Friday, February 19, 2010

Feeling uninspired

A Work in Progress
Copyright Laura Hardie 2010

Why is it when I’m busy on a commission, I want to draw this or paint that but when I have the time to work on my own drawings I am no longer inspired and nothing interests me enough to pick up my pencils? Just like when I have no money to spend I see lots of clothes or art materials with my name on them but when I have money I can’t see anything. Take last week for example, I really wanted to draw a horse but could I find ‘the’ reference photo to work from – no. I spent way too long looking though and still didn’t find it.

I think part of my problem is that I ideally want to start working from photos that I have taken, especially now that exhibitions, shows and competitions are virtually insisting on this, but I’m a novice when it comes to photography and I don’t really have a lot to choose from what I do have.

One of my goals for this year is to ‘learn more about my camera and improve my photography skills’ and this is exactly what I’m going to do, starting from now. To help me I have just signed up for a free DSLR Skills Course – if you're like me and are interested you can find details here – and hopefully by the end of the 6 months I’ll be happily snapping away with my camera and producing photos I’m happy with. If so I should have more than enough reference material to keep me busy, happy and motivated.

I did start a pencil drawing of a Weimaraner, as you can see above, but I’m struggling a bit with enthusiasm to get it finished. Could be a lot to do with the way I am feeling generally about my own work just now, but he wont be binned (I’ve invested too many hours on him to do that and I do like him). He’ll simply be put to one side to finish another time. I like having a pencil drawing on the go that I can do small bits here and there when the mood takes me.


Crystal Cook said...

You're Weim is lovely. And you totally hit upon how I've been feeling lately. I feel like I have a lot of starts and no finishes. Finding it hard to see them through. Oh well, must press on I guess.

Brenda said...

I have always taken pictures for as long as I can remember. It is this digital age that I struggle with. The plus is that you can take hundreds of pics on a single card and never have to wait for them to be developed. The minus is learning how to make the camera see the subject and the details the way one would like.

Are the pics really that bad or are you to critical of your photography? Try not to fall prey to that demon, because it can happen to the best photographers. I read that the best photographers will take 50 pics of one subject (= 1,000 for me!) to come out with a few 'keepers'. Another plus for the digital age!

I have been following your blog for some time now. You should be doing some of your own work and competing! I swear I could find you my worst pic and you would make it look golden!! You have enormous talent. Your photography will come along, just keep snapping away and do not be afraid to see the gem in the details. That is what cropping is for after all!!!

Teresa said...

I've noticed quite a few other bloggers (myself included) have felt those "uninspired" feelings recently. Perhaps we're all longing for fresh air and spring-like weather?

"Weim" is a beautiful piece! I hope you do finish it!

Sarah said...

I do hope you feel re-inspired soon, I love seeing your work come to life on your blog. Just looking at your portrait of the weimeraner, may I ask, do you work in layers with pencil?

"JeanneG" said...

I have a few pictures of horse heads that I took at a riding stable. You can use them if you want some practice. They are free for you to use any way you want. I understand that you have to use your own since the rule states it for entries. Our local art association is the same way. Just let me know if you want to use some. My facebook has my email address. You can reach my Facebook from my blog.

Laura said...

Hi Crystal, it seems quite a few artists have been feeling a bit like this lately so we're not alone - glad you like my Weim:D

Hi Brenda, you're probably right - I am my own worst critique and never seem to be happy with anything short of perfect (of course, I never achieve that:)) In my defence, I do think there is something wrong with my camera as I've never been happy with the photographs I get, especially the exposure. I can take a set of photos in one sitting at the same time of day, using the same settings and some come out underexposed and too dark while others are overexposed?!?!?! I've had a new lens (camera shop where I bought it thought it might be this) and even a new camera body and still the same problem so I thought it was about time I knew more about my camera and its settings. Photography is something I've always been interested in but that I've never spent enough time doing and 2010 is the year I'm going to do something about it:D

Just had a look at your blog and I love your pencil work:)

Thank you Teresa - I will finish my Weim but just don't know when:D And I think you're right, we all need spring to hurry up and come - I know I do:)

Hi Sarah and thank you:D In answer to your question, yes I do work in layers with pencil - I think it gives the drawing more depth:)

Thank you so much Jeanne for your kind offer. I'm looking for something more than just a head study to do though - something with movement, something that shows the power, strength and grace of the horse. I know what I want but can I find it:D

Brenda said...

My digital camera is pretty cheap. Of course it has a million different settings and you have to download the book off line for instructions (the dreaded manual!). I have owned it for a year and a half and finally found out how to take indoor pictures of some quality. Unfortunately, I did the trial and error route. Maybe a slr camera would be better, since I took a class with a manual 35mm in the days of film!

Anyways, I feel sorry for my cat. My little test subject! Thankfully, she can sit like a rock for 15 minutes at a time. I wonder what she really thinks?

I do agree, in regards to art competitions and shows, a realism artist has to be a knowledgeable photographer too. Look forward to hearing about your progress!

Bridie said...

really enjoyed your blog.. some really great work there... fantastic.

Art with Liz said...

What a beautiful portrait! A magnificent animal and so sensitively rendered.

Can't you use photographs that you have permission to use? I know that it's not that liked by the boffs, but when permission is given surely that's ok?

Stephanie Greaves said...

I love the portrait so far Laura its excellent. I have felt the same this month, and put off a large commission a week or two as I just wasn't in the right frame of mind. I find doing something small or lots of sketching helps get me back into it.
I only just got a digi SLR, second hand, and now I am so attached to it that it takes up too much of my drawing time! I love it! We have lots of foals arriving at the moment so photography is still keeping away from the commission!!! I know practically nothing but Im kinda learning as I go. Trial and error. :-D

Laura said...

Hi Brenda, I have a Canon EOS 30D and I know it's capable of doing many things and hopefully with the help of this course (and lots of reading material) I'll find out what and how:D No doubt I will blog my progress and photos along the way:)

Hi Bridie, welcome to my blog:D

Thank you Liz:) I know the UKCPS don't allow you to use photos taken by others, even with their permission, and it seems a few others are following suit. I decided it's probably best to play safe and use my own:)

Hi Steph and thank you:D Not you too - must be something in the air or time of year but we're not alone. I haven't sketched for years and can't remember the last time I sat down with my sketchpad - i really should dust it off and make some use of it again:D

You are sooooooooo lucky living where you are with all those horses and foals practically on your doorstep - i'd probably neglect my pencils if it were me:D

Karen said...

Hi Laura

Your pictures are wonderful! I'm into photography as well as drawing and my best advice to you is to move to manual settings if you aren't already doing that, aperture priority is a good place to start. Online at Digital Photography School there are some really good articles on understanding aperture, shutter speed etc. Be prepared to take dozens of wildlife / canine shots to get one keeper. I believe even professionals reckon on only keeping 10% of their wildlife shots. Also, be prepared to do some editing. Personally I use Gimp (it's free!) but with Photoshop you should be able to do anything you want to. Shooting in RAW basically gives you a negative to work with, more processing needed on your part but also you will have more control. I don't myself, finding that the processing done in camera by a modern DSLR to be very good. Good luck, I know it's frustrating not to be able to use others photos any more, however I have made this an excuse to go on trips to zoos etc!
I look forward to following your blog, your pictures are inspiring to an amateur like myself.

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura, I am another doing the DSLR skills course to help with my art.