ALL RIGHTS FOR THESE AMAZING PAINTINGS ARE RESERVED TO Shelby Willis,They must not be reproduced.
Last Friday I had the most amazing experience! I had the opportunity to share my passion for art with a class of Grade 4 students at an Edmonton Elementary School! I am not a teacher, let alone an art teacher so I had no idea what to expect or what we would be able to accomplish in our 2 hour timeframe but I was determined to put together a class that would show them a little bit about technique and a lot about trusting their intuition and honoring their individual creativity. I decided to have them paint a fox, the subject of one of my very first paintings in my colorful style. I broke the class down step by step but also reminded them that everyone’s painting should turn out different and unique to them. I was absolutely blown away by their talent and the beautiful paintings that resulted! I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about everything I loved about that day. The kids made me feel like a celebrity! I couldn’t be more honored to share this with them, and I hope this experience will empower them to always believe in themselves and fearlessly pursue their passions.
Thank you SO much to Dao for making this possible! Dao is the principle of the school and is forever going above and beyond to make sure these children have access to amazing opportunities to nourish their souls and help them grow.
“Chatting About Inspiration”
It is hard for me to pinpoint where exactly inspiration comes from for me. Sometimes it comes to me when I am lying in bed trying to get some sleep and sometimes I don’t feel it until I actually start painting. I think inspiration is a combination of doing new things, challenging yourself and believing in yourself. Traveling, getting outside, catching up with friends and family, those are all good ways to fill the inspiration bank even if you don’t realize it at the time. Sometimes when I am on a trip the idea for an entire painting just pops into my head out of nowhere, while other times it’s a combination of new sights and experiences that provide the inspiration for a new piece. I find taking a few photos of inspiring moments is a good way to keep them for reference for when you are home and ready to put them to use.
I also think a lot of my inspiration comes from allowing the unexpected to happen and painting the under layers of each piece intuitively. I build up layers of colors and shapes, alternating using warm and cool colors until the canvas becomes covered and chaotic enough that I feel ready to dive into the focus of the painting. I usually start with a wildlife reference photo that has caught my eye, as well as a couple other photos of the same animal from different angles. I can start with the idea that I would like to paint a wolf, for example, but other than that I allow the colors and the theme of the painting to evolve on its own. As I build up the painting I let what I like show through and cover up the layers that aren’t as satisfying. As I try to define the subject matter I look for places to add colors that complement each other to make it pop, and opportunities to add eye catching details.
If I don’t feel like painting, or if I have a busy schedule, within a few days the need to create something becomes so great that when I do pick up a paintbrush again it practically pours out me. I find it very helpful to spend the time I don’t feel like painting googling new techniques and working on other aspects of my creative business. Steeping a cup of tea and lighting an incense is also a good way to get inspiration flowing.
Most importantly I find inspiration flows more fluidly when I remind myself that I am creating artwork freely and for myself. If I start a painting thinking this has to be perfect so that everyone will love it, so that it will make it into the gallery, so that I will be discovered, ect. that creates a crazy amount of pressure. I strongly believe that if you give yourself the space to work intuitively and experiment with what feels right in the moment this will allow you to create something that speaks much “Chatting About Inspiration”
It is hard for me to pinpoint where exactly inspiration comes from for me. Sometimes it comes to me when I am lying in bed