Category: Inspiration

Lucy

Last week, a new source of inspiration entered my life. My fantastic daughter was born.

Although I cannot afford any time to my art at the moment, there is no doubt Lucy will have an impact on my art once I do.

lucy 5 days old

Timeless

I adore this Cecil Beaton photo of Paula Gellibrand. I like the composition and style. It is from 1928 but could be from any time in the future – that’s what I like the most about it.

I have been inspired by Cecil Beaton’s photos in the past.

My thanks go to Kitt Noir for bringing this to my attention via a retweet of @hillaryssteps.

Cecil Beaton - Paula Gellibrand, 1928

Going dormant

I started to learn to draw and paint 5 years ago. It has been a wonderful means to become acquainted with art from the inside, and it has allowed me to nurture my visual creative side.

On the day that I enter my 5th decade of life, I have decided to end my brief first stint at being an artist.

A number of factors have contributed to my decision to bring this period to an end. Primarily I haven’t been strong enough to juggle my art with the plethora of other activities that my life requires me to do.

I hope that one day, when life is more accommodating, I’ll be able to resurrect my artistic activities. This is why I’m going dormant rather then ending entirely. The plan I developed last year will still be actionable at any time of my life.

Although not practising, I shall continue to take an interest in the art of others, and I shall keep this blog open to occasionally comment on such.

Thank you all for your support, even by simply following my blog or liking one of my posts. Thank you.

Utopia

I loved Utopia shown on Channel 4 last year, and so was very pleased to see a second series starting yesterday.

The story is great, and I love the imagery and sound of it.

I am posting some images from the first episode of the new series, because I find the whole thing quite inspiring in terms of visuals. These pictures do not do it justice at all, but I want to post them anyway.

utopia s02e01 title

utopia s02e01 pic 01

utopia s02e01 pic 02

utopia s02e01 pic 03

utopia s02e01 pic 04

Flattered!

Today I gained my 100th follower! I am really flattered to have so many people interested in my drawing and painting. Every like or comment left is a wonderful boost, and hugely appreciated. The discussions I’ve had with you have been immensely helpful in moving my art forward. I also appreciate those silent followers among you too – you help motivate me!

I would like to send each of you a kiss!

THANKS!

How I drew 100 kisses without counting them
When I created this image, I used the tools available to me to plot 100 x’s and have them automatically counted as I moved them around. For this, I used a PC with Microsoft Excel. You can do this too:

  1. Open a new Excel spreadsheet
  2. Reduce the width of all the columns to just fit the number 100 (you can alter the widths any time, just make them narrow)
  3. In the cell immediately above the bottom-left cell shown on the screen, enter a formula to sum all the values above it: enter “=sum(“, select all the cells above it, press Enter. It should be showing 0
  4. Copy and paste that cell to all of the other cells in that row on the screen so that the formula runs across the bottom of the page. They should all be showing 0
  5. In the bottom-left cell, enter a formula to sum all of the cells in the row that was just filled: enter “=sum(“, select that row, press Enter. It should be showing 0. This is the TOTAL COUNT CELL
  6. Now, enter 1’s in any of the empty cells to indicate where the x’s will go in your design. The TOTAL COUNT CELL will automatically display how many cells have been filled. You can even cut, copy and paste parts of the design to move them around.
  7. Finally, draw the 1’s onto paper as x’s or whatever other symbols takes your fancy!

The Great Unfinished

A week ago, I asked myself what was stopping me from reaching my full potential when it comes to exploring my artistic creativity. This resulted in some changes of perspective, and in some actions I could perform to correct my direction in life.

One of the challenges I put to myself was to consider why making art is essential to me. I realised that it would be most effective to give myself a visual reminder of all those things that I’d love to spend time exploring further. This is the action I wrote for this:

ACTION: Keep a portfolio of items that I would like to explore further. I shall call this The Unfinished, and it will be hosted as a page on my blog. It will include a mixture of partially completed items, and finished works that I’d like to expand on. It might also include some source items that I’d like to paint. The Unfinished will be forever changing, according to how my interests develop. By looking at it regularly, I expect it will remind me of how much I want to do, and of how much I’ve enjoyed of the journey so far.

A week later – on my birthday – I can now unveil that portfolio. I have given it a grander name, a name filled greater aspiration: The Great Unfinished!

You can find it on the blog menu, or directly here.

What’s stopping me?

