Sunday, October 13, 2013

Milan and Lake Garda, Italy and Inspiration in General

Inspiration.  Where does it come from?

For me, travel is one of the keys to inspiration, which then leads me to creative thinking, and ending, hopefully, with an excellent painting.

Scenes of Gargnano, Italy along Lake Garda
I love teaching workshops in locations foreign to me.  It's tremendous fun to see new sights and be inspired.  Some sights compel me to paint them immediately...perhaps because of the lighting or the smells or some sort of interaction I'm experiencing at the time.  Other sights want to be photographed... in many ways.  I can spend quite a large amount of time walking around a location, taking hundreds of different photos from different angles.  In fact, one of my favorite methods for taking pictures now is to hold my camera in front of me, constantly change my angles, and shoot away.  I can often be surprised by the beauty of these random photographs.

I was able to sneak in a tour of Berlin after the workshop this year, and I took many photos of the Reichhstaag, which is one of my favorite buildings in the world.

The very nature of the building and the many reflective surfaces lend itself to painting.....I love the natural abstraction of the angles.  Whenever discussing design in class, I advise students to "make it irregular, make it oblique and make it unpredictable."  This building exemplifies some of those major adages of good design.
 As enjoyable as it is to BE inspired, it's just as energizing to me to observe students in the midst of enjoying bursts of creativity.  I must say, my students who took the Il' Chiostro Watercolor Workshop with me during early October of 2013 made great strides forward in technique.  I like to think it was the teaching; I'm just as sure it was the inspiration of the location.  So, get thee to an inspiring location....and then, remember some design advice:  keep images irregular; use oblique lines whenever you can; and stray away from predictability in form and shape.

Happy Painting!  Catherine Hillis

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