Creating. 'Art is not created in a vacuum.' For me, without some sort of prompt or challenge, I could continue on daily without an inkling of a reason to make anything. If a prompt exists in can be in the form of an external set of criteria from a class or a commission...or it can simply be on my to-do list.

With the exception of photography, I rarely create something special unless I find myself challenged to apply my creativity, talents and vision. Frequently whenever I find myself required to create something, I will search for inspiration. Creating a huge folder of images on my computer is usually very helpful in establishing a visual reference for my ideas.

As a blogger, I find myself taking a photo of something that I have made and writing a short little snipit about how I made it...and then I just walk away from it....But as an artist, I think it is important to analyze a little deeper and a little further in order to truly understand why I do what I do and in order to grow beyond just doing something because it is fun. I mean, it is almost always fun...but is that the only justification in doing something? I don't think so...I think I make things because the process itself is important to me.

The True and the Questions by Sabrina Ward Harrison is a gorgeous book full of journaling prompts. It is almost too beautiful to write in. My good friend Angela brought this book over last week while we were working on some prompts for an art journaling class. As I flipped through the pages, I was immediately struck with how free the writing and the art felt....

 Without breaking any copyright laws, I am sure that there is very little from the inside of the book that I can truly show you, but I took a few pictures for myself, as a inspiration...and I intend to order a copy of her book (and maybe a couple of others) as motivation to create beautiful things in my art journals.
(Page (c) Sabrina Ward Harrison)

I love how her writing and drawing and experimenting are all mixed together on every page. Perhaps my own style is too clean, too rigid for such a combination, but nevertheless it so very beautiful. You should truly see the book for yourself in order to truly appreciate it.  Prompts like 'trust the mess' and 'the sweet it is' and 'my heart carries' and 'you whispered' and 'I want to fill a home with' in the prompts.

A few days after flipping through my friend's copy of the book, I decided to challenge myself to be more free. I was in art class with a group of 2nd graders. We had just finished a project so I gave them a chance to work in their sketchbooks, decorating the cover, coloring previous drawings, creating new drawings and I noticed a boy who was coloring all over the front of his book with all different colors.

At first, I thought--what a waste--why doesn't he draw something and then color it?? but then I realized...he was trying out all the crayola colors like razzledazzle, inch worm, and macaroni and cheese!! Brilliant. He was putting them all over his page in a random was actually quite, not rigid...reminded me of Sabrina Ward Harrison's book...

So I decided to give it a try... about it still isn't as free and playful as my student's creation....perhaps I am too rigid...unable to allow myself the freedom to scribble and play, even in an art journal....but I am going to keep challenging myself to be more free.

How about you? What is your own style like? Are you able to try out other styles with much success? What inspires you?


angela said...

im so happy nellie that you have gained even more inspirtation from swh...she truely is magical. thanks for the post. so good.

Kamika said...

I just recently found your blog....I am doing the "Tell your Story" online art journal course and it is so funny, I totally found myself stiff and rigid in my first attempts. Trying to hard to be perfect? But as I "art journal" more I have more fun, express myself more fun and it totally carries over into my life! Thanks for sharing the link t the book. Totally going to check it out. PS: I collect images for inspiration too...I also study works of famours artists I love: Van Gogh, Mucha, Klimt