Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 10:48 — L.G.L

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I am often asked how I come up with the idea for a painting. Do you paint first and then title it, or do you title it first and then paint the painting to fit the title? Most of the time, I come up with a title and then make the painting. Well, then how do you come up with a title? I use a number of sources including song titles and lyrics, familiar phrases and sayings that I have heard over the years, and sometimes it's something that I have never heard before but speaks to me personally. I want my paintings to speak to the viewer visually, first through the idea that I have portrayed. Some of my art students will show me one of their creations and then give me a long explanation about what it's all about. I personally feel that when you have to go into too much depth to explain it, you haven't done your job as a visual artist. I do place a high value on titling my art as I think a good title enhances its value to the viewer, but that should be all the words necessary to explain the piece. I would like to think that, on occasion, I just think of something out of the clear blue for an idea, a title, or a completed work, but the truth is most all creative people are influenced by the world around them including the things that they see and the words that they hear. With the internet and access to more information, ideas, and concepts right at our fingertips, there's no excuse for an artist to not be able to think of something to paint. How we paint it is up to us. That's what makes it our art. Now back to the studio . . .

One of my favorite quotes is from an artist, Gerhard Bakker, who saw the impact of photography on our lives and began to mentor photographers all around the world with the idea that photography could be treated as art and that photographers could learn from the old master painters from days gone by. I can only paraphrase, but he said something to the effect that, "There is nothing new under the sun. No one can be completely original. Every artist steals ideas from other artists, but the better you are at hiding what you have stolen, the more original you can be."

Happy Trails,