Art as Inspiration: Growth Through a Mixing of Yourself and Another

the dream maiden

Lots of stuff happening in KiraLand lately! My "bum" mood and lack of inspiration has completely disappeared as of the end of the holiday weekend. I took a little miniVacation into the backyard and sat on the grass under the warm summer sun, and made a mess. *laughs* I love working outside for just that reason -- the freedom of being able to spill paint, play with spray paint, leave things all over the place -- it's so liberating and child-like.

My two best friends just moved into their first apartment, and I've been spending time over there keeping them company and generally hanging out. I've also been hanging out with Retro Girl, giggling over cool supplies and pretty papers.

I've also been playing A LOT! Lately, I've been in this state of flux regarding my art, trying out new things and grabbing elements I've used before, selecting small parts or tiny techniques and inserting them into my experiments. It's been interesting, and with each piece, I feel myself getting closer and closer to my true artistic voice, the sing-song words a soft echo in my ears getting closer with each passing day.

It's a natural progression. Go look at my Flickr stream, about two years ago, and you'll see my novice journal pages. When I began, I had no idea what the difference between watercolors and acrylics were or how to think in the language of image and color. But, like they say, you need to make a lot of bad art in order to make good art. Push forward. Continue working in your journal, playing with color and image, learning new things, and never, ever think your work looks "bad." That you aren't good. Because this is only a piece of who you will become.

One thing that's helped me greatly is reading about other artists. Yeah, it can be boring at first, but learning about what was going on in the artist's life at the time they created something gives insight into the symbols they used. Here's an example of how exposing yourself to art can help you create and grow.

This piece is by Frieda Kahlo, an artist I've become interested in because of our kinship of pain and passion intersecting, and the new ways we have to attempt things because of physical limitations. It was painted around the time of her second marriage to Diego Rivera, a man who loved her traditional Mexican dress, thus, she is depicted wearing such an outfit.

I love the image, the lacy look of her headpiece, the way you see just her face. And I've never been very good at drawing hair, so there's an attraction to being able to avoid doing so. After seeing this painting, I created this journal entry:

pink and red

True, it's not a copy, but that's not the point; it is inspired by the painting, made into my own piece through interpretation. I love this journal page -- I combined my new love of crafting small collages with an image from a magazine painted a la Freida.

Another entry was created after seeing paintings in the most recent issue of Cloth, Scissors, Paper.


I combined the article on glazing with the paintings of another artist who wrote about inspiration and such (I don't have the magazine handy to give names, etc.). Into that mix I added my love of collaged clothing and put in some of my own photographs (the flowers in her hair). The backgound's also a collage. By taking elements I liked and mixing them with personal elements, I was able to create something new and pleasing -- the crafting of it was exciting, fun, and gave me such a rush!

I've posted all sorts of new journal pages, with explanations, over on my flickr page. My pro account expires in a few days, and I don't have the funds to renew it, so this might be my last update for awhile (or many photos will disappear). I do love the community over there and will be sad that I won't be able to participate the way I do now for awhile.

As Dawn has been overwhelmed by 1,000 Artists' Journal Pages and doesn't have a prompt this week, I'll give y'all one.

As artists, we all have those we admire, be them famous or otherwise. Find a painting or image of theirs you love and use it as a base for an art journal entry. Pluck from it what you love, mix in your own voice, and see what happens. Don't worry about copying -- that is the point! No matter how hard you try to copy, you'll always be yourself, an original. Use my entries above as an example and go create!