Inspired by…practice, patience,perserverance

mark making, inspiration

Playing with marks. My go-to guide in times of need.

Since returning from Flora Bowleys Bloom True workshop I have been thinking a lot about mark making. I am still amazed at how liberating it was to just paint with no predetermined plan. Lots of random marks, lots of color and lots of freedom. As with any workshop, it is always so exciting to come home and put your new skills to work.

The problem I am faced with now is what to do with all this new-found knowledge. I really enjoyed the process of creating in her class and it is something I would definitely like to continue in my own work. The question is….how do I make it my own?

mark making

I see a bird and a flower and a cloud and ........

A work in progress….looking for imagery..interesting marks and texture.

As thrilled as I would be to create my own “Flora” . It’s just not going to happen.  I love , no LOVE her work, but even though I watched carefully and listened I still cannot adopt her style. Its just not the way I work…even though I would love it if it were!

I have sat down to paint a number of times since and I have to be honest.. I am feeling a bit lost. To begin with every substrate feels much to small. I only want to paint big. I want to use colors that I haven’t used before, but I am not entirely sure how to mix them.I  also want to paint freely but having trouble coming up with imagery.

Well that’s not entirely true. I have tons of images I have doodled throughout my journal, but I guess I am just a little tired of seeing them. Need some new images.

Shouldn’t have any problem finding them in our household….


hours of entertainment...

Definitely feeling a wee bit frustrated .I think I need to just step back and breathe.

Note to self…


It will all come together in time.

I would love to hear where you find your images? Magazines, websites, photography…pinterest?


18 thoughts on “Inspired by…practice, patience,perserverance

  1. I have a stack of mags like that and I find inspiration in them, though I tend to use google a bit… anything that grabs my attention gets googled in a minute and I save images that capture my interest. I have folders of them saved on my hard drive and they always bring some sort of inspiration… failing that I love love love seeing what other people are up to on their blogs and what they have been trying … good luck and hope the inspiration fairy comes to visit soon xx

  2. I love that page from your journal. That’s a great idea for future inspiration. And your painting in progress already looks amazing. Those colours and all the beautiful textures. Makes me feel happy just looking at it. Wow!

  3. Inspiration is, I think, something that creeps up on me, wakes me up, turns me round, oftentimes landing me on my bum…

    I use images and words and I often throw a batch of things together and lay them on the glass of my printer, copying them as well scanning them in. Then I play. I play a LOT with Picasa and Picnik and it’s great fun to take things and mess about with them using digital imaging tools. Often I have no clue WHAT I am doing but I find something interesting and just roll with it.

    As well, I have magazines galore and I even save the innards of coupons and store stuff because I find remarkable images in unusual places. I often then take these and do the same process I described above.

    Developing a practise with images is NOT something we can learn from others or adopt, but we CAN take what they DO and make it personal. I was comparing myself [and always coming up short] with others and spinning round and round the revolving doorway. When I finally stepped out I discovered that I had a process and way of my own that others were admiring and inquiring about. Talk about strange, that is one that regularly astonishes me.

    I think sometimes the gift is in the process, same as it’s NOT about the destinations so much as the journeys in Life. I enJOYed your patterns and they reminded me of what my teacher shared which were her doodles on the black styrofoam from veggies and such. She makes her own stamps that way and she brought gobs of them in for us to use.

    Keep at this and see where you go. Don’t mark the distance or fiddle with results and outcomes. Just play, like you did as a child, for the experience of playing. I think you will BE delighted in time and especially when you cease comparing or strictly defining.

    Lovely work here, just lovely.

    • Suah great advice Currie. I sometimes find I am too rushed and not taking the time to play and explore. Its funny the sense of urgency I often feel about creating. I dont understand it, but I can feel it lurking there. Unfortunately that may also be due to the time limit I place on it. My best work is always when there is no time constraint. I love your idea of playing around with images on the printer and your use of picnik…I havent explored it yet, but will take a look at it today. Thank you!

