Hello, dear Friend. What is your place of power? Mine definitely is forest—or something that has much water with a forest around it.
In a forest, I feel free and curious. My mind is resting; there is no need to rush anything. Also, I like the abundance of colors, especially the variations of greens.
Being in a forest allows seeing things at a real scale. What was important an hour ago, becomes insignificant; all the illusions fade and disappear.
Thoughts disappear, too. Then, the new, wiser and more conscious thoughts come, giving the answers to questions I didn’t know I had.
I’d say, defining your theme is especially important if you’re an artist. Many people do what is popular or mainstream, but they usually get just a repetition of what everybody else is doing.
This kind of art doesn’t feel sincere because the artist hasn’t lived through this experience. It is not personal.
Often, our theme, or style, or mission is one step away. We just have to see the world around us and develop self-awareness. Sometimes, it requires more than one step to find our path, but the journey may bring many wonderful discoveries.
For example, several years ago I didn’t like forests and didn’t see the charm of nature. I was totally inside my mind, immersed into various worries and troubles, and this limited and tortured me (however, I didn’t notice that—it’s hard to notice such things if you don’t know that life can be different).
The journey was long and it still continues. But I always had this inner strive for becoming a better, more loving and open person. Sometimes this strive was passionate and sincere, sometimes I didn’t want to see the truth—that I preferred the stability and comfort, not real evolution.
I was taking small steps, one change at a time. I explored nature, broadening the limits from year to year and letting myself become curious.
It’s important to be kind to yourself. Some changes require time to take place; some insights come only after a huge amount of inner work that you’ve done.
Just keep your eyes open. Be attentive to everything happening around you.
For example, one day I noticed that I really like natural textures. I can spend an hour watching whimsical patterns of moss and lichen…
…or tree mushrooms.
All those subjects, patterns, and textures are imported into my art. I invent not too many things—the real world already has everything I need.
Even the color palettes—often, I see a beautiful flower or splendid scenery, and a vision of future artwork appears inside my mind. It has colors that are very close to the image I’ve just seen and remembered.
In the collage below, you can see an example of such inspiration. I’ve drawn this piece, based on the real-life experience. Yes, I’ve changed some shapes, details, and colors, but the foundation is from that source.
Also, nature provides me with abundant material to study and hone my artistic skills.
Sometimes people ask me about courses that are dedicated particularly to botanical sketching or drawing natural creatures. To be honest, I don’t think that any course is absolutely required; however, you can find some great books to get in-depth theoretical knowledge and inspiration. But, theory or inspiration won’t get you far enough without practice and your own experiments.
In other words, just go outside and immerse yourself into adventure! 🙂
Observe the shapes, textures, and patterns. Imagine the inner structure of the objects you see. Notice interesting details.
Become inspired and transform that into action! Do quick sketches and make photographs to look at later.
I’ve created the drawing for the step-by-step lesson on sketching with white ink, black and grey liners on toned paper. This tutorial is published on The Virtual Instructor.
It’s just a nice example of what can be done with a single object that has drawn your attention.
One day I saw a bee on a cherry blossom. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make a photo of this wonderful scene immediately, and the bee flew away. But I remembered it. Later, I decided to sketch a cherry blossom twig and that picture reappeared in my mind.
Sometimes I feel like beautiful creatures are everywhere. A walk may become an adventure with unexpected discoveries… The more I observe silently, the more curiosities come my way.
For example, recently I ran into this butterfly. It amazed me with its size! By the way, this creature is quite rare – I was really lucky to find it.
With time, I came to the conclusion that every plant, animal, insect or anything that can continue this list has beauty and inner light.
Everything is confined to sincere interest and love. What do you admire?
If you’re interested in a theme, you can spend hours watching, studying and practicing. Your favorite theme can help you to become a better person! Also, you’ll come up with something unique—it can be ideas, approach, the combination of techniques or artistic media. In other words, it will be you. 🙂