Wednesday 23rd March 2016Springspiration
After an interminably temperamental Winter, Spring has finally sprung! This past weekend marked the passing of the vernal equinox, and the days are finally longer than the nights in the Northern hemisphere. All across the north, artists are emerging from their studios, blinking in the dazzling bright sunlight and wondering if they really shouldn't just go back inside and get a few more hours of sleep because last night's gallery opening went very late.
Really, what we all should be doing is taking stock of all our outstanding and unfinished work, and trying to finish up any pieces that we've been putting off for a while now. Not only is it good practice to keep your current creative work fresh, it always seems like having too many unfinished projects in the background interferes with new creative energies.
It's also a great time to start preparing for a (relatively) new concept that has been catching on in the art and design worlds over the last five years: the May 1st reboot. This is a movement that has been growing amongst creatives around the world as a rallying day for that most neglected of all artistic chores: the updating of the portfolio and/or website.
Now, before you groan out loud at your computer screen in trepidation, it's actually quite a good idea. Blah blah blah best practices and all that, but it's actually good for you to have an annual day that you stop and take stock of where your portfolio is at, and what should be included in it that hasn't yet been. But most importantly, the idea of a global May 1st reboot is to provide us with that all-important motivational tool: a deadline. Nothing quite lights a creative fire like the requirement of meeting a deadline, even if there is a delicious luxury in missing it and getting things done a day or even a week late.
(Remember the immortal words of the famous yet sadly departed Douglas Adams: "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.")
This whole idea ties in perfectly with the annual encouragement we provide every spring to clear your head of all the creative cobwebs that have built up over the past year, but this early warning system gives you a chance to start working on anything that you've been neglecting. So don't think about the portfolio itself - think about the work, and the joy of it will (hopefully) come rushing back to you!
Posted on March 23rd 2016 on 06:47pm
Wednesday 18th March 2015Spring Cleaning Inspiration
At long, long last, it's that time again! This winter has been an incredibly punishing one for most of North America, despite warmer than average temperatures in much of the rest of the world, but no matter how your winter went, it's always a relief to see the Sun finally starting to break through the Winter blahs and being a sense of renewal and rebirth to the world. Apologies if you love in the Southern hemisphere, which is of course just sliding into Autumn, but since most of you live in the Northern hemisphere, enjoy!
As we said, Spring is most commonly associated with growth and rebirth, as it has been for thousands of years, and as artists, we are more sensitive than most to the value of themes and symbols. They drive much of our work, even as they shape much of our thoughts, so it only seems natural that the world around us should provide some of those themes as well. Typically, this brings to mind Spring cleaning, when the home is given a once or twice over to get rid of unused items and make way for a new year of life. But when it comes to your artistic practice, many of us are loathe to dig through our work and clean up.
Those of you lucky enough to have a studio space to work in would do well to take the opportunity to clean things out - come on, you know there are some old supplies somewhere in there that you'll never be able to use again! There's something about the creative mind that often tends towards clutter (and several studies linking clutter with creativity, which seems to make perfect sense), but it can still be refreshing to clean out the old clutter, even if it's just to make room for this year's new clutter. Even if all you do is rearrange things and put some things away, changing your space in the smallest ways can still make a huge different in the way you interact with it.
Refreshing rebirth doesn't simply have to apply to your workspace, however. Spring can also be a great time to explore new artistic avenues and new styles, to finish up old projects so that there is room and time to start new ones. Let yourself embrace Spring, and all that it entails, and hopefully your artistic career will be reborn after a long Winter. Happy Spring, and happy creating, everyone!
Posted on March 18th 2015 on 02:04pm
Wednesday 28th January 2015Project Inspirations: Working With Seasons
If you've been a regular reader of the inspiration posts we've made over the (has it really been years?) since this blog first started, you might have noticed a trend: we love the seasons of the year. The way the entire world changes itself somehow just seems like the most exquisite poetry in motion, even if it can be pretty darned cold and dreary by the end of Winter. Change is always good for inspiration and creativity, and having a world that changes around us so regularly can be a great tool for change in our own lives, if we let it.
But more than a source of happiness and inspiration, it's possible to use the seasons themselves as an integral part of your work. Depending on what media you work with, this might find its expression in any number of different ways, and the possibilities are only limited by your own personal sense of creative style and flair.
Our most recent suggestion was a project for the coldest days of Winter, taking advantage of how rapidly soap bubbles can freeze in extremely cold weather, and what you could accomplish with some macro photography, but that's just one of the ways that the coldness of winter can be used as a tool to inspire new projects. Anything that works with water can be changed by extreme cold, which of course suggests watercolour painting. Have you ever tried doing masking with ice? Though we have little experience with watercolours, you could probably have a fun afternoon messing around on the porch with an easel, experimenting with different ways this might work - sometimes, the most exciting discoveries are made by accident.
Following on the watercolour tangent, as Spring begins to grow restless waiting in the wings behind Winter's trailing edges, it might be interesting to experiment with abstract watercolours that are partially designed by rainfall. It would create an extremely unique look, and could probably be modified by a careful application of masking or other techniques that might adjust how water impacts the pigment on the canvas. Maybe even letting the eavestrough (or similar makeshift version of it) do the colour mixing for you - if different pgiments have different weights, they may begin to create some astonishing patterns.
These ideas might work for you, they might not, but the main goal is to get you to start thinking about completely unexpected ways to incorporate the year's cycles into your creative process and your creative work itself. Happy experimenting!
Posted on January 28th 2015 on 03:54pm