Life is always feeding art. Anne Lamott (one of my favorite authors) in "Bird by Bird" writes: "One of the things that happens when you give yourself permission to start writing is that you start thinking like a writer. You start seeing everything as material. Sometimes you'll sit down or go walking and your thoughts will be on one aspect of your work, or one idea you have for a small scene, or a general portrait of one of the characters you are working with... And then, unbidden, seemingly out of nowhere, a thought or image arrives."
I think this applies to being an artist too. The world around you feeds you with all kinds of inspiration. And you have to be open to it and try looking at things with new eyes. I'm amazed by how, after a while, it starts to become effortless... something you do without even realizing it. And it starts to seep into your artwork.
This happens to me with pattern a lot. I notice patterns in things and love to incorporate that into my art. Sometimes, it happens without me recognizing it. Just this morning I went outside to photograph the new snow that fell last night and I looked through my view finder and noticed the pattern in the chair. The same pattern in the chair that is outside my window appeared on the jammies in my coloring book piece. And it made me smile.
Anne Lamott carries index cards, folded into her back pocket to capture things she overhears or little bits of scenes as they enter her brain. They jog her memory when she sits down to write. I kind of do the same thing (only I'm less organized) - I capture those things on the backs of receipts or draw them on my hand.
The man with the chubby cheeks and round glasses (which just add to his chubbiness) at the table over. He'd be great in a scene somewhere...or maybe just those glasses. Or the lady behind the counter trying to spritz me with perfume. That bend in her nose is just perfect. Or even a phrase that you over hear that makes you think of a great illustration. These have all graced the back of a Target receipt (high art... ha!)
I just love the idea that everything that is put in front of you could be fodder for a painting. Makes me appreciate even the smallest of things. (Yesterday I swooned for the swirls the cream made in my coffee cup... maybe a mustache for a character?)
I'm always looking forward to seeing the next bit of life that appears in my art.