In the previous post, I talked about what my current art is and why I create it. In this post, I will talk about the inspiration behind some of that art. I have been getting a lot of questions about how I came up with the ideas behind some of these paintings.
So to answer the the question, ” How do I think up these really weird things?” People that think about Surrealism often associate the movement with dreams and rightly so. I often think about my dreams and try to incorporate some of it into my paintings. This is why a lot of my work looks like it could come from a dream or other world.
Another important aspect is wanting to come up with something interesting and different. Everyone has the capability to do this but most people don’t think they can think creatively. I used to think I was not all that creative, other than being good at painting and drawing. But then I started looking on Pinterest where I created a board that was titled ART. This board include art that I thought was interesting and subject matter that I was drawn too. I usually found a subject matter that I really wanted to use in some way and then I would sit with it and try to combine it to something else that I thought was interesting.
For example I really wanted to use a lava lamp in one of my paintings but I was not quite sure how. My first idea and sketch was to make a tree that was made of metal and glass. Inside the glass would essentially be a lava lamp that lit up the tree. This sounds really cool but on paper it just was not looking right and the more I thought about it the more it felt wrong. It’s okay to have ideas that don’t work out. It’s a part of the process and it’s good because a not so good idea or sketch can lead to a completely different idea that is much better down the road. So don’t get discouraged.
I liked the idea of the tree and wanted to still do a painting that was focused on a single tree and I liked the idea of it lighting up somehow. I thought about it some more, looked up some reference photos, and finally found the right combination of things. The tree would light up from the roots to represent the life of the tree but too see the roots, I either needed to show below ground or show the tree on the side of a cliff. I liked the idea of the cliff better. The product of that idea is below.
The lave lamp painting came to fruition after I did a water painting. After looking at the water, I realized it was very similar to the lava lamp “goo”. The more I painted, the more involved it got. It was originally just going to be a lava lamp floor but then as I was painting, the “goo” felt like it should be sticky and try to actively trap animals in its embrace which is what is shown below.
I could go months without thinking of a new idea but a lot of the times, one idea will lead to another or the very start of another idea. I will usually have three to four ideas going at once and they tend to influence each other, getting more involved and weird. I might change something I was going to put in one painting because it was the first idea but realize it goes better in another painting I thought up later. Everything is everchanging and fluid until I have a really solid idea planned. My dreams really help in this area. It helps me think out these issues in different ways and create scenes that are almost dream or otherworld like.