For the first two weeks we explored our image we chose as our symbol. Mine, as you may recall, was the butterfly wings and the metamorphosis cycle. It was mostly using one’s intellect in researching meaning, ontology and considering how it could speak to us. We also were given questions to consider about what we think our obstacle is and what our desire is in relation to our life and art. This was a very useful exercise; and I am sure most of you would guess that I really enjoyed it as I love considering life using questions. It was (and still is) definitely a vehicle of growth for me and I am sure there will be an outworking in my art and life.
Process of finding inspiration.
Without giving away too much of the course I would like to go into my own process of finding inspiration after intellectualizing. As an artist I am already familiar and comfortable with many exercises for inspiration. It is important to sketch and take note of any sparks of inspiration that come to one whether in the night as a dream or random thoughts during the day. All sorts of methods can be used but it really is whatever works for you. In this course I have either learnt or have been reminded of a number of practices which has reignited my enthusiasm for art making.
One suggestion is something we did when I was studying art. That is repetition. I remembered it well from school and how boring I found it to be. Maybe it was actually the subject matter as we were given a car engine to draw. I had no interest the first time round, the second time we had to paint it in black, white and red; and the third time round we were to make a collage. As a youngster with no interest in car engines I found it very tedious.
Back to repetition:
(I would like to credit one of the lecturers, Cyril Coetzee, a South African portrait artist with this fresh idea of playing around with inspiration through repetition.)
This is roughly how it goes: (and can be used for visual art or writing or music etc.) Take one of your own sparks of inspiration which you sketched or wrote about and create more images from a different angles or perspectives or use different materials etc. It is so similar to what we did at school, the one difference being that it is one’s own inspiration one is using. How much more exciting is that! Well I am enjoying it very much – I am still in this process. You can find my images on my Instagram account at morag_armstrong_noffke and you are most welcome to follow along there, not because I want followers but, because I use that account mostly as my gallery for my art making.
This week I began working into one of my sketches that depicted the idea of “being one of many and how I can only touch those who I am in contact with.” In the first image I colour of the butterfly wings red which overlap over the underneath image while leaving the myriad of people devoid of colour to display my circle of influence. The next set of images is “Collage paper people collective.” Still working with the concept of myriads of people and a butterfly I used paper collage. As I worked into the new image in paper collage and creating a three-dimensional image it began to “speak” to me: “Sometimes we feel lost in the crowd and sometimes we feel safe as part of the herd. We overlap, melt, standout, feel normal or not, feel up or down, worthy or unworthy. It’s all part of the process of life. As unique individuals we can invite supportive people around us. They encourage, cheer, share, collaborate, give space to shine, allow for mistakes, support, bless and pray; the list goes on. We can be there for each other. Even if there’s a crowd that we all belong to called “the human race” we find those who want to be there in our corners and those who we can support in their corner.”
I then created a new 3D butterfly made up of colourful paper figurines which symbolizes connection and impact. Playing with paper was very freeing and reminded me of the paper dolls I played with as a child. Following my Butterfly Metamorphosis theme “Pupa” is Latin for doll which links back to my theme in my art.
Have you thought about the ways you find or gather inspiration?
I hope to see you on Instagram morag_armstrong_noffke