How do I get ideas for paintings ? Like most artists, I keep a visual diary. In fact this was the first step in my road to becoming an artist more than ten years ago now. Before I even put paint to paper, I had started collecting "inspirations" and pasting them into a visual diary with captions.
The main reason to keep a diary (I have several full ones now) is basically to remember any ideas I have for future use, to make notes on developing these ideas so that I can come back to the ideas later, to think about the process of what I am doing - I tend to make a lot of notes about the colour of things and what layers of colour I can sense in the image and to experiment with composition of images before I paint them. I also make notes on the line, form and shape of images. I also write my opinions on other artists works that have captured my attention and try to note why I like their work and why their work moves me to include it in my diary.
So my diary is basically made up of:
-cuttings from magazines / old calendars - mostly flowers / fruit and geisha
- cuttings or greeting cards by other artists I admire or who are doing things I aspire to
- Newspaper articles on other artists I admire
- ideas jotted down
- test colours
- photos of flowers from different angles
comments, opinions and ideas for the future
Some artists - more illustrator types - spend a lot of time on their diaries, which are fascinating pieces of decorative artworks in themselves, however, mine is more of a practical usage diary that I use as a reference. You can see some examples above and below where I use it to experiment with composition, colour and collect reference pictures for my paintings...
Dahlias are bushy perennial plants native to Mexico - in fact they are the national flower of Mexico. They are predominantly found in Mexico, Central and South America.. They are found mainly in mountain ranges and grow naturally in climates that do not experience frost, but have plenty of sunlight. There are nine different flower types, each characterised by different petal structures and formations.
I find Dahlia flowers fascinating to paint. The petal structure is so intricate and beautiful. A lot of the modern macro photography of the Dahlia flowers have really influenced my macro style of painting them. The Dahlia painting on the upper left was one of my earlier paintings - I quite like the off centre section approach to painting in macro style - it leaves your imagination to fill in the space around the flower to envision the whole flower from just a section. All three Dahlia paintings took the longest to paint out of all the different flower styles I have painted due to the detail involved in each petal. They are very popular flowers of mine and the originals all sold very quickly. They are all available as poster prints or canvases. You can click on the pictures for more details.
Below - some examples of the styles of macro photography that have influenced my Dahlia paintings.
We have a large Frangipani tree in our front garden and you always know that Summer is well and truly here when these beautiful flowers start blooming to make you feel like you could possibly be living in a tropical region of the world. Their proper scientific name is Plumeria and these flowering shrubs are native to Central America, Mexico, The Caribbean and South America. They can be grown in any tropical or sub tropical region. The common name Frangipani comes from the sixteenth Century when an Italian Marquee invented a Plumeria scented perfume and named it "Frangipani". The flowers are most fragrant at night to lure moths to pollinate them.
Frangipani flowers are popular in Pacific Island nations and in Polynesian cultures for making leis. Also the flower can be worn by women to indicate their marital status.
My paintings of the Frangipani flowers were all painted quite a few years ago now. They are one of my favourite flowers, so I really enjoyed painting their simple form . The macro style Frangipani on the left was painted for a friend's birthday present and the other two originals sold very quickly, as these are very well known and popular flowers. They are all available for sale as prints, just click on the pictures and it will take you to the link.
Below is Georgia O'Keeffe's "Hibiscus and Plumeria" 1930 painting. This was the only painting of Frangipani that I could find of hers.
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.