Don't try too hard

 

I spent 10 hours this week trying to create a digital collage of a vase of flowers. It looked okay but nothing special. It was an up hill battle because the art did not flow out of me. It was not time spent that was the problem, but the drain of energy. 

Eventually I decided that it was not worth pursing further and if I was honest with myself, the inspiration had come from seeing an up tick in flower vase art trending.  I realised that a negative of consuming too much online content is your inspiration can get shaped. It was time to go back to my roots. What initially started me on a digital art journey? This was layering vintage textiles under my own landscape photography. My first moody beach collage is still a best seller of mine. Even though in technique I have considerably improved since then. I resolved to re-focus and get back to pulling on inspiration that comes from within not externally. To do this, you have to really quieten the noise. Remove interference. Be still. 

The first step was to get out to the beaches and take some photos. Later that night, while etching out details of the rose bouquet in the sand, giving a luminous quality to the world I was making, I realised that following your own curiosities and carving your own art path is more satisfying and sustainable, than copying trends. For me the test is - Does creating this art piece drain my energy or create energy. Go for the latter. It shows through. 

 

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Lifes mood board

This week I re-discovered the beautiful writings of Henry David Thoreau. I say re-discover, because it turns out I have long admired his view and found motivation in his quotes. You see I keep screen shots of things that interest me and save these in a digital photo album. A mood board for my life. It is fascinating to me to go back and look through this album periodically. Especially from an art and style perspective. I can see where I have drawn on influences. Sometimes this album alone can get me out of a funk, re-inspire, motivate and centre me again. It is after all filled with images of things I love, admire, enjoy or desire and being a private album it is deeply personal. 

So after diving deep into the written essays of Thoreau and falling in love with his calming life view, I then found a whole series of his quotes from years ago in my "Life Mood Board" album. 

This in turn sparked a new product to work on - Cute inspirational printable postcards that feature my dreamy collages and some of my favourite Thoreau quotes. 

Moon art postcard with a quote from Henry David Thoreau next to a brown envelope and sprinkles of rose petals and flowers.

What do you love doing and are naturally good at?

This week I finished reading a book that suggested we should focus more on what we love doing and are naturally good at. This is where the magic happens and value is created almost effortlessly. Personally I think it is a difficult question to answer. For some people, you might know the answer straight away. For me, this is something to mull over, swirl it like a good wine in my mind. Your subconscious brain knows more than we realise. Perhaps the answer is already known, it just need to come to the surface. Anyway, it is something I shall ruminate over. 

A good time for me to think deeply is while I digitally draw landscapes. Once I have finished the draft outline of all the shapes and layers, I go back over it carefully, rounding out any wonky edges and making lovely curves. I draw with my finger on a touch pad. Primitive perhaps but I have a flow now. I might move on to a tablet and pencil one day. I like the simplicity of my process and rounding out the curves feels a bit like bopping up and down in gentle waves. Curves are nice. 

This beach is called "Eternal Beach" and it was a challenge to decide how much colour and detail to give the rocks under the shallow water in the foreground. 

 

The Future Is Bright

This is my new morning mantra, or whenever I feel dampened by life. While our future is impacted by our past and present, it has not happened yet and therefore can still be shaped by us. This is reason for optimism. No matter what your current situation is, the future can be bright. You just need to focus on creating that colourful version. Optimism or the lack thereof, has been on my mind this week. 

This beach abstract landscape started with just an idea of an ombre sky and a positively hopeful colour palette. It is still a work in progress but I like the chalky rawness and simplicity.