inspiration, books and my monday Joy list

An interesting thing has been happening to me. And it's a bit hard to explain. I think I could simply conclude that it's inspiration. I'm open to ideas and possibilities. And those ideas and possibilities seem boundless. I know that my creative energy ebbs and flows, but this seems different than a simple surge of that energy. It seems as if I'm having insights and breaking out of self imposed constraints. There is so much going on in my head that I really want to be able to capture and put into practice and into paint and into fabric and words and all of the different media with which I like to play. Of course, I know that it's going to be impossible for me to capture it all, but I'm liking being surrounded by it all right now.

Just like I like being surrounded by all of my supplies and projects in my studio. It's exciting. And comforting and full of possibility.

I'm loving Dana's class. I have been wanting to keep a consistent sketchbook for YEARS and finally I am on the road to doing that. It's interesting that our first assignment was to make swatches because after reading my new watercolor books I set that as an assignment for my watercolor notebook (sadly not touched since last May). Eventually I'll get around to color mixing in that sketchbook, too.

As long as I'm mentioning my new watercolor books again, I may as well share a bit about them because the way things are going, I'll never get to blogging about them on their own!  Jan Kunz's Painting Watercolor Flowers that Glow was one that I'd browsed through before I bought it. Although I don't always like her style (mostly in terms of her backgrounds and what objects she chooses to add to still lives... not my style), I really like how she spends a lot of time talking about composition and flower shapes and color mixing. Having no art background, these sorts of things are really helpful to me.  I love this page from the first chapter:

I hope you can read that. Basically, it's saying to be kind to yourself in your artistic development. Why is that so hard for us arty people to do??

As for the second book, I am in love with it. I ordered it sight unseen. Billy Showell's Watercolor Fruit & Vegetable Portraits appealed to me because of the subject matter and because of what I could see of her style in the previews. (Take a look at the link to see the page previews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  And take a look at Billy Showell's website, especially the pages of her prints. This will give you an idea of her work... she does stunning botanical illustration, but she has a sense of humor, too). The book talks about drawing, color mixing, composition and techniques and then then there are four step-by-step projects. Although I generally shy away from step-by-step art projects, I might try at least one of these. Even if I don't, seeing her process has been great for me. I had been looking for just this sort of book and I can't wait to get my hands on her flower portraits book! Oh, and being someone who is not confident in my drawing abilities, this passage really spoke to me:

Although I did watch this video clip on her website, I have not played around on YouTube at all for art instruction.

I hadn't really thought of online videos as a learning option. I guess they could be very helpful. But I can also see myself spending hour upon hour watching them without doing any painting at all. Have any of you tried learning through YouTube videos? What's your opinion on them?

Finally, here's my Joy list for today.

  • sunshine
  • my sketchbook
  • possibilities
  • a whole day to do what I want
  • dinner ready in the fridge

What's bringing you Joy today?


  1. • Sleeping in late
    • Seedlings emerging after planting
    • Flowers
    • Creative thinking
    • Thinking of our next weekend trip

    I love Dana's class to, I have been trying to make time to just sketch now. And it is really nice! I think those books look interesting. I would like to catch the libary here sometime so I can also gain some inspiration! I have been lacking a bit as far as that goes. But I have been so busy. And that makes it so hard to stay inspired.

  2. Hello Anne, I am always joyful to see that you have left a comment on my blog! I am also joyful that we share the same enthusiasm and frustration with our artistic endeavours!!! I haven't used online vdeos as a learning tool for painting but think they may be useful in picking up different techniques etc. My joy list for today is:
    .Much needed rain during our hosepipe ban
    .Chocolate in the house
    .An almost clear dining room table
    .Discovering some new websites
    .A plan to reinvent myself!!!

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  4. Hello again Anne. I deleted the above post because it published twice for some unknown reason!!!

  5. You hit the nail on the head! Talking about the impossibility of capturing all of the inspiration but just *enjoying* it! I hadn't thought about it like that much before but I think if I had to choose, I'd rather have the inspiration floating around then the actual capturing of it. My list:
    ~Being able to leave my front door open for the first time this spring!
    ~Replacing my completely falling apart car today
    ~Finding new fonts for my wedding invites (!)

  6. What a happy post, glad you feel so full of creative possibilities! I never thought of making a joy list, what a wonderful idea. Sunshine would be on my list too and the book I'm reading and watching my kids drawing with chalk outside on the patio. Having dinner ready in the fridge would be a nice one to have on my list, but it's not there!

  7. -finally taking care of a few things on my "to do" list, things that I have been avoiding.
    -cleaning the house (not doing it, but enjoying the results!)
    -looking forward to an afternoon in my sewing studio.
    -being "snowed on" by apple blossoms drifting onto my car at a stop sign this morning.

  8. I can feel spring and joy bursting forth in your post! I especially like the idea of being kind to yourself while starting out, be it on art projects or integrating any new concept in your life, much as you'd treat a seedling that's trying to grow. I am reading "Spontaneous Happiness" by Dr. Andrew Weil. In that book he talks about reaching equilibrium in our moods, recognizing that highs and lows are a part of life and we must learn what helps us adapt on all levels, mind, body and spirit. The beauty of springtime lends a natural energy to happiness pursuits!
    Thank you for the reviews of your favorite art books - I will have to look them up as I want to get back to my watercolor work. I have used the computer to color far to much lately. There is something so magical about putting water and pigment together on the page where it gains life and the colors astonish in their beauty :)

  9. I love hearing about your Joys!! Thanks for sharing.

    Sound like Andrew Weil's book would be an interesting read. I've read some of his health/food books before but not that one. Thanks for the recommendation!


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