People often ask me where I get my ideas for paintings from. I usually reply that ideas come from many places- a new object I see, a combination of colors (ie: in nature, or on a theater set!), the composition of an old painting in an art book, or simply from choosing some objects, putting them on a table under a light and observing if there are any interesting relationships or light effects.
In a sense, it doesn’t matter where the idea comes from. It’s just a hook- a way to begin. Sometimes, the idea occurs to me easily. Other times (like now!), ideas are elusive. Yes, there are colors I like, but I don’t always have objects in those colors! I could pick some objects in my studio to work with, but I’ve painted most of them before! I could look at art books, but I’ve looked through them so many times. I want something new!
Of course, starting from “I want something new” isn’t very helpful. That phrase creates a lot of pressure to make something brilliant out of nothing, with no specifics to go on. I need to figure out what qualities I want the new work to have. Why am I bored with my existing way of composing? What’s missing? Is there some method or technique, subject matter, format, color scheme or lighting situation that I’ve never tackled that I would find satisfying and challenging?
It would be easy to put together a composition like one I’ve done before. I don’t have the heart to do that right now. I need to take the time to evolve.