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Evolution Of A Painting: Inspiration Using My Paws

Originally posted April 14, 2014

Bear Paws

You should see my paws right now.  They’re huge!  And I’ve got this thick fur, so glossy and white.  Lately I’ve just been pacing.  Pacing back and forth.  Waiting for something, I’m not sure what.  And I keep gnawing on things.  Gnawing, and pacing, and waiting…

What I’ve described is an adolescent bear who’s full of vitality and is pacing, anxious to experience life.  As an emerging artist I’m like that bear, eager to navigate my way and gnawing at all the resources and inspiration that can help me get there.

I like the analogy of the paws because that’s how my hands often seem to feel.  I’ve got many tools at my disposal- years of training, life experiences, and a much more older and wiser frame.  Yet my hands haven’t quite caught up with the rest of me.  They’re exploring and youthful.  Don’t let the wrinkles fool you!

Nothing exemplifies all this pent up ambition more then a painting I recently completed.  It was influenced by a sketch I created back when I was still rounding the final corner of my 365 project.

Inspired drawing from 365 sketchbook

2/1 Inspired- From 365 Sketchbook

The sketch itself is very free and vivacious- full of unrestricted energy. As the title states, I was inspired.  Now that I’ve released my creative self into the wild I’m often overcome with this feeling.  But on this day I had just viewed my own artwork (in the first group show I’ve entered in 10 years!) and spoke to an artist who’s work I admired.  I ended my journal entry that accompanied the sketch with, “Oh happy, inspiring day!”

Step 1 of Inspired Painting

Step 1- texture and base colors

I thought the drawing would lend itself well to a new direction that I had been seeking to add texture to my canvas and give it a new dimension.  The first step was to create random patterns using various objects within the gesso, a dense layer of paint that primes the canvas. 

Next I chose a warm cadmium yellow (which I now love and use constantly!) and a contrasting cool blue to create a framework for the rest of the painting.



Step 2- Lay down complimentary colors

Step 2- Complimentary Hues play off of Base Colors

Then I started to have fun and lay down the colors to complement the yellow and blue as well as create an energy within the piece.  In some places I played off the texture and in others I let it be.

"Inspiration" Acrylic Painting


The final piece is a bit of a departure for me.  It has numerous raw edges and areas where I let the paint and the texture speak for itself.  It also has an abundance of energy and vitality.  

In many ways I felt those big paws with this painting.  It has a vocabulary that I haven’t quite mastered.  I did a lot of pacing, gnawing, and waiting to create this piece and yet it seems to have a sophistication that transcends all that adolescent angst.

Recently I came across this quote by Lee Anne White“Deep within each of us is enormous creative potential just waiting to be unleashed.”  I feel fortunate to have recognized that potential within myself and am pawing at the locks to set it free.  

Have A Great Week!!

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