Ruminating on Inspiration

Lately I’ve been something like a professional artist. Anyway, I’ve done work requested by other people. I’ve enjoyed it very much and want to do more. It has all been work I would not have done on my own hook (I know what that phrase means but WHY?) so it’s pushed me as an artist as have the “How to Draw” videos, though I might be done with that for now. There’s only so much a person can do holding the “camera,” speaking and drawing simultaneously and off the cuff (again, I know what that phrase means but WHY?).

The thing about inspiration is that you HAVE to wait for it and you CAN’T wait for it. It’s one of THOSE things. My recent drawing of the livestock guardian dogs and the sheep was for a customer but at the same time I loved doing it. I love drawing big white dogs and the other parts of it? It was a challenge. I’ve drawn sheep before, but never in a situation where I had to represent two different breeds of sheep. I had a photo but I couldn’t just draw that. Pencil is pencil. That was another thing — I’m usually a frictionless artist (paint) and dragging a tiny graphite line across paper is different. In that drawing inspiration came in little bursts of ideas of how to solve problems in the drawing. “Put the black sheep here to emphasize the white dog in front of it,” kind of thing.

I know there are artists who plan everything out before they do anything. One of my favorite wildlife artists — Greg Beecham — uses photos, puts a grid over the photo and then paints it piece by piece into a grid he’s sketched onto his canvas, essentially doing a hundred little paintings all linked together. His work is amazing, and I love it, but his plein air work — where he’s painting outside, directly and NOT working with a plan, grids, cameras or anything — is completely different. His work reflects a mind that likes to know where it’s going.

Is that a better strategy? I don’t know. I guess it depends on the artist’s goals. All this said, I am not a professional artist, just a confirmed dilettante.

17 thoughts on “Ruminating on Inspiration

  1. The prompt seems tailor made for you! I think that if you get money for art that makes you a professional. In my opinion tracing or using a grid is cheating. I much prefer the fluidity of free hand sketches and the sense of movement and emotion that is achieved. (that is despite my own preference to do highly detailed and eidetic works.) I’d really like to see this when it is completed!

    • That is a completed drawing. That’s what my customer wanted. A pencil drawing of a livestock guardian dog with sheep. You should check out Greg Beecham’s work. It’s really incredible.

  2. Inspiration is funny. I see this in my poetry where there it feels like the inspiration just comes to me or is already there, and then there are the poems that are a response to a prompt, and it’s a poem I never expected writing. Both tracks produce good and bad poetry, and sometimes, the route of how I got there is indistinguishable.

Comments are closed.