Sunday, 15 April 2018

ICAN 2 Pastel Inspiration-Maintaining your creative ideas for paintings

This is my 2nd instalment about ICAN, and the second workshop I will be teaching at the Pastel Artists of Canada national conference, (known as ICAN pastel). I'll be giving a lecture on maintaining creativity Thursday May 31st. The conference is being held at the Aurora Cultural Centre in Aurora Ont. For more information or to register for either of my workshops there, go to and follow the links to register. 

El Vestido Rojo, pastel, which won the creativity award at the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada Intnernational exhibition, Montreal. 

Over my years as a teacher, I’ve discovered many students who struggle with keeping themselves motivated to create over the long term. I’ll be talking about creating a work environment and practise, where artists can encourage themselves to create on an ongoing basis, maintaining their inspiration, using many creative tools. In this 2 hour demo, I will talk and create continuously, while having the conversation about managing your creative time fruitfully.

 100 winter project 
one object:100 ideas

I’d be showing several ideas of documentation of ideas for future work, a reservoir of
ideas for days when you feel directionless, how to inspire yourself. I’ll be taking only a few ideas ( or even one), and show many possibilities within the use
of only the one image, working one idea in a fairly small format.
I want to demonstrate how to set yourself up for the creative expressions possible within one idea, but also how to manage your creativity. 

studio soul space; my bulletin board, with photos, art pieces, sketch book etc.  

Because pastel is such a versatile, spontaneous medium, it naturally lends itself to the initial creative visualization. Some variables will be paper colour, value and type of paper, underpainting, lighting, composition and pallette and value variation. I’ll talk about the difference between the right paper/colour choice, and the effect that you are trying to create, as one example. I will also talk about pastel as the seminal medium for experimenting with composing, why it is the perfect medium to start every piece art artwork with, regardless of following it up in another medium or staying with Pastel.

Ruffles in the sun, pastel, 5" X 7" from my A Time to Dance series, 2009

The follow up larger version, Ruffles in the Sun, 2009

Many of my students can attest to hearing me say if you don’t have any creative ideas for paintings, ones can be provided for you. 
Many creative people are constantly experiencing ideas for paintings, any time of day. How many ideas do you document, file and save for a rainy day?
Our creative inspirations don’t always match our time in the studio, so it’s part of our job as artists to document ideas as they come to us, and save for the some time ahead. 
How does this happen? How can we increase the chance that we’ll be able to express an idea, and get it back at the beginning of our studio time?
Creativity is an open ended phenomenon, leading to a multitude of possibilities. 

1 cup

many views

endless possibilties

Over my years teaching plein air painting, I find it's so important to spend a ton of time looking for ideas. The following pieces are all pastel, fairly small, and represent effort put into finding worthwhile paintings in many different subject matter. All these images are from Morocco. When I come to a new location to paint, I take my time, and allow myself to spend loads of time, looking for interesting compositions. If I come away with more ideas and less paintings, I know I'm on the road to huge creative output, through exploring many ideas. 

camel against the Atlas Moutnains

laundry day

architecture that speaks about colour choice.

more about light and geometry

stark light and fullness behind the white wall

perspective, depth, texture

Take the emphasis off of production and onto idea collecting, and rather quality idea collecting. I hope to see you at my presentation. 

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