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Painting Ideas: Harnessing the Power of One-Word Prompts"

Get inspired and grow your creativity with the use of one word as a launching point for your next painting.



"Inspire" 10x10 Mixed Media on Panel


Words have the power to ignite our imagination, evoke emotions, and inspire creativity. They can be motivating and serve as a launching point for creating meaningful and expressive paintings. When you focus on one word, it helps cuts through the noise in your head and allows for a true statement in your work.


How easily are you inspired?

For me, it’s frequent, often a quick iPhone photo satisfies the inspirational urge while other times I have to create something. A sunrise, the ocean, bird songs, music, flowers, flying fish, other artists' works, it doesn’t take much to inspire me visually but words are different, they resonate on a deeper level. Words can strike a cord from an emotional level primarily because there is no visual, it’s just your internal interpretation of the word. Inspired thinking often comes from words that are clever, religious, poetic or what you need to learn at that precise moment. I never knew quite what to do with that inspiration except smile and enjoy the moment.


Painting based on inspired words isn’t about interpreting the beauty you see in front of you, it’s about the beauty you feel inside, whether you use the word literally or as a loose guide, the creation is going to come from the heart.


Tip #1 - Create a word bank


Start with a word bank in notes, add words that inspires you, look up words in the dictionary or maybe it's a word you that you need to focus on for skill development while painting. ie color temperature or edges.


Tip #2 - Investigate and explore different interpretations


When you use a one-word prompt, take some time to think about different ways to interpret it. Consider the various meanings, emotions, and concepts associated with the word. This will help you to approach the prompt from a unique and personal perspective in your painting.


In my piece above the word was inspire. I'm not sure the work was successful, I'm new to mixed media and sometimes it takes longer to learn what not to do, having said that, it might speak to someone, you just never know. I enjoyed the process so all was not lost.


Tip #3 - Allow for spontaneity and intuition


Allow your instincts to guide your brushstrokes and color choices, and see where it takes you. Sometimes, my best paintings come from following my intuition and allowing myself to break free from the reference while adding the emotion of the word into the painting.


Here are some words to get you started

The words can be lessons, reminders, personal meaning, guidelines for your art or your life. 


Trust

Start

Essence

Simplify

Explore 

Inspiration 

Expand

Play

Practice

Resilience 

Investigative

Imagine

Creativity 

Symmetry 

Synchronicity 

Personal

Dynamic

Gratitude 

Adapt

Practice

Persistence

Restraint

Love

Joy

Share

Balance

Excited 


Remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the process and let the one-word prompt inspire you. Experience our Free Seven Day Challenge and see a series I created using some of the prompts above while you learn classical painting foundations, color for realism and how to paint birds.


Happy Painting.


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