Finding Inspiration

Finding Inspiration - Renukostyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration – Determine color, style, and elements for your next artistic project

In preparation for the last phase of my winter passion project, a photo shoot was planned at the Camden Opera House in Maine. I’d been there many times for dance recitals and shows and was anxious to see what would result from the shoot. We planned for three hours. Corie and Annie were on board for a 50’s style movie star shoot, the theme was simply ‘Drama,’ the women could interpret it however they wish.

I really don’t know why I wanted to do this shoot. Maybe it was because I had become obsessed with 50’s style portraiture, or maybe just because my friend Kim has a fabulous collection of vintage hats, or maybe I just thought it would be cool. Whatever the reason, a little playacting was the plan and the girls came prepared with a huge wardrobe to work with.

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

I knew the lighting would be a challenge. My studio lighting would be lacking for the space and the opera house would only have house lights and stage lights, neither of which would suit the style I had in mind. To add to that, the entire auditorium is cream, gold, and red; strong and reflective colors. But I was not deterred, as I knew the architecture would be awesome and the space inspiring.

 

Behind the scenes – unedited shots.

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

The shoot went fabulously but it was a while before I could earnestly sit down and work with the images. Well, to be honest, there was major procrastination happening. I couldn’t seem to get started as is often the case when I am really not sure of my direction. I had a rough sketch in mind, but when I finally began, I was struggling. The images felt forced and constrained.

I showed the work I had done so far to my husband (who is also my creative cheerleader). He said the work was stodgy. Stodgy!! Me stodgy!!! He explained that it didn’t have that edge, that surreal quality that he personally loves.

With that, I realized that I was not putting my whole self into the work. I set out to make a better plan. I did extensive research to determine which direction I wanted to take. The colors, the style, the elements needed to change. I created three mood boards and found several different artists that completely inspired me. The mood boards were created in Canva with images collection by taking a cropped screenshot from the images I collected in Pinterest: the Camden Opera House board and the Abstract Art board. (Command/Shift/4 on a mac for a selective screen shot)

To execute my vision, new textures and overlays needed to be created.

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Renukostyle.com

 

 

 

Inspired by the work of Vilde Rolfsen, I layered crumbled pieces of tulle and parchment paper in front of the window and photographed them. I did the same with wax paper. It just snowed so the trees beyond were covered in white which made for a perfect backdrop.

Next, further inspired by the work of Beth Nichols, I tried my hand at poured paint textures. Sure was fun! I simply poured the paint on a board and encouraged it to run in the direction I wanted. With some, I layered another board on top and moved it around before lifting it.

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

I edited the images from the Opera House with a warm black and white edit in order to have a neutral palette to work with.

 

Finding Inspiration - Create art imagery with layers and textures - RenukoStyle.com

 

I want to mention that Antonio Mora,  Paola Roversi, and Katia Chauseva are my new favorite photographers and are included above in my mood boards.

I am excited to show you the results, a composite of all three elements, coming in the next blog post. For a sneak peek, head over to Instagram.

 

 

 

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Creative Process – Bring your idea from concept to reality

Creative Process - Bring Your Idea from Concept to Reality - Renukostyle.com

 

 

You can learn creative process

Much has been written about fear and creativity, how to recognize it, how to confront it, how to overcome it. I have spent the last 2 years reading every book on creativity I can get my hands on in an effort to understand how we humans go about creating art. It has been a fascinating study, one that has shaped the way I approach art-making.

But little has been said about the actual process of bringing concept to reality, creative process. Exactly how to maintain strength, determination, and the sheer will necessary to see it through to the end.

 

Creative Process - Bring Your Idea from Concept to Reality - Renukostyle.com

 

Most of us do get started it seems. Unfinished projects are a testimony to our desire to make and create. Often times, though, our projects never come to completion. Why is that the case? Do we get bored, do we give up, do we lose our way.

All of these things happen I am sure, not to mention the will to survive kicks in often enough and the desire to create takes 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place to providing for our family, caring for our loved ones, or just needing rest from the other two.

 

Creative Process - Bring your idea from concept to reality - Renukostyle.com

 

Somewhere along the line, I decided that being creative was also a matter of survival and I to give it the attention it was begging for. The desire to make meaningful, emotive, art became an integral part of me, of who I am. Life and art became inseparable.

That does not, however, mean that art-making became a comfortable process, nor is it now. But I became comfortable with not feeling comfortable if you catch my drift. Perhaps it is better said by David Bayles and Ted Orland in ‘Art and Fear.’

