Tip #134 – Using Your Imagination

It’s wonderful to celebrate what we see, and to try to capture it – or the mood, or our response to it. But it’s also a delight to let your imagination out to play, like a kid!

You can do this in all sorts of ways, of course … you can “push” the colors you actually see, making the shadows more blue or lavender, seeing more of the warmth in fallen leaves than you may actually be able to observe on a cloudy winter day like the ones we’ve had lately.

You can paint the world in completely different colors … who says grass has to be green? Why can’t your house be purple and the trees orange? Explore different color schemes,like analogous (next to each other on the color wheel) or complementary (across from each other.)

Why not paint everything in a monochromatic scheme, with different shades and tints of red? It’s a great exercise, besides.

You can draw an image “out of the whole cloth,” as they used to say. Nothing to look at,just taking off from a magical place in your own head. Maybe you imagine creatures never before seen on this earth – look at some of the wonderful images James Gurney comes up with! Maybe you see dragons, or imagine a castle on a rise in Scotland. Maybe a dance among the stars is more your style. What’s to stop you?

Use yourself as a jumping-off place and draw what you’d LIKE to see, as we covered in Tip #23, the “Why of Self Portraits,” or draw yourself as a knight, a Ninja, or a princess,as we discussed in Tip #49, “Fantasy and Myth.” See inside a friend’s face or demeanor to an elf playing a wooden whistle as I did with my friend Kevin!

Check out a favorite photo of your pet or child, then take off from there — I once turned a beagle into a figure made of sticks and moss for one of my books!

Or take a look at some of the odd burls or roots you may find in the woods. Isn’t that a fantastic creature looking back at you? Draw it and see! You may push it a bit, emphasize a “nose” or eyes or other shape, but you’ll find you don’t need to make it up entirely, if you’re looking for it with fresh eyes – AND your imagination. The world is quite full of magic.

We may be grown up, but imagination lets us explore, discover and play … we’re never too old for that.

Check out the downloads of books and classes on my website, or give yourself or a loved one a mini-class, available whenever YOU want it — no waiting on my schedule!

I’d love to have you visit my newly re-born artist’s blog, my Etsy store where I’ll be offering original art, prints, and more, or drop by for a visit on Facebook! Check out my YouTube videos for lots more art tutorials.

One Comment

  • Christopher

    Warm Summer Greetings Cathy,
    I have been enjoying pouring over your wonderful You-Tube chanel, Once again. this may be the fifth or six time… why count? Its always funny how much we learn from watching these videos over and over. Our minds see so many new things we missed the first or second time we watched. i think this is especially true for the content in your videos. Perhaps its just your style that is so fresh and in a better word.. Alive……
    Lately, i have just been agonizing and over thinking my watercolor paint colors, as i put my palette together. Re-watching your videos has allowed me to just stop and trust that the colors i have are perfect. And, while reading over your blog and you mentioning that a tree doesnt have to be green… and so on…..Thank you for freeing my over active mind, that sometimes blocks my creative process.

    Also, your wonderful blog (Using your Imagination)……..this is something that i observe in nature all the time….. i will see a cloud, or a tree trunk, and nature has already carved faces and other wonderful shapes. so, Thank you for inspiring me to see more openly to tell my own story through my art.

    Thank you so very much once again for sharing all that you do through your magnificent videos…