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Where I find my ideas

I’m often asked by students and people I meet about where I find ideas on what to paint, do I have a list or do they just come to me from things I see?

A Jar of Sunshine
A Jar of Sunshine

Occasionally I have a list but only if I’m working on a series of artworks that go together… like the Australian Birds Collection and Australian Sea Life Collection (launching soon). I needed twelve subjects for each so I made a list. It did change as I went though, especially the Sea Life subjects as I wanted to try and include a variety of sea life (a crustacean, a mammal etc). Having a list kept me focused as well.

But in general, no I don’t use a list. Rather I simply paint what I feel at the time. This can sometimes result in unfinished paintings though! Sometimes I’ll start a painting… and go back to it a few days later and I don’t feel the same way I did when I started it so it’s very hard to resume. Overall though it does work for me.

Take this painting for example, A Jar of Sunshine which I completed last month. I actually did this painting as part of an exercise under ‘Self Realisation’ in my Diploma of Art Therapy that I am studying. The exercise was to put myself in a state of relaxation, peace and quiet, and paint what I felt at that very moment.

This was my explanation for my tutor:

“I painted this jar in this activity. While painting after the relaxation techniques I felt happy and calm. The sun was shining through the window near where I was sitting and I wanted to bottle everything I was feeling at that moment. So I visualised the sunshine in a jar that I could keep and painted it. I love how the colours came through, I felt confident painting the colours, I wanted them brighter and more vibrant with each layer, and as they became more vibrant and more like the sunshine I felt happier and happier.

I painted on the material covering the lid in neutral colours, not wanting to take away from the sunshine as the emphasis of the artwork and I painted a string around it which I wrapped tightly so the sunshine couldn’t escape, so it was safe and I could hold it in my hands.”

I’ve added the artwork to the website here under prints.

“Happiness is a work of Art. Handle with care.”

Maybe you could draw or paint your own Jar of Sunshine? I’d love to see it.

Amy 💛

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