 

“Art is like beginning a sentence before you know its ending. The risks are obvious: you may never get to the end of the sentence at all – or having gotten there, you may not have said anything. This is probably not a good idea in public speaking, but it’s an excellent idea in making art. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.”

 

There it is, the answer to why we stop … uncertainty. These all-encompassing questions roll around in our heads until we come to a complete stop – “Isn’t this a waste of time? Will I ever manage to finish it? Will I ever get paid for my creativity? Shouldn’t I be making money instead?” I say blow right past all that and make art anyway. You will thank me later. Because art making has its own rewards apart from income and recognition. Creative process is progress, any way you go about it.

 

Creative Process - Bring your idea from concept to reality - Renukostyle.com

 

 

But the question still remains, how does one get from concept to reality? Are there secrets to learning creative process? Are they only available for the super talented? NO! It is a matter of logical planning. We must step out of our creative brains and think methodically. We must employ life skills to the making of art. What do I mean by that?

 

Brainstorm – For most of us this is not a problem. We have literally hundreds of ideas that arrive via inspiration. Pick the one that speaks the loudest and shows up numerous times in different ways. This could be anything from the type of painting you want to paint to a full blow photographic series. Settle in with it. Imagine it as a finished product. Do you love it? Then take it to the next level.

Get Real – What would it take to bring your concept to completion? Do you have the funds, the space, the tools. If you don’t have these yet, is there a way to get them. Just because they are not readily available does not make it impossible. Make a plan, be proactive, get what you need. For example, I know of a young man named Justin Kinney who loves to paint in oils but did not have studio space. He got involved in a local art community center and taught classes. The owners became aware of his need and offered him the use of their space while no classes were being held. He then partnered with a local chef to host pop-up gallery/ dinner shows. Isn’t that awesome? I must also mention here, that time should not be considered an issue. Once passion for your project takes over, you will find the time.

Plan Detailed Action Steps – Make a list of the things you need to do to accomplish your goal. Start with the big picture then break it down into detailed steps. Give that action plan due dates and a daily schedule. Give yourself steps that you can execute in 15 mins and some that take several hours. Allow flexibility. (I love using Trello for this. It allows me to move my due dates or change my daily schedule but still keeps me accountable. Paper planning and journaling are fine but in the end, you must be able to find your list!)

 

Creative Process - Bring your idea from concept to reality - Renukostyle.com

 

Execute – Get to work! With a plan that has things you can work on that take just a few minutes, you can work on your project daily. And you will never come to the work table and think “What was I supposed to do?” Even if you don’t feel energetic or particularly creative you will always have a little something on your list to keep you moving forward.

Allow for Uncertainty – Again I say, be flexible. Inspiration has a way of building upon itself. If you start out wanting to paint like Rembrandt and it’s looking more like Van Gogh, try running with it. Does it make you happy? Are you excited? It’s hard to be either of those things if your vision is too strictly constrained. Sara Tasker recently said, “… you can’t get anywhere by doing what everyone else is doing. Somewhere, at some point in the process, the people who have truly made it have done so by carving their own path, finding their own unique style and taking creative risks that they weren’t sure were going to turn out alright.”

This is where the turning point will be. If you allow for that uncertainty to find it’s own voice, amazing things will happen. Again I quote Bayles and Orland, ‘… you need to give yourself room to respond authentically, both to you and your subject matter and to your materials. Art happens between you and something – a subject, an idea, a technique – and both you and that something needs to be free to move.”

Leave a Thread – You are hard at work, you are close to completion, and before you can finish your heart is already off on another artistic adventure. And that’s as it should be! One passion feeds another and another until you can look back at a full body of work that has cohesion and purpose. That is not to say you should abandon your first project. Work at it to satisfaction, produce something tangible. Then move on. Resist the desire to leave it before you can see the reward for your hard work. Then you can confidently move forward instead of away.

Celebrate – Rejoice! You have worked hard and accomplished much! This is a crucial last step that is often forgotten. Give yourself permission to love what you have done, to smile, to share it with others. Don’t give in to the ‘it’s never good enough’ mentality. Take pride and have joy in your accomplishment!

