with neutral contrasting shades?

See, even your photos need a new fresh look!

Looking for the possibilities of each photo in turn, until your creative juices are turned on and you are ready to paint!

PS: Hope you’ll take up the challenge and try this for yourself, you’ll be surprised how beautiful your world around you becomes.

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