Me, Myself & Art
If you enjoy my art this is the place to learn about my process and where I find my inspiration. I look forward to sharing my art journey with you!
Coming up with concepts and themes for art is one of the most satisfying aspects of the art process. The ideas behind the art are the foundation of the piece. Without a strong foundation the entire piece might fall apart.
One of the easiest ways to develop a concept for an abstract painting is to begin with a simple word, phrase, or idea. Keeping a list, journal, or sketchbook full of prompts is a great way to remember themes you are interested in exploring. Having these ideas set aside will not only make the conceptualization process easier, it comes in very handy when you experience artist's block.
(To learn more tricks to banish artist's block check out my post, "A Sketch A Day Keeps Artist's Block Away" , for brainstorming tips check out, "42 Abstract Art Concepts to Paint")
Below are a list of words that will prompt your creativity!
Begin With A Definition
Below are 30 words and their definitions to get you started on your next abstract art concept. To see the art I've created that was inspired by these ideas just click on the word! (The light grey titles indicate a link) I haven't explored every concept yet, but as I do I will link the final piece to the word in this list.
Challenge yourself and have fun!
(All definitions were found in Webster's Dictionary)
To cheer in grief or under calamity. To comfort. To relieve in affliction. To console. An easing of grief, loneliness, discomfort.
To present for acceptance. To offer in payment or satisfaction of an obligation. A formal offer, as of marriage, contractual terms, etc. One who attends or takes care of something. Easily impressed, broken, bruised, or injured. Very sensitive. Weak of constitution or physique. Requires careful handling. Weak, immature, young. That has or expresses affection, love, consideration. Impressionable. Sensitive to others feelings, sympathetic, compassionate. Careful, considerate, gentle, mild. Of soft or delicate quality.
In ancient Rome, an oval or oblong arena with tiers of seats around it, used for games, chariot races, etc. A similar arena, usually enclosed in a tent, for a show of acrobats, wild animals, clowns, etc. Any riotously entertaining person, thing, etc.
Confidence. A reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or the sound principle of another person or thing. Responsibility or obligation resulting from this. To rely on. To allow to do something without fear of consequences. To depend on.
Smooth, lustrous, glossy. Polished, cultured, elegant, correct, or refined in behavior. Courteous, having good manners.
Smooth and shiny. Glossy, as a highly polished surface. Well-groomed appearance. Polished in speech and behavior, especially in a way that does not seem genuine. Unctuous, oily. With ease and dexterity.
Travel from one place to another. Passage through life.
A harbinger, a forerunner. One who or that which foreshows. One who delivers communication.
A step or stage in growth, advancement, etc. An event or happening. The elaboration of a theme.
To take or act before another, so as to forestall him. To take first possession of. To take up before the proper time. To foresee. To consider beforehand. To prevent by acting beforehand. To do in advance.
The process through which an idea is brought to the mind because of its connection or association with an idea already in the mind. A faint hint or indication. A small amount, a trace. The inducing of an idea, decision, etc., by means of a verbal or other stimulus, in another individual, who accepts it uncritically.
Stretching out in any direction. To expand or dilate in size. To stretch or reach forth. To enlarge or widen. To continue or prolong.
The faculty of making the best use of knowledge, experience, understanding, etc. Good judgement, sagacity. Learning, erudition, knowledge.
The act of working together or operating together to one end. Concurrent effort or labor.
Any obstruction or cause of obstruction. Hinderance, obstacle. A sudden interruption of passage, causing conflict. To impede the passage or progress of.
The act of imparting, conferring, or delivering, from on to another. Intercourse by words, letters, or messages. Interchange of thoughts or opinions, by conference or other means. Information or intelligence imparted by word or writing.
Any of the series of rings or loops making up a chain or chain armor. A section of something resembling a chain. A point or stage in a series of circumstances. Anything serving to connect or tie. To unite by something intervening. To be or become connected, to join.
Previous knowledge. Antecedent examination.
The posture or position of a person showing or meant to show a mental state, emotion, or mood. The manner of acting, feeling, or thinking that shows one's disposition, opinion, etc. The posture, disposition, or action in which a figure is placed.
