Day Twenty-eight

 Themes and Prompts
Ooops - back on Day Fifteen I said we would talk about themes.  Sorry.

There are a few ways to use themes as thought starters  -  or painting starters  -  prompts. Themes can easily turn into a series.  If you're doing a series, you almost always have something in mind to paint.
  • A few years ago in the winter I did some little sketches in my journal using the alphabet. The sketches were only about two inches square.  The self-imposed criteria was that the subject had to be something real  -  something I could look at and draw.
  • Sometimes I have used a grid to set up some themes for a long weekend.  I would use ideas such as "simple pleasures", "light and shadows", "tastes", "just being here".   Art Escapes by Dory Kanter is where I read about this idea.
  • For some reason a few years ago, in the back of one of my sketchbooks, I made a list of my 100 favorite things.  The list grew, of course.  It would make a pretty good reference for painting and journaling ideas.
  • There are always the simple, quick sketches you can do in restaurants  -  the salt and pepper shakers everywhere you go, your water glass, your lunch.
  • Then there are subjects such as gates, doors, gardens, figures, every view from your porch .  .  . 
  • And the more obscure themes such as passions, random thoughts, gratitude, spiritual . . . 
  • There is always that view from a window every day for a year  -  watching the seasons change.
 The possibilities are endless.

In the next day or two, I'll explain a little more about each of these and show some examples.  Creative writers use prompts, and I think they work well for visual artists too. 


Suspinz: Dabbler in Many Things said...

Oh, man, I'm looking forward to this next conversation! I do have lists, but have not followed through. You are a great inspiration.


Kay said...

What great ideas and I love using the grid to do just parts of things - less intimidating and quicker too, but the memory will still be there. Thanks for sharing.

annie said...

I am looking forward to this, too, Catherine. I agree with Suspinz and Kay: inspiring(and,especially)less intimidating. I am ALL for Less Intimidating.

Anonymous said...

I can't thank you enough for these days of blogging. I have no art classes near and on a lifes budget that does not afford me to even go to a class. I have been coming here for many years now had your book but for some reason its missing.Ive wanted to come to your classes but living in pittsburgh can not get there. This blogging every day has been wonderful cant wait till you have the prompts ect I wish you had an on line class for those that can not go to clases.
Thank you so for all of your work on this it has been wonderful,

Helen Sturgeon said...

Ohhh! What fun! I've missed you and your sketches! Busy, busy, busy weeks getting ready for an Arts & Crafts show Dec 10-11... painting bookmarks, cards, etc....
LOVE seeing what you're up to!

Catherine said...

Suspinz - I find it very difficult to follow through on many things. We all need each other to stay motivated.

Kay - yes, a small sketch is fast, and you're right, the memory is still recorded.

Annie - Less intimidating is what a sketchbook journal should be about.

Linda - you are very welcome, and thank YOU for your kind comment.