This post is important for my development. Another turning point. Although the items are specific to me, I hope it might contain some interesting, or possibly even helpful ideas.

It was inspired by a post about limiting beliefs by Milly on her lovely ELW Essence blog. It got me thinking about parts of my life where I wasn’t 100% satisfied, and how I could apply what she said to them. This post is what I came up with.

Since starting to draw and paint in 2010, I have been increasingly consumed by the act of making art. Each drawing I do, each painting I attempt, increases my desire to produce art. However, it has become apparent to me that at my current trajectory I won’t be able to achieve the level that I’d like to in my lifetime. To achieve what I’d like, I should be prolific in my output, drawing and painting like a madman! I would only be fully satisfied with my attempts to explore my artist creativity if I’m able to maintain such a fervour throughout my life. Only then would I know for sure that at the end of my days I won’t look back on my life and wished I had tried harder. I’m not yet showing that determination and passion, so what’s stopping me?

To help me consider this question, I followed Milly’s suggestions about how to think about limiting beliefs.

The question

Why am I not reaching my full potential when it comes to exploring my artistic creativity?

Limiting beliefs

The first step was to consider what excuses I have when I considered the above question. These are beliefs I hold, that might be limiting how I consider the situation. I identified these:

  1. There is not enough time
  2. Art is seen as a luxury to do after “higher priority” tasks
  3. Making art – as a hobby – lacks the respect of working towards a professional career
  4. Making art is just something that I like to do

Challenges

For each of the above beliefs, I then posed an opposite question – a challenge to the belief:

  1. How can I have all the time I want?
  2. How is art the most high priority of tasks that I’m responsible for?
  3. How is doing art worthy of professional respect?
  4. Why is making art a necessity to me? An essential?

Reactions and resolutions

The result of the above 2 steps provided an excellent breakdown to help me consider why I’m not reaching my full potential. Answering the challenge questions gave me fresh perspectives on the situation, and suggested ways to move forward to help me achieve what I desire. This is the result:

1. How can I have all the time I want?

This is a matter of making a concerted effort to follow efficiency advice to maximise the time I have each day – whether it be for art or for other tasks.

ACTION: Follow advice on improving efficiency, and act on it with vigour!

2. How is art the most high priority of tasks that I’m responsible for?

Completing tax forms, researching tiles to use in our new kitchen, sorting boxes in our loft – these glamorous tasks will always be viewed as having a higher priority than something that is just “fun”. But, what if these tasks no longer existed? What if they had all been done? With no other tasks to do, making art would be the de facto highest priority task!

Unfortunately, in my adult experience there have always been tasks to do, so it is hard to imagine a time where I get up on Saturday morning and there is nothing else that I’m meant to be doing. However… theoretically it is possible to get close to this. If I make a determined effort to clear absolutely everything from my task list – and to keep that list empty – then there’d only be art left! In theory.

ACTION: Clear all of my tasks – get to a zero-task state and stay there!

3. How is doing art worthy of professional respect?

Although I wouldn’t be aiming to replace my professional career in IT with one in art, if I were to have some professional achievements in this field outside my actual art work, the work I do might be seen in a different light, with greater respect.

ACTION: Research what professional achievements in art I could aim for, and set goals to achieve them.

4. Why is making art a necessity to me? An essential?

I feel guilty about spending time making art, especially when there are other things I have to do, but I really want to do it. To help eliminate that feeling of guilt, I must show to myself how necessary art now is in my life, and constantly remind myself of this.

ACTION: Keep a portfolio of items that I would like to explore further. I shall call this The Unfinished, and it will be hosted as a page on my blog. It will include a mixture of partially completed items, and finished works that I’d like to expand on. It might also include some source items that I’d like to paint. The Unfinished will be forever changing, according to how my interests develop. By looking at it regularly, I expect it will remind me of how much I want to do, and of how much I’ve enjoyed of the journey so far.

Conclusion

I am extremely pleased I took the time to consider this aspect of my life. It took a few tries at finding the set of limiting beliefs, and coming up with appropriate challenge questions. It would be superb if I’m able to achieve zero-tasks (item 2), with the help of item 1. I will probably leave item 3 for a while, as it isn’t so pressing, but I can’t wait to create my The Unfinished page, as described in item 4. I’ll do this before my birthday next Thursday – a great present to myself! Thank you so much Milly for your inspirational, and hopefully life-changing, post.