As I think I mentioned in a previous post, when we were in France a couple of weeks ago we visited an Insectarium, and one of the creatures I didn’t realise they had there were geckos and lizards. I’ve never really thought too much about them in the past, particularly when looking for animals to draw- I’ve always gone with the more fluffy varieties, the sort you would probably call traditionally cute. But after 5 minutes or so of watching these little guys, I found myself hooked. I don’t know what it was exactly, whether it was the way they moved around, keeping an eye on me at all times, or their slightly ungainly interactions with each other, or just the details of their bodies up close…I just found myself wanting to learn more about them, to study them, to draw them. I was, I guess, inspired! The day we got back from the Insectarium I started sketching around some of these images, and I just loved exploring something different. There’s definitely a challenge to them, but at the same time it’s nice to be able to see a clear structure, and also not to have to draw fur! The final piece I worked on was a colour pencil sketch (again something I wouldn’t normally do) of the gecko at the top, and I’ll be posting it as soon as it’s finished.
Not so long ago I finally laid my hands on something I’ve been longing for for a very long time (pretty much since I really started getting into photography)…and that’s a 100mm macro lens. We’ve been together for around 2 months now and wherever I go with my camera this lens lens has become my inseparable buddy. Mostly because it just opens up a whole new world.
My trip to France was the first chance I’ve really had to test it properly and on quite a few occasions I was so relieved I had it with me. Particularly on the days when I didn’t think I’d be needing it, but packed it just in case, because more often than not, it was on these days that I’d suddenly spot something moving in a flower or on the grass. And where ordinarily I might have had a quick look and taken a couple of shots with my ordinary lens I’d probably have moved on quite quickly.
Now I realise these little guys aren’t the prettiest up close, but being able to see them in this kind of detail gave me a whole new perspective and a tiny glimpse into their world which, yep, you’ve guessed it (especially if you’ve seen my other posts), gave me a whole new inspiration. (Either that of I’ve just watched far too much Disney and will anthropomorphise anything I can!)
It’s an interesting thing, inspiration. How do you even start to define it? I guess it can mean many things, but in the context of this post I’m thinking of it as that spark of an idea, that something that makes you think, or fills you with an overwhelming sense of…something. You don’t necessarily know what it is, but you desperately want to hang onto it. That makes perfect sense to everyone, right? No? Just bear with me for a minute (if you’re so inclined).
So, I don’t know about anybody else, but I always seem to find inspiration when I least expect it. And then when I’m desperately searching for it, it runs off and hides. You know that feeling? Like you’ve been trying to work on something all day, and yet it gets to 10 o’clock at night and you’ve got nothing. So you decide to give up for the day, go run a bath, and no sooner have you dipped your big toe in the water then *BOOM* you’ve got it! You know that one? Or maybe you go out on a day trip, no idea exactly what to expect, and all of a sudden you feel it. That feeling. Which is where the idea for this post came about.
Last week I came on holiday to Brittany (which aside from a dodgy internet connection has been lovely, and as you’re about to find out, pretty useful). Now before I came away I’d been desperately trying to come up with the ideas and motivation to work on the projects I’d set myself (see previous posts). Suffice to say things weren’t going exactly as planned and having thunk myself into a black hole I’d pretty much given up on the idea. And so as we set off on the ferry last Saturday my brain gradually began to clear of thinking thoughts, and by Tuesday, having spent 3 days chilling/over heating, I think it’s fair to say my mind was completely empty. Which is crucial to what follows.
On Tuesday we went to two places: The Insectarium in Lizio, and the nearby Poete Ferrailleur (http://www.poeteferrailleur.com/). Whenever I go somewhere new I always take my camera, just in case, but I often find it’s a thin line between taking photos because of some sort of self imposed obligation (because I have my camera and who knows, the photos may be useful in the future), and because I feel genuinely moved to capture something. As I was walking around these places on both occasions I started off taking almost documentary type photos, but the longer the visit went on, the more I ‘got into’ the place, and began to feel something I’ve been waiting for for a good few months now; I felt inspired. And I started to think. What was it that was actually inspiring me? And what was it inspiring me to do? While I couldn’t (and still can’t) be entirely sure about the answer to either of these questions, I did discover something which set of off a huge firework display inside my head.
I figured out that the thing that fires pretty much all of my work is the want, even the need, to recreate the things I see around me. And so to feel that inspiration which fuels my motivation, I need to see things that I want to recreate. The stuff that gets me excited and makes me reach for my camera or pencil. Now I realise this probably isn’t the most profound idea and has probably been written a hundred times over in a far more eloquent way, but I did come to terms with one other thing during this lightbulb moment; as much as I want to capture these things through drawing, I know that my first reaction will always be to reach for my camera. Over the last few years I’ve been making a concerted effort to capture more through drawing, feeling wary of taking too many photos, and while photos are no substitute for the real thing, I’ve finally figured out that they’ve been my way of capturing the things that inspire me, a subconscious way of trying to bottle my inspiration, ready to be unleashed and used later.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations, and thank you. But what was the point of it, I pretend I hear you say? Well essentially this is my way of saying you will probably be seeing a lot more photos on this blog than I originally thought, alongside the drawings and other work. As a starting I will be sharing some of the other things that have inspired me on my trip. And last but not least I want to finish where I started; inspiration can come from anywhere, and often when you least expect it, but sometimes in order to see it, you just need to stop thinking and look the other way.