Pinterest — inspirational art tool and self-defining style guide

Inspiration concept

Do you have a Pinterest board? If you do, keep reading to remind yourself how helpful it can be in your personal art practice. If you don’t keep, reading about why you really should have one!

I use Pinterest both for

  • new ideas, and for
  • getting unstuck on work in progress.

For example, this morning I was debating on how to proceed with an encaustic piece, so I went to my Pinterest “Stealboard” where I collect ideas (you’re welcome to look at my collection.)

I found this work by Grace Carol Bomer that I had “pinned” a while ago. Even though I’m not working in cold wax, even though her piece is not photographic, there was something about this that gave me the inspiration to put a digital photo behind a layer of wax. It was the spark I needed.

My finished piece will look nothing like this, but it got me unstuck quickly because it was in my Pinterest stash of works that I liked for one reason or another.

Grace Carol Bomer -Ancient Mercy 2012 coldwax and oil on panel 8″ x 8″ $225

Another Pinterest feature useful to one’s art practice is finding other artists who are working in your own areas of interest. I discovered Dorothy Caldwell’s work through a friend’s Pinboard – wow! It ties in beautifully with the work I did with Caryl Gaubatz recently.

And I am so inspired by Dorothy Caldwell’s statement about her work – I am drawn to cloth that has been repaired, and reconstructed and in that ongoing process encodes time and the richness of lives lived.”

Finding other artists like this helps me define my own direction. It can help you, too.

Dorothy Caldwell – A Red Hill, A Green Hill, ink wash, earth ochre on cotton with stitching and applique, 9’4″ x 9’8″ 2012

Finally, you can showcase your own work on Pinterest. You can start a board about what (and why) you create and upload photos of your work for everyone to see and perhaps share. I have one called From My Studio. It’s also a good way to archive your work. Hey, I used quail eggs in this piece – I had forgotten that – gonna do that again!

Lyn Belisle – New HeartShard assemblage titled SongSon – 14″ – mica, metal, wood, clay, fiber, quail eggs

Setting up a Pinterest account and then collecting images and ideas is easy. WikiHow has a great guide to the process. Here’s the link.

Oh yeah, and Pinterest should come with a BIG FAT WARNING – using this site can be addictive.

Don’t say you weren’t warned, and have a great weekend pinning and playing. Thanks, as always, for subscribing to SHARDS.

How to describe your personal art style using Pinterest as a tool

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Lyn Belisle, “Corwin,” Assemblage 2015

“Oh, you’re an artist? What kind of art do you do?” I get that question fairly often, and I usually just say, “Mixed media.” But if you need to think in terms of a fuller description (such as when writing an artist’s statement), you might need to come up with adjectives that are more specific to your personal style.

One way to do this is to¬† start a Pinterest board with images of the kind of art that resonates strongly with you – chances are, these images will reflect your own aesthetic. For example, here’s a recent selection from my own Pinterest “Stealboard” (as in “Steal Like an Artist”):

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From this small selection, I can see that I gravitate toward a neutral palette of grays and rusts. I like organic shapes, twig-like lines, and odd and mysterious iconic faces.Not surprisingly, these elements show up consistently in my own work.

Now compare my favorite images to the Pinterest board of North Carolina artist Eileen Ross:

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I don’t know Eileen, but from her selections, I’d say she likes elliptical shapes, whimsical impressionist content, deep pastel colors, washes of paint, and calligraphic elements. When you look at her own work, you can see the strong relationship between what she likes and what she creates. Interesting!

What if you don’t have a Pinterest favorite art board, or even a Pinterest account? It’s easy and free to set one up. Just go to Pinterest and follow the simple directions. I would also suggest that you install the Pinterest browser button – here’s how. This little tool allows you to click on your browser’s tool bar to add a picture from the Internet to your Pinterest favorites board instantly. Be warned, though – once you start collecting, pinning, and analyzing the kind of art work that you love, you can get addicted!