Day 10 of Build Creative Confidence – Following Inspiration

creative confidence

creative confidence

Day 10 of Build Creative Confidence – Following Inspiration

Today’s post is a guest post from painter Carol Steinberg. Carol and I “met” through the April Ultimate Blog Challenge and have stayed connected since then. I am a big fan of her colorful paintings and was thrilled when she agreed to write a guest post as part of my series on 31 Days to Build Your Creative Confidence.

The Painting That Almost Wasn’t and Why I’m So Glad It Is:or the benefits of following your inspiration

I have painted many florals and I love the bouquets at the farmers’ market.  One Saturday my boyfriend insisted that buying a bouquet of Sweet Williams (aka Purple Dianthus) was just the ticket.  They were $4 (cheap for Santa Monica and cheap in general) and supposedly last a long time (yeah, they do).  I wasn’t thrilled—they didn’t exhibit the sculptural qualities of flowers I like to paint.  And you may not realize this if you’re not an oil painter: Pinkish Purple is a bitch to capture in oils, it’s hard to get the light side without cooling them off and turning them a “chalky” whitish blue. I figured I probably wouldn’t paint them.  And, I hate to admit this, but there’s a part of me that likes to look for excuses to NOT paint – it’s the perfectionist pessimistic part of me.

creative confidence

But, one evening soon after, I was struck by the way they looked in my oft-painted blue thrift store vase against the yellow of the light on the table and walls.  There’s about 3 feet between there and my narrow kitchen so I wedged a small easel in there and began to paint.  The results: “not bad.”  So the next day, I moved the vase with the flowers onto my little porch and switched to acrylics.  I thought this one was even better as I have a tendency to ever favor my last born.


I came up with the idea to ask which version of the painting folks preferred on Facebook and to my surprise, most liked  the oil version.  Then I had the idea to use this experience as a “Challenge” on Daily Paintworks, a site where people like to take on painting challenges of various sorts for inspiration.  As of now, 60 people have taken the challenge to create two paintings using the same subject with different conditions, media, etc. and about 700 people viewed the paintings which is over 20 x my average when I post to the site without creating a challenge. (Feel free to join the fun on Daily Paintworks —you don’t have to be a member to participate in challenges.)

I’m having a one woman show from 8/24 to 9/21/2013 at the Copperwood Gallery in Orange, CA.  I gave the owners a choice of about a dozen images to use for the postcard announcing the show.  Guess which one they chose! Yep, the oil painting.

All in all, quite a bit of mileage for a painting I almost didn’t do (not to mention that it inspired this blog post).  So, if the urge to create sneaks up on you, don’t hesitate!  You never know where it may lead. And sometimes boyfriends do know best.

Carol Steinberg has exhibited nationally in numerous galleries and museums.  She has taught drawing, design, and painting at Los Angeles City College, Cal State University at Northridge, and Otis Evening College.  She earned her MFA at CalArts and BFA and BA from Cornell University and has received scholarships from art programs around the country. Her work has been published, won prizes, been listed as an LA Times “Best Bet” and chosen for Eddie Murphy’s film Daddy Day Care, as well as other film and TV projects. In the fall of 2008, a dozen of her paintings appeared on the award winning TV show House in an episode about a painter with a disturbing vision problem.

Many thanks to Carol for sharing her art with us, but also for sharing her challenges and her inspiration! Make sure to visit her website to see a beautiful gallery of her paintings!

Lesson 10 – Build your creative confidence by following inspiration!

Did you read the part in Carol’s article where she talks about looking for excuses not to paint? We all do that, even when making art is our job and our passion!

So your lesson for today is a continuation of yesterday’s lesson on being a beginner and trying something new. Allow your inspiration to guide you today.

What would you like to create? Find a way to make it happen.

Sometimes a walk around the local crafts store, art gallery or a hardware store can provide tons of inspiration!


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  1. Maura Raffensperger on July 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Always a good reminder that the more we ask for participation from our readers and or listeners, the more engagement spikes. Love the idea of posting both paintings and asking which was preferred. And the challenge idea was inspired! If I were a painter, would definitely take up that challenge. Thinking of ways to adapt to my business – so this post is building my creative confidence!

    • carolsteinberg on July 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks, Maura. I take little credit for any of the good ideas I have…just credit for getting out of the way long enough to let them through!

  2. Sheri Conaway on July 11, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed Carol’s guest post and found the circuitous route she followed to actually creating these paintings to be as entertaining and artistic as the finished product. Thank you for showcasing her and her creative talents.

  3. carolsteinberg on July 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks, Sheri! So glad you stopped by and that you found it entertaining!

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