Monday, May 7, 2012

Mind over Matter – Imagination is at the Heart of it!

"Shimmy Shake" 11x14 mixed media

I’m working on some illustrations. Aside from the story line, I’m creating purely from imagination. The more I create, the better it gets! The secret is to see clearly an image of what you want to paint or draw. In this way, an artist breathes life into a painting by creating real characters that seem almost alive.

There is great freedom in creating this way. Sometimes I need a model or a photo to see how an elbow or a knee looks when it’s bent at a certain angle. Or I may want to capture a frown or a surprised face and verify how that emotion shapes the human face. Are there wrinkles around the eyes? Does the mouth form an “o” shape?

"Moonshines" 18x24 mixed media

My imagination seems to be working overtime these days. I’m seeing faces and forms on our bathroom floor caused by water marks and the path of the sunlight as the day progresses. I try to draw these faces quickly before they get away.

Having a sketch book at hand when you’re not at your work station makes the job easier. As a writer, I learned to carry a moleskin notebook with me wherever I went. I’m still a note taker jotting down my first impressions of a subject. My descriptions later turn into drawings.

"Lucky Lady" 11x14 mixed media

The most important treasure an artist has is his imagination. It is a living and breathing thing that needs to be nurtured, coaxed, and used in order to thrive. By doodling a little each day, your imagination can be teased and coddled into being creating artwork or characters that may be fleshed out into something more substantial.

Many abstract paintings have faces, images, and forms tucked away in places that bring an intense interaction with the viewer. These images may be from collages or strictly from imagination. They bring a human element into the work that becomes personal and intimate.

"Release" 24x30 mixed media
The more you use your imagination, the freer your brushwork will become. Loose brush strokes add energy and vitality to an otherwise static painting. By learning to visualize your subject matter, you’ll be able to create something truly original.

Even a painting done from a photograph can take on a life of its own when you allow your mind to run wild and your heart full control over your paint brush.

(The above pictures are part of a two-page spread in my children's book: "Inez Ibis Flies Again")

The book is about how to deal with a disability and moving into self acceptance:

"I know a place where heron feed," she offered, encouraged by Will's thoughtfulness. "Would you like to go?"

"I'm there," Will said as he lifted his wings against the twilight.

Inez forgot all about her leg as she made ready to fly. She didn't notice the limping and the hopping before take off. She was beyond happy, and Will was her friend.