Saturday, March 21, 2015


"Mountain Reflections", 20 x 20  Lori LaBerge  2015

"Mountain Reflections" was completed this week.  It was done totally left-handed and though I can now pick up a hook with my right hand, I can't quite bend the hand enough for the proper movement yet.  Soon!

A question artists are asked quite often is how they get their ideas.  There are times even I don't know where an idea suddenly comes from, but most of them come from continuing to enjoy the world around me.  

Everyone works differently.  Here are eight things that work for me.

1.  I tend to work whether I have good idea or not.  There are tons of scribbles and x'd out design plans in my sketchbook.  I find the way to reach an idea is to start with something, anything, and go from there to improve upon it.  There is no need to try to create the final work right off the bat.

2.  A large variety of ideas seem to come at night when it is quiet and I'm not interrupted by phones, e-mails, the nagging laundry needing to be done or other things.  I keep note cards on my nightstand.  I sift through these ideas at various times.  Some work out, others don't.

A Penland class totally open to a variety of ideas.

3.  I create better when I am alone.  While I enjoy classes and learn from them, I often find myself holding back on ideas I would normally go crazy with in the studio. I take what I learn in classes and bring the knowledge and work created there back to the studio to recreate from it.  An environment totally open to odd ideas works best for me, but is not always easy to find.

4.  Some artists I know adhere to strict working hours.  I find I tend to work between noon and 8 p.m., but I'm not a rule stickler about it.  I am definitely not a morning person and find I rarely have good ideas in the morning.  Knowing what hours you function best at can lead to better work production.

Costumes from Downton Abbey on display at Biltmore in North Carolina through May 25, 2015.

5.  I find myself exploring settings and color in movies along with the clothing the characters wear.  I look at the use of texture, horizontals and verticals and the way atmosphere and time period is achieved.  I do the same with books which veer toward heavy description.

"Without, a midwinter twilight, where wandering snowflakes eddied in 
     the bitter wind  between a leaden sky and frost-bound earth.
       Within, a garret; gloom, bare, and cold as the bleak night coming down."

The above quote from Louisa May Alcott's "A Modern Mephistopheles" compares the outdoors and indoors.  It gives a sense of color with the sky and earth.  How could we portray some of these descriptions through our artwork?

 One of my  favorite spots, the sitting area of the bedroom.

6.  A seemingly endless supply of magazines are found around our home.  Interior design, fashion and art.  I love spending a couple of hours jotting down ideas I've seen.  There are color combinations, various use of materials, and special effects achieved by the placement of objects in ads and features.  Don't have magazines, check out the local library.

7.  I often take off to the studio at odd hours to draw out a design idea.  If you have an idea in your head, work on it rather than waiting till later.  It is easy to forget.  I often need to redesign later, but the general idea is there.

"Timeless Travels"  SOLD,  Lori LaBerge,  2013

8.  Mixing ideas from different sources can lead to interesting ideas.  "Timeless Travels" developed from thoughts of traveling on the road and a night spent stargazing with my son.  You never know what your mind may be able to connect.

There are many ways in which artists work.  Accept the ways that work for you and have a great day.

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