  4. Julie,
    You already have a style, it is simply evolving, but it lies within you and not outside of you. I know that can be difficult because you can’t see it, it’s not in some book or magazine that you can pick up and look at and just see what you are suppose to do. I think you may simply be at a place where you have to trust yourself, trust all that you have learned and just start doing. If you figure everything out ahead of time there is no room for discovery, no expansions into something more; art like life is about a series of choices. Perhaps you can start simply by choosing a color pallet you want to work with; choose a few colors and then look at them – do you have lights, darks and mid tones? Do you have color choices that complement or contrast?
    When you have chosen your colors then choose what substratum you want to work: an art journal, a sheet of watercolor paper, canvas, etc., and then size and you are ready to start painting. If you are still feeling uncomfortable about just jumping in pick a type of composition you want to do and start making marks within your chosen structure. The challenge is to not get I. Your own way and let what is within you come out; like breathing – you don’t think about it you simply do it and when we do think about it that’s when we mess what is naturally there. Try to observe and trust your instincts and respond to what you see . . . perhaps an area needs to be lighter, maybe you have too much mid tones, some area needs to be softer or more detail, what do you want to being forward or push to the back? Art like life is simply a series of choices. If you don’t like something in your life you can change it simply by changing your choices and the same is true within art. Breath and take your next step forward, you know all you need to know, trust this, trust yourself.

    • Thank you so much Sonya! I agree with you whole heartedly…its all about trusting yourself….and sticking with it until it gets to a place you enjoy. It is for all of these reasons that I love the challenge of art. I may have to print your respose out and tack it on the wall by my space for a little daily reminder! Julie

  5. Julie, i love both the painting & the black & white journal page.
    From what i see here, you have a style of your own & it’s beautiful. I love Flora’s style too, but the reason i love it so much is because it’s hers. I say the same about yours. We all develop one way or another & we’re all influenced by our surroundings, no doubt, but you’re definitely on the right path for yourself. i love what you do, right here, right now. Keep posting!

  6. I find mine generally in the world around me (often as I’m riding in a car in the country, I find myself imagining how I would paint ‘that’ scene) and specifically in the huge collection of photographs I have taken over the years (people and scenery). And now I’m finding more inspiration in the wonderful blogs I’ve found, such as yours.

  7. almost all my images come from magazines, some cards. when i have a huge stack of mags like that, i set them next to my place at the kitchen table or by the tv & try to get through 10/day. reasonable. good luck!

  8. Hi Jules…the images etc look great and enjoyable to look at….but now what ?. Maybe you could them on Picasa and then make a collage out of different collections. When you get a collage that you love, try painting it on whatever.


  9. Hello Julie. I think your friends have given you lots of important advice. I am a novice and I’m learning how to draw and paint, I don’t know much, but one thing I am sure about is that we all have to forget our inhibitions and learn how to PLAY with our art. We must enjoy what we do, or at least relax and let it flow. From what I’ve seen you have a sense of style all of your own – build confidence in it and above all, enjoy it!


    • Thanks for commenting Carol! I had a bit of a laugh when you mentioned my friends because I have never met any of my commentors! (except my dad) They are all my online friends that I have met through online art communities. I love this blogging world!

  10. Hi Julie, just breath, pop that beautiful smile on your face and just go for it. Your style is already there it’s now just a matter of relaxing, allowing yourself to be guided from within and seeing where it takes you. Remember one of Flora’s motto’s “don’t be scared, there are no mistakes”. Take this thought in your mind and allow your heart to guide you and just see what happens, have fun!
    When I first started painting, which began with one of Flora’s workshops I was so worried about replicating her work and wanting to have my own style and imagery that I did at times find myself quite stiff, thinking too much, and trying too hard. When this happened the joy went out the door as did any progression with my paintings, this was indeed when I became stuck. So by allowing myself to relax, clear my mind, and just have fun without expectation or an outcome in my head, then I actually started to move forward with freedom and to my surprise my own style started to emerge. I was so worried this would take me years to find my way, but it is happening really quickly and it’s still developing. I constantly photograph my canvases as they progress too. It’s my documented journey and I often look back on it and see the little progressions and this allows me to sometimes have a little think about what I try next. For me I was really keen to merge my illustrative work into my painting, but at first I was so scared to add a layer of detail to my paintings in case I ruined them. It was hard to let go and just go for it, but I am so glad I did and I just love the experimentation and fun I now have with merging my two mediums (o: You are so talented just take a look back at your work Jules, it’s there, your style is definitely there X
    Inspiration for me comes from everywhere everyday. But, some main sources are nature, photos of travels and journeys, I look for the micro detail in everything, and I’m always sketching little patterns I see in my sketchbook or sketching forms of flowers or pods or gosh even pavement and rocks. Love it all, inspiration is endless. Enjoy lovely, your work is just beautiful xxx

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