I take a lot of photos of my work as I am creating it as I love to see how the paintings transform as the layers and marks go down. Sometimes the changes are unexpected and it feels like a very organic process. I mainly post them to instagram ( I am gillianleesmithartist if you wish to follow me there) as it is quick and easy. Last week I posted a photograph of some in progress work with the comment “working in oils using my own work as inspiration. Is that vain?” thinking it quite funny that I would be inspired by my own work. But… the more I thought about this (and the more my own comment began to bother me) it led me to a complete revelation. (But more surprisingly – the revelation was something I already knew to be true without realising it.)
I am completely inspired by my own work!
And rather than self consciously feeling embarrassed about saying that (where the heck does that feeling come from?) it is a wonderful place to be! Inspiration comes from so many places – other artists, your surroundings, your experiences, your thoughts and dreams (so, so many places) but if you can look at your own work and see the beauty in it, the marks that your eyes enjoy gazing at, the particular expression on a face, the colours you used or the way one colour or mark has a relationship to another (as well as the things that don’t work – very important too) then surely that is an opportunity for huge growth in finding your own style and developing work that is completely unique to you. That is something I strive for every time I approach the easel. To discover and create using my own distinct voice.
All of this is exciting food for thought in developing my upcoming E-course and I will be going into these notions and ideas in more detail in my teaching. I am a very deep thinker and perhaps I lean towards over thinking things – but actually I am really enjoying discovering and writing about all of these opportunities for learning and I am looking forward to passing this on. Each revelation about my own work brings about more inspiration for my teaching and it is very exciting!