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10 Great Painting Inspirations In Your Own *Backyard* September 5, 2011

Posted by Bev Bunker in Uncategorized.
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Getting stuck on what to paint next can be very frustrating. We tell ourselves that ‘there’s a world out there to chose from’ and yet we can’t get any inspiration to start something new. Why not start looking at what’s nearest to you in your immediate area – your own ‘backyard’? Keep your mind open and don’t have any set idea of what to do next. Look at pattern, light, color combinations, movement in skies, same places in different times of day and seasons. You’ll find something!  Keep your camera handy.

To start, take a local walk  or ride a bike, whatever works for you. Have your camera with you and begin to shoot pictures at whatever spontaneously appeals to you. Don’t think! Just aim and shoot! Here’s my list of 10 ideas, all which have worked time and time again for me.

  1. Backyards: your own preferably! But ask friends or friends of friends if you think of someone who has done an aweseome job in their own backyard or has landscaped in some unique way.

  2. Back Alleys: a wealth of great images can be gotten from older area alleyways. Look at the light hitting garbage cans, patterning from picket fences, junky cars still behind old garages….just be open. Here’s a link to a gallery from a friend of mine whose work in back alleys is always in demand. Click on ‘Kari Duke’ to see her paintings here: www.theavensgallery.com

  3. Cafes: outdoors anywhere….and indoors!

  4. City Streets: main street, residential streets, industrial streets….keep looking!

  5. Gardens: always a hot spot. Check out friends who love to garden, greenhouses, botanical gardens, even displays in local stores. Here’s a link to another artist friend of mine who looks at vegetation and paints them with a different point of view: www.judyleilaschafers.com

  6. Farmer’s Markets: another hot spot. There’s always so much going on here that it would be hard to NOT find something worthwhile to consider as a painting. People walking, viewing, tasting, playing music, laughing, visiting….there’s lots of color and energy in these places!

  7. Heritage Sites: don’t discount old buildings and historic sites. There’s a lot of interesting architecture here as well as old materials used to build these places. They often have nooks and crannies that make for interesting light/shadow plays on walls and in corners as well as on their situated lots.

  8. Parks & Trails: beautiful scenery here. Take a leisurely walk or bike ride along and in these places. Park yourself on a bench and watch people as well. If you don’t find inspiration here, you’ll at least be relaxed!

  9. Cultural Events & Activities: out here where I live, there are several ethnic villages that have been reconstructed for tourists. Again, walk around and take lots of shots. These places love you taking pictures! They also often have the staff dressed in period or ethnic costume which can provide you with some wonderful portraiture or figure ideas. Another friend of mine loves to paint rodeos and similar, so here’s her website: www.rileyart.com to check out.

  10. Seasonal Activities: if you’re fortunate to have 4 distinct seasons in your location, there’s plenty to inspire you all year ’round. Check out sporting events in all seasons and catch great moments for painting inspiration from skiing, skating, tobaganning, swimming, surf-boarding, fishing, kayaking, boating, air shows, etc.

I hope these ideas give you something to get out of a painting rut. Don’t look for something to inspire you, find inspiration whereever you are. Have fun! If you do any paintings following any of my ideas, email me your images at bev.bunker44@gmail.com and I will put them up on this site. I’d love to see how you were inspired.