Need inspiration for my next work of... well... something.
May 18, 2012 8:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm not an artist by any stretch, but I recently discovered that I kind of like painting with acrylics-- and I've badly needed a hobby for a while now. But I also need inspiration and so I'm looking for images that I can use as examples, but that I can make my own. For example, I really liked this and so my very first (and so far only) painting was this (1,2). I'm liking very geometrical or line-based repeating patterns that are either brightly multi-colored or monochromatic designs, but even though I have rulers and compasses, I also have a very unsteady hand so the design has to be kind of forgiving. Can you help me find images or sites where I might be able to find an idea for my next one?

I've been through the rest of society6 but haven't seen much that fits my skill level, or lack thereof. This is just for a personal hobby, to put up in my house-- I'm not looking to copy (and definitely not to sell), I'm just seeking some inspiration. Like I said, I'm not an artist (though I did live with and financially support one for 7 years), but I find it kind of fun-- I just need some ideas to get me started!
posted by mireille to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Take painters tape, and make diagonal lines going every which way.

Then fill in the shapes it makes. :) Something like this. (But with better or a wider range of colors)
posted by royalsong at 8:32 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kind of like what this person did.
posted by royalsong at 8:32 AM on May 18, 2012

Penrose tiling
posted by flabdablet at 8:37 AM on May 18, 2012

Don't know if you remember the analogue TV signal, but it brings memories to me, a child of the 70s.
posted by Dragonness at 9:24 AM on May 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Even without buying the software, you could look through 32 pages of FilterForge textures in the "patterns" category and see if you find inspiration. :-) The thumbnails link to larger examples. The software is powerful enough that there ought to be some combination there that inspires you.
posted by circular at 9:28 AM on May 18, 2012

Glasgow (Mackintosh) Rose.
posted by oflinkey at 9:40 AM on May 18, 2012

How about quilt blocks? Google Image search turns up a ton, too. Some are going to be less forgiving than others, but it may give you some ideas to get you started.
posted by darksong at 9:49 AM on May 18, 2012

This lady has a blog about all her creative pursuits, including quilting and crocheting. Recently she's been taking a painting class, and she's been painting her quilts. There are several installments now. It might be a good place to start. Obviously you don't have to be a quilter first.
posted by purpletangerine at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2012

I would also suggest getting a art projector for help with very precise, geometric art. Experiment with laying different patterns under it -- you could even go to your local fabric store and get some swatches -- and project them onto a canvas until you find one you like. Trace and paint!
posted by Ostara at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2012

Perhaps looking at artists like Frank Stella, Morris Louis, Odili Donald Odita, Carmen Herrera, Sean Scully would help - you could even try being a copyist and reproducing one of their works. Look for things called Geometric Abstraction and see what you turn up.
posted by PussKillian at 10:22 AM on May 18, 2012

How about Mondrian? You're likely familiar with the color block paintings, but he did a lot of other cool stuff too.
posted by jorlyfish at 1:01 PM on May 18, 2012

great piece!

I'm a newer artist and found inspiration by surfing the hell out of terms I thought fit (i.e. geometric paintings acrylic) "how to" or "techniques" or "gallery" on youtube and googleimages and after a few weeks, I stumbled on an artist that was exactly what I was looking for- which sent me on a major path-- plus I came across a lot of stuff I realized I wasn't into.
I can forward you my painting website if you like...

Also, bigger picture inspiration-wise is The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron who has exercises to help artists "get inspired"
posted by mrmarley at 2:36 PM on May 18, 2012

Response by poster: All of these are great ideas- thanks, everyone! I need to go through your links and also make some of the recommended searches to figure out what looks do-able (and fun, and pretty). I'll report back with a pic of whatever it is I end up doing next. The first one took three weeks because when I first bought supplies I ended up with some transparent shades and had to do many coats-- the next one should be easier because I've now stocked up on opaques! Thanks again.
posted by mireille at 6:53 PM on May 18, 2012

Try a search for hard edge abstraction or hard edge painting.
posted by Cuke at 7:00 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh! That's super-helpful, Cuke-- and that search led me to the phrase "color field". An image search for that + painting or abstraction gives additional results that have a similar aesthetic. Thanks!
posted by mireille at 8:44 PM on May 18, 2012

Here's a cute one from Martha Stewart - you can use the technique any number of ways!
posted by Dragonness at 8:16 AM on May 21, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, I still plan to use some of the ideas you guys gave me here, and I really did get a lot of inspiration from this thread-- I just thought I'd come update with my next "work of something". I actually ended up taking a spare bird decal from when I did my walls and painting over it.

More low-quality pics here and here.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by mireille at 8:13 PM on August 11, 2012

Response by poster: Oh! And now I've made a proper color-block one too (it's been a productive week). Next up: learning how to sew!
posted by mireille at 4:31 PM on August 14, 2012

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