Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Inspiration Can Be Found in the Oddest Places
Untitled 12 x 12 collage painting by Leslie Avon Miller
I love to be inspired. It’s a delicious emotional state of being. When I’m inspired, I get going, getting doing, and I enjoy it a lot. As a visual artist I am constantly looking at all kinds of things; the way a crack in the sidewalk makes an interesting line; the way a rusty piece of metal on a ferry has taken on the imprint of the door that comes up against it; and even socks can inspire me. Socks? We were shopping in our local warehouse store, and a display of ladies socks caught my eye. They were in groups, and just like a color fan of paint chips, they were arranged in a perfect array from light to dark, but with close values in the warm earthy neutrals that I love. You get to see what I mean, because of course I had to bring them home with me. And I vowed to scan in an image before I started wearing them, so I could use them for color reference.
I tear pages out of magazines; usually they are my magazines, but I have been known to ask a friend for a particular page. One page that has always held my interest is of an old armory store which has been converted into an upscale contemporary dwelling. I love the old, cracked concrete ceilings. I keep these pages in big three ring binders, which appropriately enough, I call my inspiration notebooks. I have three volumes now. Another magazine page that inspires me is a contemporary dining room. I particularly love the exposed drywall, complete with nail heads, and a perfect wash of darker paint to look like natural aging and use. It is a perfect neutral color, and one which I reference a lot to start a painting. In combination with the aged wood warm color, the stark dark black picture frames and the white of the flowers and candles it is a great starting off place for a contemporary painting.
Last weekend this painting came to a place I am calling “maybe it’s done.” That means I leave it alone for a while and see what I think as I ponder it. It occurred to me it is partly inspired by the socks, the old concrete, and the dining room set up. I didn’t look at any of those images when I made this painting, but the inspiration was probably an influence.
I am trying to become a better art photographer. I asked Kurt to look up art photography advice on the internet. He came back with a report that people use Photoshop or other image programs to adjust the colors. So I will try that. I notice that here at home on my lap top, the colors looks okay on my blog posts. At work, on a different computer my images look yellow. They are not yellow. They have warm tones, but there is no out and out yellow. So, if my header and this full photo of the painting look yellow, maybe it’s the monitor? Or what? I think issues of photography and creating digital images may have to be a whole separate post, or series of posts…. and I don’t have the answers. Do you?
Update on the four questions: People continue to respond, to send emails, to speak with me, to post answers on their blogs. I have answered the questions myself - at least twice. So I will continue to gather the responses and start compiling what has been said to create a few posts so you too can find out about what artists are thinking. If you would like to participate see the two previous posts. If you have posted your answers on your blog, please let me know. I will create a set of links so readers can find your answers as well. I hope we all find inspiration today!
These just had to come home with me.
This is great texture.
I love these colors.