I want to talk to you about adventure. What does adventure mean to you? For some people, a degree of risk is required for something to be considered an adventure: skydiving, river rafting, scuba diving, and activities like that. For other people, adventure simply involves stepping out of one’s daily routine and getting new input—seeing new things, learning new things, eating new foods, and meeting new people.
Not only is a blank canvas an adventure for us as artists—a place where we can take risks and have a new experience—but the adventures we take in our lives can inspire us and impact our artistic process and our voice.
Creating abstract collage and paintings is a uniquely remarkable form of magic. A blank white canvas or board can be transformed into a vibrant Saharan sunset, becoming a portal to the other side of the world. Paintbrushes and torn bits of paper can act as magic wands, transforming an untouched surface into a snapshot of adventure.
I’d like to share how adventure feeds my art and give you suggestions about how you can inject adventure into your art practice.
My Travel Adventures Inspire my Art
I pull some of my greatest art inspiration from my global travels (which I plan to resume soon!). I love to create abstract work based on the vivid and stunning scenes from my trips once I’m back in my studio. Traversing the globe has opened my eyes to the stunning sights and visuals across the world, and I try to share these through my art.
I love to adventure to new places. Every facet of this planet is full of beauty, color, and life. I have had the great fortune of exploring countries whose sights have left me breathless:
The Galapagos provided an incredibly diverse array of colorful birds, plants, marine life, and scenic beauty. I saw more colors existing in nature during that exploration than I could ever have imagined before.
Umbria, Italy, introduced me to some bushy Great White Pyrenees dogs with loving, understanding eyes and pristine, soft fur.
Africa dazzled me with vivid pink and orange sunsets with suspended Saharan dust and countless animals. These images have been fodder for collages and paintings in all the years since I took that trip.
You Can Find Adventure Without Leaving Town
Not everyone is willing or able to travel. But you can find adventure today, right in your hometown, and use this inspiration to inspire your art. You just need an adventurer’s spirit and the willingness to look.
Does your town have a zoo or animal sanctuary you could visit? What about a botanical garden or other public garden? Bring a sketchbook and draw the shapes and patterns you see during your visit.
How about local museums? When you visit a museum—no matter if it’s an art museum or a history museum—you become exposed to all sorts of new information and stimuli.
Another way to have an adventure is to visit a part of your town that you’ve never been to. Spend an afternoon there, exploring the businesses and watching the people.
Visit a carnival or amusement park! Not only will going on the rides provide you with a thrill, you will get all kinds of stimuli that can inspire you, from the shape of the roller coaster to the wiggly pattern of your fried dough snack.
You might roll your eyes at this idea, but a trip to the library can lead you on an adventure. Cruise the aisles of nonfiction books and pull out any title that sparks your interest. You just may discover a shape you want to use in your art or a topic that makes you interested in studying further. Let’s say you come upon a book about English gardens or Egyptian jewelry—these can lead you down a fascinating rabbit hole, and you never know how you might apply that to your work!
Bust Out of Your Rut to Boost Your Creativity
It’s so easy for us to fall into routine. But our creative brains thrive on novelty and stimulation! Take yourself out of your routine by going to new restaurants and new places and speaking to new people. Let yourself be awed and intrigued by the things we often overlook, like weeds and shadows.
There are subjects to paint everywhere, big and small, and it is thrilling to find them. Inspiration is everywhere!
What Adventures Inspire You?
I’d love to hear about where you find adventure and how it feeds your art. Please share your thoughts in the comments!