 

Creative Process - Bring your idea from concept to reality - Renukostyle.com

 

Creative Process - Bring your idea from concept to reality - Renukostyle.com

 

Creative Process - Bring your idea from concept to reality - Renukostyle.com

 

Get Your Free E-Course - The Creativity Connection Retreat

7 Classes delivered by email designed to help you complete your work and get it out into the world. A method you can use each time you begin a creative project. Enjoy the process of creating and sharing! Powered by ConvertKit

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Creative Photography – Recipe for Creative Flow

 

Recipe for creative flow - creativity - creative photography - renukostyle.com

 

 

“If you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit, it will go anywhere.”
~Alice Walker

 

First, comes inspiration – a spark, a muse, a thought beyond reason.

Next,  comes awakening – a moment of beauty or insight that pushes one to action, an awareness of new possibilities, the clarity to see our vision at its completion.

Then, we fall in love – with the idea of actualization, with the dream of bringing that to vision to reality.

 

“Highly motivated creative people fall in love with an image of themselves as a person who will do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams – and this identification becomes, in a way, a self-fulfilling prophecy.” *

 

We often view the creative work of others at a gallery or a museum or on Instagram and remark, “I wish I were that talented!”

In fact, you truly are.

Think about it. Can you remember a time when you were so involved in something that the world around you all but disappeared, the cares of the day evaporated and all that remained was you, your mind and body on automatic, engrossed in your activity? It could have been a sport, cooking, hiking, even decorating. What was different about that moment?

Many who write about creative process call it flow. What happens neurologically is that we become of two minds, both our conscious and nonconscious minds are operating at once. We are aware of our surroundings but are not distracted by it. The nonconscious mind, or how we behave when we actively engage in spontaneous thinking, using intuition, emotion, and skill, is taking charge. If allowed to continue for an extended period of time, this state of being can be euphoric, taking us to places in our imagination we never thought possible.

Can we create an environment for that creative flow to happen? Yes! I have done it many times!! It is a wonderful process for shooting creative photography.

Below I have prepared for you a recipe for creative flow. For this recipe, I used my own creative photography process but it can apply to any creative activity you desire to be engaged in. It’s not difficult really, but there a few key ingredients.

 

Recipe for Creative Flow

  1. Set aside a block of time, preferably 2-4 hours, less is not enough, more is too much, preferably the time of day you are at your best. You must be alone in your space.
  2. Turn off and shut out all distracting buttons, beeps, and notifications.
  3. Collect together your materials. Using your inspiration, bring together what you will need to realize your vision. For the shoot below, I gathered orchids (my inspiration), a collection of similar fabrics (in this case, light weight linens), my prop door and backdrop boards, and camera with both my 500mm and 35mm F1.8 lenses. I also gathered lifts made of wood to put under the cloth and raise the orchids to various heights. I did not use a tripod as it hinders spontaneity and rapid movement.
  4. Add stimulants. Possible stimulants could include green, white or hibiscus tea, a latte, a green smoothie, anything to drink that gives you a boost and is outside your normal routine.
  5. Add music. Plug in the earbuds. Having your music of choice pumping directly into your brain aids in nonconscious thinking. I personally prefer something energizing and driving. I want my mojo revved.
  6. Begin. Don’t think too hard about it, just start and then continue and continue some more. Take shots straight on, looking up, looking down, close up and far away. Move the props a hair, turn them this way or that. Change the backdrop, the lighting, add something, then take something away. Work up a sweat – fling open the windows. Work until you are exhausted.
  7. Reflect. Remember how good it felt to be unplugged and unhinged, to let your imagination fly! Do not focus on results, focus on the joy of the process. If you do, you will desire to experience that free-spirited creative flow again and again.

 

No doubt you will find you’ve created something you love, or at the very least, you had an aha moment or discovered a new technique. Do this every week for 6 months or even 3 months and you will be amazed at what you are able to accomplish. It really is about the process, but after all, in the end, we want something to show for our concentrated efforts and believe me, you will!

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for creative flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for creative flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for creative flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for creative flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for Creative Flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for creative flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for creative flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for Creative Flow - Renuko Style

 

Creative Photography - Recipe for Creative Flow - Renuko Style

 

*Quotes from the book ‘Wired to Create,’ by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire which am still reading and totally love.

 

 

 

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Dream state

her eyes are barely open
she is more asleep than awake
a heady, sweet fragrance beckons her toward the woodland garden

sparkles of light dance between willow branches as the sun gently lifts over the horizon

drinking in the pungent atmosphere
she breaths deeply and allows herself to dream…

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - summer dreams - Renuko Style

 

Dreamy photography - dreaming -summer - Renuko Style

 

Whether it’s peaceful woodland gardens, soft, calming surf, or the heady scent of peonies, summer is a dream. How easy it is to drift off into dreamland when laying on the cool, green grass, birds chirping, light flickering through the trees.

