Sunday, May 25, 2008

How do I come up with subjects to paint?

Something Fishy IV
by Cathy Hegman

This is where the creativity begins. In order to find inspiration I just open my eyes. It is everywhere. Just as an example, take the photo of the river in the previous post. I moved back out to the farm 2 years ago when my youngest son left for college. This move stirs many emotions for me. I feel the isolation of the move from the city to the country, the unknown of what is ahead for me with no more children at home, the physical seperation from my children, etc. The list goes on and on. I look for things around me that can symbolize the emotion I am feeling. The river as a body of water is home to fish of all kinds and other creatures yet it moves constantly. That movement is metaphorical to my life always moving, discovering, growing never static. I like to use animals as symbols and metaphors for events in my life and to mimic my human emotions. The subject that comes to mind in this instance is fish. Aha! now we have the subject to paint, the door is wide open for our interpretation of the subject. When I lived in town I had two fish ponds in my back yard with Koi fish in them. I enjoyed them so much so now they represent joy to me, not to mention I loved drawing and painting them. Their colors were intense and seemed to have been painted on by an artist. I will use the Koi fish as my subject. I like to paint in a series. I usually try to vary some aspect of the painting to make it common to the others in the series yet stand on its own as a painting alone as well. I have a demo on my website ( of the technique I used on these paintings. The painting at the top is the latest in the series "Something Fishy IV",it is acrylic on canvas. I used warm colors to paint the cold blooded fish this is another way to use contrast in your paintings. I find contrast adds a great deal to the meaning behind your paintings. I use my work to communicate emotions and feelings. I very seldom paint totally in representationally or photographically. I admire the technique of the photo realists, but my goal is not to reproduce something I see but to interpret what I feel about the subject.Now to recap the lesson here on finding subject matter or inspiration.
1. look around you.
2. Relate your life to what you see around you at this point in time.
3. Study the emotions that come from this linkage of your surroundings to your emotions.
4. Paint the subject in the way you feel and don't get caught up in the subject itself, but dwell more on the emotion you feel. This will allow you to paint with your heart and hand.Thank you for reading and take care!
All artwork and photography on this blog is solely created and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and may not be reproduced or used without Cathy Hegman's written permission.


LaLa said...

very informative-----guess I would only paint poodles {{giggle}}

sweetcaroline said...

Love your blog!!! Guess we all know which sister got all the talent in the family :)