A Sun sets behind the tree-line near home. Once it disappears the sky quickly, yet smoothly changes from bright orange to a grayish-brown, and just gets darker from there. This is a dim time for the soul, the golden hour gone for another 23 hours. Or is it?
Does the transition from day to night, or sunny to cloudy make you as sad as it does me? I am not what you would call a sun-worshiper, but I refuse to move to Portland, as much as I love that city. “Every cloud has a silver lining” has become a monument in our language and culture, but do we believe it?
I think belief preempts the kind of artist’s eye that inspires so many of us. The eye behind so many great images, from Rembrandt to Ansel Adams. No one can see the beauty in the world if their mind stands in the way.
To quiet our thoughts and empty the mind is a good exercise in meditation, but also a good practice throughout the day, so an artistic vision can arise from our mundane surroundings. What seems like an average boring day to us may appear exhilarating to a puppy, or a beaming snow-bunny on coffee and Colorado Kush.
A ritual, or a moment of introspection and reflection may bring another point of view to the same old view we see everyday. Maybe a cup of tea and browsing a favorite art book could get you as hype as it does me. Inspiring you to paint the landscape out your window in a fresh way that no one has ever seen before - a way you have never seen it before.
Art is in the eye. The hand merely struggles with the instrument of communication. Build your skills in an area, and apply them to your vision. If you don't yet have a vision, start a new ritual or practice that brings you results. When you are feeling dull or uninspired, get out, walk about, dream a bit, drink some fresh juice from the world around you. It is teeming with life and abundance.
The world is amazing. Not all of it. Finding what turns you on will also bring you to the subject-matter. Some artists struggle with what to paint or frame with their camera for a lifetime. If it is a paper bag that "looks cool in that light", shoot it. Study it. Is it the light? The bag? Your state of mind? Whatever it is, repeat. Keep doing it, and people will notice it, too. Job done. You have shared a moment of beauty with someone.
Most importantly, paying attention to what inspires us, energizes our world and our work. It is not the subject, but seeing it and capturing the essence of it's perceived beauty that makes great art.
Stay tuned for more inspiring ways to open your heart to the world and see the immense, sacred beauty flourishing all around us.
I will be posting some basics for beginners and old hands, because the basics are the foundation of any image. I will, however, be focusing on the spirit behind what makes you make great images.