Tag Archives: Inspiration for art

Something is Better than Nothing

16 Oct
Purple Pole Beans

“Purple Pole Beans”, Watercolor on Yupo paper, Katie Turner

A fellow artist approached me recently bemoaning that his drawing wasn’t as he would have liked it.  When I asked him why he didn’t like his drawing he explained that it had been done using a photo reference rather than sketching it “en plein air”.

In my opinion, drawing from a photo is certainly better than not drawing at all.  But without the right approach it can be a sad experience with drawings and paintings that look flat, lifeless and soulless.

So how do you keep your drawing or painting from lacking soul? First, have a positive attitude and then an open mind. What are you feeling as you draw this?  What senses are affecting you during the drawing process?  What is it about this particular subject that you want to communicate to the viewer in your drawing?

Another thing to consider is what the photographer has already done in the photo.  How have they already edited the scene and what can you do to make it your scene rather than just a repeat of what the photographer created?  What else can you bring to this drawing that would make it fresh and spice it up?

Remember that your art tells your story and you get to choose what you want to say and how to say it.   Happy creating. ♦


Paint Chip Challenge

14 Jul
Landscape painting of low moon rising in woods, purple flowers dot the landscape

Low Moon 20″x 16″ watercolor on paper by Katie Turner

Sassy Lilac color

Sassy Lilac #4003-9B

There are two weeks left to view the CNY Art Guild Liverpool Library Show.  “Paint Chip Challenge” will hang until the end of July 2017.  For hours and location click here: www.lpl.org

This challenge was an interesting project and it was fun to see what each artist came up with.  The color was given to me by the show organizer.  It is not a color I would have chosen.  I primarily work with transparent watercolors. This particular color required me to use Chinese white to make it opaque.   After painting several different paintings using this color, I settled on entering the picture above into the show.  It was done on watercolor paper using wet into wet techniques and a palette knife to scratch in some of the texture.

Having parameters can make painting more of a challenge but some rules also fuel creativity.  I enjoyed this challenge and would definitely participate in another one.  I highly recommend a challenge like this for healthy art exercise.

Artists Have Resonance

15 Nov
beautiful watercolor painting of white and pink baneberries by artist Katie Turner

Watercolor on paper, 20″x 16″ by Katie Turner

Art is an extremely reflective process that brings the artist closer to his/her own beauty and sensitivity.  It connects the artist to his/her inner thoughts and feelings as well as connecting others in the general population.  Artists become sensitized to patterns, content, narrative, movement, and nature. Art is a deep form of communication and great rewards stem from that create process.

It’s Not All in Your Head

3 Oct
A sketch painting in Katie Turner's art journal.

A couple of pages out of one of my art journals.

Concept is a key part of the creative process.  A lot of times I come up with the concept in my head.   Inspiration can be fleeting sometimes though … and that’s why I keep many of my concepts in my art journals.


Creative Resolutions

8 Jan
pot of flowers, painting in watercolor

Watercolor by Katie Turner

We all know how it is with New Year’s Resolutions – we start out with good intentions and after a few months, we have forgotten about them.  I was thinking about what goals I have for myself this year.  Many of us artists come up with wanting to paint more but I know many artists don’t have a lot of time and aren’t able to make a big commitment.   So how can an artist incorporate more creativity into their life without a huge time commitment?  How about 15 minutes of creativity a day?  Here are some unique ways to get started with a quick creative 15 minutes.

  • Select an article in your room and draw it upside-down
  • Borrow an art book from the Library for inspiration
  • Paint with tea (yeah, this is weird!)
  • Try drawing a cartoon of your spouse or child or pet
  • Draw out the alphabet using an object that starts with the letter
  • Draw cartoon numbers
  • Talk with an artist friend about art you love
  • Draw on something you normally wouldn’t
  • Experiment with a new medium
  • Check out what other artists are doing with a new medium on YouTube or Instagram
  • Sketch your Morning coffee cup with the timer on – 15 minutes or less!
  • Come up with fun and challenging ways to practice sketching


Creative thinking is so important for an artist and helps an artist to grow.  I resolve to be more creative every day and I hope you will too.