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Me, Myself & Art: Blog Index
Me, Myself & Art
by Courtney Hatcher
Below you will find a list of all of my current Blog posts. Just click on a title to see more.
42 Abstract Concepts to Paint
Me, Myself & Art
by Courtney Hatcher
How to Create a Concept for an
To Get You Started:
(Definitions found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the Cambridge Dictionary and Dictionary.com)
*See the artwork I created based on these themes by clicking on the word!
"To become quiet. Suppress."
"To set afire. To begin to glow."
"Something that makes progress, movement, or achieving something difficult or impossible.
"To expand or increase abnormally or imprudently."
"A natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity."
"Kept from knowledge or view. Working with hidden aims or methods."
"The sense of one's own value or worth as a person."
"To make a change."
"The quality or state of being alone or remote from society."
"An apparatus that detects the presence and location of a submerged object by means of sonic and supersonic waves reflected back to it from the object."
Feeling Stuck in the Middle of a Project
Sometimes I get to a certain point in a project when I know I'm not finished but I can't quite put my finger on what is needed to complete the piece. When this happens taking some space away from the project is just what I need.
Stepping away from the piece of art that has me creatively stumped allows me to clear my head and when I come back it will be with fresh eyes.
Occasionally the act of just leaving the room and doing something else for a little while is all I need to be refreshed and feel ready to work again.
Simply stepping away doesn't always work though.
There are times when I just get stuck.
My paintings have a sense of looseness and improvisation to them.
However, they are created with deliberation.
Every layer, color, stroke, shape, etc., is well thought out and intentional. Sometimes I make happy mistakes but keeping them in the final piece is also a deliberate choice.
So when I get stuck at any point of the painting it can turn into a conceptual nightmare for me. I get into my own head and over think it, which always leads to sad mistakes if I force myself to paint through the block.
There are a few things I do to pull myself out of the funk of Artist's Block.
Honestly, my favorite thing to do when I'm feeling stuck is to go outside and take a walk around my neighborhood or in the park.
When you sketch you allow your brain to stay active while at the same time allowing your focus to wander and work through problems that you may have been carrying around.
Sketching is not always a "Eureka!" moment, but it never fails that when I go back to my painting after having spent some time sketching that I always see what I need to do to move forward with the artwork.
Blocked At Concept
Jolts of Artist's Block will hit me during my conceptualization process well before I ever even put paint onto the canvas!
Feeling blocked when I'm developing my theme is more common for me than getting stuck while I'm actually painting.
For my personal process and artistic style most of my work happens before I even set up my easel!
I spend a significant amount of time brainstorming and analyzing my theme before I begin painting.
To reconnect with these inspirations and begin to brainstorm new ways to go about expressing them visually I always rely on my sketchbook.
With all of these ideas flooding my brain the best thing I can do is dump them all onto paper. I just start doodling.
I let my mind sort of relax into the drawing, using whichever shapes, lines and colors that feel good in the moment.
By doing this I am allowing my brain the break it needs to work through all of my self-imposed confusion. I am also experimenting with my compositions without wasting my expensive painting materials.
Sometimes my concept comes together after sketching for only a few minutes. Once I'm focused on the sketch the ideas just start to flow out of me.
When I'm going through one of these periods where deciding to start is like moving a mountain I have to forcefully remind myself that there's nothing wrong with me.
Sometimes other aspects of my life get in the way and make everything more difficult. It doesn't mean I'm wrong, or a bad artist. It's simply a signal from my body and my brain that I need to slow down and practice some self-care.
When we are feeling lazy, or stressed, or emotionally overwhelmed it's super important to remember to be kind to ourselves. Speaking from experience, beating yourself up never helps.
I find when I'm in this situation that taking it slow is the only way forward. It is important that I make the effort, but when I'm feeling this kind of total block throwing myself head first into a big project will not end well.
That is why sketching is so important.
Artist's Block can strike at any time.
No matter which point of the creative process you are in when it hits sketching will help you get back on track.
Remember, be kind to yourself and accept that stress will take it's toll on your creativity.
