Walking For Creativity
When I’m walking, I look to the side. I look at the sidewalk because sometimes a squirrel comes by. I actually got a good photo of a squirrel on the ground at the zoo and it became this painting.
Remember to look up into the sky too. I caught a crow flying above this fountain. It perched to take a drink and I was able to get a pic.
Try slowing down. You’re not racing to be somewhere.Walk at a leisurely pace. This is the thing I often have the hardest time with because I'm a naturally fast walker.
It goes without saying that you probably don’t want to be looking at your phone, but try taking it a step further and skipping the headphones too. Yes, I walk with headphones a lot. I like to listen to music or audiobooks when I walk, but these things can sometimes keep me from being in my most creative space. Music without lyrics might be an exception to this. I think it's nice to just be with your own thoughts during this time. I find that when I have someone else's words to hold my interest, though, I don't pay as much attention to my surroundings, just looking out for what I need to keep myself safe.
Even if you don’t see anything you want to take a picture of, walking can still be great for creativity. Many famous creatives swore by long walks. Beethoven, for example, would take two hour walks in nature after he finished working for the day. During these walks, Beethoven always had pen and paper on him so he could write down any ideas that came to him. He also took frequent short walks during his working hours.
Dickens was known to take incredibly long walks through London. These walks were apparently so long that people wondered about Dickens’ mental health.
Me, I like to break up most days with a fifteen to twenty minute walk in my neighborhood in the afternoon. It gets me away from my desk and refreshes me.
Do you like to walk for creativity? Tell me how it helps you in the comments and about any interesting things you saw.
Last week I published a post on painting a panda in acrylics. In this post, I'm going to focus on tips for painting white fur in acrylics.
Be prepared for very little of the fur to actually be white. In fact, the shades I’ve used for my panda go all the way to a dark gray. I’m only using white for my brightest highlights. When I painted the underpainting for this guy, in fact, I painted his entire back a medium to dark gray as my base shade. I used a similar shade of gray on the right side of his face.
Make sure to bring surrounding colors into the fur. For example, white fur almost always has blue in because it’s reflecting the sky. In the case of my panda, though, because I used an entirely green background and there’s no blue in it, bringing blue into the panda’s fur wouldn’t have made much sense. Instead, I mixed a lighter version of the same green I’d used for the background and brought that into the panda’s fur. I also brought some brown light brown in because of the bamboo.
Even though you will be bringing surrounding colors into your white fur, make sure to keep them muted and transparent. If you make them bright or opaque, it won’t look realistic.
Make sure your strokes are going in the right direction. You’re not necessarily going to paint in every strand of fur. That will look artificial, and in fact, I only put in little touches of individual hairs on his back and legs. I did a lot more on his face, though, and I suspect that was because he was probably wet when I took this photo. Getting back to what I was saying, though, make sure your strokes go in the right direction, because this not only will give you a hint of the texture of the fur, but will ultimately form the animal’s body, ie, his bones and muscles.
Make friends with your liner brush. I have a video that I think will help you learn how to use it. You’ll need to learn to be able to use a liner brush properly to make whatever individual fur strokes you’ll need.
I'm going to copy and paste a paragraph from my post on painting this panda in full, which I would like to remind you of, since it's very relevant here.
I want to point out that when I’m painting all these fur lines, I find that, as much as I like to maintain control, when I make quick strokes, often with a little wrist flick, I’m happier with my results than when I go real slow and try to control everything. Maybe that’s because most things in nature are rough and uncontrolled. I hope that makes sense. I followed this principal of not trying to control things too much to paint extra fur texture around his left ear, his eye, and again, where the black on his fur meets the white.
Again, though make sure, though, that your strokes are going in the general right direction and that they're approximately the right size and shape. Also, pay attention to how much of your brush is touching the canvas as this will determine how thick your lines are. If you want extremely thin lines, barely let the tip of your brush touch the canvas.
You can read my post about this entire painting here.
Painter of portraits and wildlife