When we experience beauty, especially summer beauty I think, the joy centers of our brain send us a message, all is good, life is worth living, you have survived. We come down off our daily fight or flight adrenaline rush.

How much more so when we create beauty? Whether it be a work of art, a delicious meal, or an enduring friendship we must first envision the beauty we seek. Only when we allow ourselves the freedom of a dream-like state of being and let imagination run free, can we fully comprehend what we ourselves are capable of creating.

 

 

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Crazy chaotic creative mind

Ideas are easy to come by. Really they are. We are inspired by fellow artists every day. Design in nature sparks our imagination. The creative mind is always brimming with possibilities.

How many times have we said, “I want to do that thing!?”

Every evening I go to bed with ideas swirling around in my head…my next photo shoot, photo prompts, still life set ups, Instagram hashtags, blog posts, books to write, garden designs… oh my! There are only so many hours in the day!! It’s great to have an active imagination but how does one corral all the concepts into something of use? How can I possibly reign in that crazy, chaotic, creative mind?

Maybe I should just relax here in my comfy chair and enjoy the fruitage of someone else’s labor on my Instagram feed!

Well, of course we wouldn’t be satisfied with that. And neither am I. Creatives have to create, it’s in the blood. But ideas are only as good as our plan to execute them.

So I decided to come up with a plan on how to make a plan. I know! That’s very type A of me!! Isn’t it?

But it was absolutely necessary. Otherwise I would flit from one idea to the next and never accomplish anything.

So each night I corral my thoughts by reading a few lines of a calming book. Simple as it seems, the effect is amazing. It allows me to rest peacefully and gives my subconscious a chance to go to work. By morning my creative mind is organized enough to choose an idea from the idea cloud hovering over my head, pull it down and work on it.

But the idea needs structure. Without framework, it can easily fall prey to ‘deflated balloon syndrome.’ I’m sure you are familiar with that. The uneasy feeling that comes over you when you are afraid you haven’t what it takes to pull something off. This is where most ideas go pouf…and we go back to familiar activities that take less brain power and emotional strength.

So before I begin to execute an idea, I give it form. I construct the general shape of the project with the answers to a list of questions.

Why do I want to do this?

How will I begin?

What will I use?

Where will I show this?

Who will enjoy it?

Now you have something like the framing of house that is being constructed, the final outcome has not been realized but you can envision the general shape and size. By the time you get to this point, you are married to the project, there’s no turning back now. You are excited to begin, and you know where to begin. Gather up your materials and get started!

 

“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done. Go make that stuff!”

~Austin Kleon

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

Reigning in the creative mind - Renuko Style

 

 

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Abstract thought and creativity

Abstract thought – defining the term is abstract in itself, often contradictory. According to the American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, abstract thought is “Thinking characterized by the ability to use concepts and to make and understand generalizations, such as of the properties or pattern shared by a variety of specific items or events.”

In creativity one must first generate an idea, a concept, whether it be theoretical or philosophical, academic or metaphysical. The idea must take root in ourselves. We need to feed it, care for it, love it, before it can become reality. It must come from deep within ourselves. We must form an emotional connection with it. It’s completion must be visualized.

Rollo May describes it this way. “Artists are generally soft spoken persons who are concerned with their inner visions and images. They love to immerse themselves in chaos in order to put it  into form…This requires an intensity of emotion, a heightened vitality…”

In short it is the ability to take an idea and run with it. We may not understand why we must run with it until it has been accomplished. We put our whole being into executing an abstract thought without any surety of outcome. Madness? Indeed! But think of the alternative. Without this vitality, this intense manner of planning and performing,  all we have left is the mundane. And that certainly will not do.

Creative concepts often begin with observing properties or patterns shared by specific items or events as described at the outset. This particular photo shoot began in such a way. The twisting, turning, gnarled, and tangled mass of fabrics intrigued me and sent me off on a two day photo exploration. I visualized a collection of abstract images meant only as a study in form. On day one I left the mass in tact, draping it, hanging it, further twisting it, arranging it and including it in a still life. On day two I began to unravel it. Amazingly, it was completely satisfying, as if I was somehow unraveling the tangled mass of thought in my mind. Again I say, Madness? Indeed!

 

 

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

 

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Still life photography - Renuko Style - Karen Olson

Abstract thought and creativity - Renuko Style

Additional images from this shoot can be found on Steller Stories @renukostyle

 

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