Blank White to Wonderful- Inspired Creativity

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-6-29-33-pmThe Story behind Wuv Woo.  Being inspired by something is perhaps the purest key to creating anything truly unique and original.

“Good artists copy.  Great artists steal.”  Pablo Picasso.

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”  Mark Twain  

The New Yorker Magazine: Covers

New Yorker Magazine is iconic.  As a little girl I could, and would,  sit for hours at the local public library where they had an entire wall of beautifully bound New Yorker volumes, some of which were only the iconic comics.  I’d pull the heavy volumes off the wall one by one and read for hours at the table in that special section of the library.  I loved comics— what kid doesn’t?  But the comics in the New Yorker are sophisticated and wry and funny in a very different kind of way than the typical comics in the Sunday comics section of a newspaper.  They introduced me to ideas and things about life in the world that as a kid I might not have had access to for many more years.  I actually consider it part of my education.

And the covers!  The New Yorker covers are iconic.  They are relevant to the news and happenings of the day, they tell a story, they are serious art by top artists from an editorial point of view and I love that about them.  A friend of mind with a fabulous house in Pebble Beach had one of their bathrooms entirely wallpapered in New Yorker covers, coolest thing ever!  I still think about that from time to time with the notion of doing it too.

Wuv Woo.  This is one of my favorite pieces of art I created while falling in love with the man who is now my husband.  The creativity point to this story behind the image is that I get my inspiration from everywhere though you might never have a clue where from.  Why?  Because I am inspired creatively but never a plagiarist.  Even if you saw the New Yorker cover that inspired this image you would not recognize it.wuvwoo-charr-crail

That particular cover caught my imagination.  There was something about the face. It was sweet and oval with a geisha like whiteness to the skin.  Almost like a porcelain china or some smoothly chiseled marble.  It was a simple close up view of a beautiful face with almond shaped eyes and such lovely subtlety that just looking at it gave me a kind of pleasure.

I saved the illustrated cover of the exquisite face for many many years before I ever managed to create this Wuv Woo image.  Then one day a moment arrived and I was there and ready to do something with it.  Just hours later something new was born– because  I acted when the inspiration struck.  And it’s worth noting that one must act when inspiration strikes whenever possible!  Capture the idea, save it however you can!  Luckily I was ready to go, in place and could go the distance right then.  So some details behind Wuv Woo…

1— It was inspired by a New Yorker cover but took years to germinate and be born.

2— Wuv Woo is something sweet and affectionate I say to my husband meaning I Love You.  We have both adopted it as one of those mushy things couples say to each other.

3— Though I would more often be described as colorful this one rests in only three colors— red, black, white.  It needed no more than that to manage a striking image of contrast and sweet design.  The red represents love.  The face represents a loving and steady gaze at the object of affection.  The flowers and patterns represent the feminine and creative flair.  The words and the font I chose have a weight to them, an italic expression that relates to forward motion, the white cirlcling lines represent even more action and movement.  I didn’t consciously intend these things in the moments during creation.  It’s only now that I can look at it and see what I did.  I was in the creative trance while it was happening.

The technical– The face is a line drawing I did, which was directly inspired from the cover, the flowers and patterns are Photoshop brushes I created and use in varying sizes, layer styles and opacities.  I did the whole thing in Photoshop, incuding the drawing, using a Wacom tablet.

What more is there to say about it other than this.  The idea of being inspired is perhaps the purest key to creating anything original.  In the end my image looks nothing like the original but that’s because I allowed my inner voice to have it’s own say, it’s own delicious flavor.  I let it have it’s own expression of color, form and composition.

There’s a wonderful scene in the movie Finding Forrester, starring Sean Connery, that mentions this idea— about finding a starting place, aka an inspiration, and allowing your own voice to find the path, to take the creative journey but make it entirely your own.  Isn’t that what an artist does?  And I mean any kind of artist!  No matter the medium.  Musician, painter, cook, writer, photographer or architect or any other creative endeavor.  No matter the medium— it’s invariably the seed of inspiration that takes a white piece of paper and fills it with wonder.  From the Blank White to Wonderful.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”  Plato

Isn’t the need to create as much a powerful human need as the needs to eat, to sleep, to have comfort, to procreate?  We are conceived, we are born, therefore we create.


Creating from inspiration– scene from Finding Forrester with Sean Connery.


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