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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Muse Takes a Holiday

4 a.m.  (digital painting via ArtRage) by Michael Chesley Johnson

It's the holiday season, but does your muse really need a holiday?  I like my muse working 24x7, but once in awhile, she does take a break, whether I give her permission or not.  That's not happening to me at the moment (thankfully!), but I thought I'd share with you a technique for getting her back to work again.

The main reason the muse packs her bags is because the ho-ho-ho has become a little ho-ho-hum.  By adding excitement to her day, she'll stick around.  I do this by trying something new and fun.  It should also be something easy.  If you have to work at trying something new, it's not fun.

Trying something new and fun that's also easy might be:

  • Pulling out some of those tubes of colors you've never used and giving them a spin;
  • Toning your surface a gaudy color if you usually tone with neutrals; 
  • Painting a landscape in a 1:3 ratio if you typically settle for the same-old 9x12;
  • Leaving your brushes behind and using just one small painting knife.

I'm sure you can think of lots of other new and fun but easy things to do.  Right now, for example, I've pulled out my tablet that has the ArtRage app installed on it.  Because I like to get my fingers messy with paint and pastel, I tend to forget it's there, but now I'm using it to paint nocturnes from memory.  It's too cold (and dark) to paint outdoors at night right now, so I go out for a few minutes, observe the scene carefully, and then return to my tablet to paint it.  I've also tried a few of these in oil in the studio.  My muse seems to be sticking around for these experiments.

If you have a favorite way of getting the muse back to work, I'd love to hear from you.

You won't hear from me again until after Christmas, so Merry Christmas!  If you're still looking for a gift for yourself or another painter, please don't forget my $50-Bring-a-Friend deal, as described in a recent blog post.  The deal is still good through Saturday.

Also, my "Michael Chesley Johnson Plein Air Set" - a 50-piece set of stunning but very useful colors for the landscape from Pastels Girault - is available now with $10 discount plus free shipping! Order from the US distributor, Pastel Etc.: Michele Aplin, or 310-640-8388.