At the beginning of this week I painted this Venus Flytrap in a teacup. I wanted to practice painting on illustration board with gouache, as well as the textures of mosses and the reflective quality of porcelain. Of course there are things I'd change about it, but that's the point of doing studies like this: learning how to do better next time. Here's a detail shot of the plant and moss.
I also spent some time going through the finished pieces I have on hand. I've been booked to show my art in several local cafés over the coming months and need to have art to show in them. I realized that some of the dolphin illustrations I still have are perfectly sale-able, but felt incomplete as they were. So I decided to practice an ink transfer technique I've heard about. Here's an example of the results!
I used the ink transfer to add the text onto the image and really appreciated the worn and textured look of it. So I continued on with it for the rest of the dolphins. While it's very legible in person it doesn't photograph or scan well, so while all the pieces were transferred to give them this hand made and worn look, I'll show you the digital examples of them for ease of reading.
I had a lot of fun thinking about possible names for dolphin parts. I'll be posting the rest of the dolphins on my Instagram over the coming weeks so if you're not following me there please do!
Other than that, this week has been all about resting. It's important to listen to how you're feeling and do something about it, so while I spent a couple days futilely struggling to be productive despite feeling pretty worn out I eventually decided to be wise about it and let myself spend some time doing nothing but looking at things I find inspiring.
The main moment of realization came when I'd been sitting on the couch staring at my fish tank for 40 minutes, trying to muster the energy to do literally anything else. I thought to myself that I'd really rather just be staring at animals all day than painting. So I went to the zoo instead of the art desk and spent a truly lovely afternoon watching a huge variety of beautiful creatures doing what they do. In the process I learned about volunteering opportunities they have at the Oregon Zoo helping to rebuild and maintain animal habitats in local wildlife refuges, as well as animal observation opportunities for research. So that's something I'm excited to do next.
My point is that inspiration is part idea and part energy. Personally I have to cultivate them both in the best ways I know how to for myself, they don't just magically appear. Ultimately, to me inspiration is just a function of ones own well-being, and if you're not taking care of yourself as a person, then you can't really carry on being an artist for too long without doing something nice for yourself or fizzling out. So here are some pictures from the zoo in case you'd rather be staring at animals than working, too.