Just know that a little bit of sketching everyday will help when you are feeling stuck.
As long as you have a surface to doodle on you will be able to beat the Block!
If you haven't read Part One of this series, me-myself-art-activate-your-creativity.html, check it out today! In it I share how you can use sketching to activate you creativity!
Even if you are not an artist, taking a few minutes out of your day to doodle can activate the creative parts of your brain. Being able to think outside the box is a skill that has value in any job or life situation. I believe that drawing everyday can improve those skills.
In this four part blog series I will explain why I believe a little bit of sketching, or art journaling of some kind, a day can keep your art fresh and alive. Taking the time to sketch daily activates your creativity, enhances your problem solving abilities, alleviates artists' block and allows you to spend time enjoying your passion.
Every artist works at a different pace, has different obligations and responsibilities that take time away from the creation process. Sketching allows you to create something everyday, even when you don't have time for a big project.
The best part about sketching is you can do it anywhere.
The activities we choose to give our time to become our habits. What we train our minds and bodies to do impacts every aspect of our lives, positively or negatively.
Everyone wants to live a fulfilling, happy, life. The most effective way to do that, in my experience, is by changing your mindset. Creating habits that affect my life positively is the simplest way I've found to change my mindset for the better.
For me, sketching has become one of those happy habits.
I've found that when I take the time to enjoy my creativity and do this one little thing that's just for me I'm a happier version of myself. As an artist, it's one small action I can take to move forward in a more positive, creative fashion.
I sometimes use sketching as a form of meditation. I sit in a quiet space and let myself focus solely on the paper in front of me.
Taking the time to quietly sketch allows my mind and body to let go of all the things that are stressing me out. I can put my responsibilities, anxieties and dramas on the back burner and just relax into my sketchbook.
In this busy world where a million different things are competing for our attention 24/7 it's important to step back and give some of that attention to ourselves. Sketching is a good way to check in with yourself, it can be a form of self-care.
If I've had a particularly stressful day I find that sketching in the evening helps me clear my mind and calm down before I go to sleep. Nothing is worse than tossing and turning all night because I'm worrying and unable to let go of the day. For me, sketching alleviates those feelings and helps me get better rest.
I challenge you to make sketching a part of your daily routine. Try it for a week and see how it can change your day! Let me know how it works for you. Remember, you don't have to complete a sketch or a drawing everyday. You can, but it's not necessary to benefit from the exercise. You may end up working on the same one all week, ten minutes one day, thirty minutes the next. The important thing is to do a little bit everyday!
When I created "Spiral" I was on the negative side of the emotion.
The title is exactly what I was doing. I was spiraling.
At that time I felt like my emotions were out of control and I was falling down a never ending corkscrew of darkness. I was overwhelmed with how these feelings were accelerating and spreading in a seemingly endless pattern.
A close up to highlight the texture and brush strokes.
I keep myself on a super tight budget!
I wish I could spend and spend and spend on art supplies, that's the dream. Unfortunately, the everyday little things get in the way.
I have to spread my budget amongst the bills, my cat, groceries, gas for my car, and oh so many other living expenses.
So anywhere I can save, without sacrificing quality, I do.
One of the best aspects of working with a quick dry time is that it keeps me spontaneous.
As a person I like to be in control, to think things through to the point where I've analyzed every possible outcome. Twice.
I do that to a certain extent in my art, through brainstorming and conceptual research.
However, when it comes time to actually put the paint on the canvas all that's over. There's no more time for analyzing.
If I don't work fast the layer will dry, or worse, the paint on my palette will dry before I have a chance to get my vision out of my head.
With acrylic paint clean up is a breeze.
When you work with acrylic paint you aren't working with harsh chemicals, like turpentine, to clean your brushes or palettes.
(I mean, I still wouldn't recommend eating it or anything!!)
So you don't have to worry about having a special biohazard waste bucket that has to be carefully disposed of. You also won't have to worry about any noxious fumes from all those chemicals floating around in the air.
All you need is water and towels. Simple as that.
Courtney Hatcher is an abstract artist from Flint, Michigan.
Anatomy Of A Painting
Tips & Techniques