Sometimes finding inspiration can be hard. I’m not always in the mood to paint or craft, or I might just be out of ideas, and the ideas I do have just don’t seem that great. The important thing to remember, especially in those times, is that inspiration can be found many different places. Some might say that it can be found everywhere, the plate that you’re eating from or the kitchen sink. For me I guess I don’t get that inspirational spark from everything.
My son loves fortune cookies so he got a bag of them for way cheap at the grocery store; he was eating them and always asks me to read him his fortune. I wasn’t feeling exceptionally creative, in fact I was feeling quite tired. However when I read one to him, I suddenly had that spark.
My idea is to take any fortune cookie message and create something from it, using whatever idea the fortune as the content. For example, if one reads “You have a strong ethical sense”, you might think about something you feel strongly ethical about. Maybe you have a strong passion for animal rights, animal cruelty and such. You could write about it, draw a picture of a mouse being freed from a cage, or paint a protest. It’s all up to your own individual interpretation of the message. What one thing means to you versus what it might mean to someone else can be very interesting. It can open discussion or give you insight to your own thoughts and feelings.
I could sit down to a blank page to start the creative process; journaling and brainstorming are great methods too. However, it’s sometimes fun to get that inspiration from unexpected places.
So my first *fortune cookie inspiration* was “Just be yourself; you are wonderful.” When I read it, I thought of how sometimes I feel really insecure, about my art, my body, my appearance to the world. All my insecurities came to mind. I think it’s really hard to feel secure about yourself; there is so much criticism in the world. We’re bombarded with advertisements about how to dress or act, guided by models that are photo-shopped to extremes. There’s racism and sexism. All these things affect us every day. For me, dealing with low self-esteem has always been hard and at times really crippling to my feelings about the world and my sense of accomplishment. The great thing about art is that all these feelings, good and bad, can be channeled to create something positive. Art can be used to express deep seated anguish, moments of complete bliss, emotional pain, feelings of redemption, really all the aspects of the human experience. See how just one little sentence can open up so much thought? To sum up, I thought about these things and decided to paint a girl with a rainbow face, not only to express the beauty of differences, but also how people can change color but stay who they are. Color represents feelings in my mind.
I first started with a rough sketch, cleaned it up a little and transferred it to water color paper. So far I’ve done a little concept art for the final painting on watercolor paper, just playing with colors and placement of everything. Once I have a really clear idea in my mind from that I’ll work on the final painting. At this point I could continue work on the concept page, build it up, adding more layers, to transform it into the final painting. Or simply start on a new page and work from my concept painting. I almost always hate the concept art I come up with. I’ll share it with you despite how I feel about it, because I think it’s important to acknowledge the journey just as much as the final destination.
So I encourage you to try this out, get some fortune cookies from the store or a restaurant (great excuse to get some Chinese food) and see what you come up with. I would say there were a couple that I just didn’t get anything from, but everyone is unique and someone else might create something beautiful from the same message.
I’ll make it easier for you; here is a long list of some I have in front of me (in case you don’t have access to fortune cookies):
“Never spit against the wind.”
“You are careful and systematic.”
“Do not burden yourself with trivial matters.”
“Others recognize your sweet nature.”
“You will be free of the heavy burdens you have been carrying.”
“Accept something you cannot change, and you will feel better.”
“Borrow money from a pessimist—they don’t expect it back.” (that one made me laugh!)
“Failure is the path of least persistence.”
“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the conquest of it.”
“Be patient, pleasant, and open, and you will see more truths.”
“You aspire to great things? Begin with the little ones.”
“Curiosity is life.”
“Even as the cell is the unit of the organic body, so the family is the unit of society.”
“Praise a fine day at night.”
“Appearances are often deceiving.”
“Adapt to circumstances in order to make progress.”
“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.”
“Being kind to others will bring rewards.”
“Genius does with it must, and talent does what it can.”
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
“You become more sensitive to the feelings of others at this time.”
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
“Adversity is the prosperity of the great.”
“Have faith in the force of right and not in the right of force.”
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
“Happier days are definitely ahead for you, struggle has ended.”
“A phone call to a good friend will ease your mind and lift your spirits.”
“Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it.”
“Be smart, be intelligent, and be informed.”
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not why ships are built.”
“Love humankind, trust the majority, and never own anyone.”
“To live your life in fear of losing it is to lose the point of life.”
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
“A person who trims themselves to suit everybody will soon whittle themselves away.”
“You are the center of attention.”
“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”