Tuesday, May 17, 2016

staying inspired on the road

We are back home from our whirlwind adventures in Central Oregon and I am busy "downloading" my brain and all the inspiration, ideas and images that I soaked up from this little trip. As an artist I feel that it is so important to keep myself fresh and inspired and that is why we always make time to get out and explore.

Today I am sharing some of the best advice I can give when it comes to staying inspired and creative on the road!

When we are on the road exploring, I spend most of my time taking photos that I can bring home and use as inspiration in my art, my classes and my blog posts. I also have paper, my drawing pens and watercolors on hand. While I don't take lots of time to make art when we are exploring, I do use small chunks of time to jot down ideas, create fast expressive sketches and try and capture colors that catch my eye. 


KEEP SUPPLIES ON HAND
I have found that having simple supplies on hand (that can go anywhere with me) helps keep me inspired draw, sketch and doodle whenever and wherever I am.

1. A sketchbook- preferably one that is not too expensive. I keep a number of the Strathmore sketchbooks on hand- my favorite size is 6.26 x 8.5 inches- it is big enough to have a nice page to work on and small enough that I can throw it in my purse.
2. I keep some kind of tape on hand (washi tape is a favorite) because I like to adhere things (like lists and sketches that I create on scrap paper) to the pages of my sketchbook.
3. I always have some kind of paper towel or rag.
4. A water brush- I almost always have a water brush with me because it cancels out the need to bring a water vessel. You simply put your water in the handle of the brush, squeeze the handle and water comes out of the brush.
5. I always have a pencil and pen with me.
6. I prefer to add color to my pages with watercolors- they are easy to use and most important- very portable and easy to pull out when you are on the go. My favorite watercolors to use are Sakura Koi Watercolor Sketch Box

TIP: Keep your sketching supplies in your purse or in your car or by the door. If you end up somewhere inspiring or even have time to kill (doctors apt., road trips, picking up kids from school, soccer games, etc) pull out that sketchbook and get creating! Use your surroundings (no matter what they are) as your inspiration.






TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS
I always have a camera on me- sometimes its my fancy camera, sometimes its my iphone while other times its my Instax MINI. In addition to sketching, I am always snapping photos of my subject matter. This process enables me to not feel rushed while sketching on the go. Instead I am able to use my photos as reference and keep sketching once I get home. 



LET GO OF PERFECTION
For some reason, sketching outside or on the go is more challenging for me. I still love it but I tend to be more concerned about perfection than when I am working in my studio. It probably has a lot to do with time constraints (I often feel rushed) and comfort (sitting on a large rock is not as comfortable as my couch). Over time I have learned that its ok to be challenged or a little uncomfortable and I use these moments to work on letting go of perfection in the sketching process.


KEEP A FIELD JOURNAL
When I am outside I am ALWAYS on the lookout for treasures that I can use as subject matter for sketching. Treasures for me are pretty feathers, shells, rocks, a pretty leaf, flowers and just about anything from nature! I like to bring my treasures back home and complete a page or two dedicate to things that I found. I like to think of this process a little like keeping a field journal and my sketchbook has become a place to record observations and findings from nature.



TAKE CREATIVE NOTES
Sometimes I don't have time to sit and sketch on the go but I still want to capture an idea or inspiration in my sketchbook for later. I like to take creative notes- I jot down a quick sketch, record the weather, the colors I see, shapes, pattern or texture. When I am back home with more time, I use my visual notes as reference for drawing and painting projects.

CAPTURE THE ESSENCE
Since sketching on the go can be challenging try to challenge yourself to "capture the essence" of your inspiration instead of feeling like you need to be perfect. Try to focus on the color, pattern, shapes and texture instead of perfectly replicating your subject matter.

5 comments:

Kaili Willows said...

Great tips! I rarely sketch on the road but I would like to find the time for it during future travels. There's nothing quite like capturing that sketch when the initial inspiration hits.

weirdwonderfulwanderlust.blogspot.com

Jo Murray said...

Thanks for the tips Alisa. You do keep wonderful records of your trips.

BlueBirdLegacy said...

You are an amazing and talented artist, and inspiring person, that even though we have never met, I feel like I know you and can relate on that level that you share of your adventures, and keeping an art and field log. Thanks Alisa for your transparency.

LM said...

This couldn't have been more timely. Thanks for the tips.

Jessica L said...

Hi! Do you use the water brush with the water colors?!

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