180 degree thinking

At the start of a new school year I always ask my graduating students what skills they would like to strengthen in preparation for moving into the workforce or on to university. (They are in the final year of a three-year program in web/print design and business communications.) The answer I often get is that they would like to be more creative. They are strong on the technical side but have trouble brainstorming for new ideas and concepts.

In my search to find techniques to help them I watched a video recently about 180 degree thinking, which is basically flipping an idea over and using a solution that is in the opposite direction. I used a bit of that in my sketch today. Instead of drawing first and adding colour after, I painted the sky and the foreground shapes in first. There are many of my Urban Sketcher friends who work this way but I don’t often do this. The other thing I did to change things a bit was to leave the darkest darks (the foreground trees) unpainted. I’m not sure if my experiment was successful or not but it’s definitely something worth trying again.


17 Comments on “180 degree thinking”

  1. Pat Sanchez says:

    I like the black and white trees. Even though they are large and in the foreground, they are more like frames or arrows that direct attention to the colorful scene beyond.

  2. Joanna says:

    I really like this a lot, I think the method is pretty effective, the colour is particularly nice in this imagexx

  3. jean-jacques says:

    This changes your style, gives it something poetical, I should say. Interesting experiment!

  4. Mrs. P says:

    I really like your idea of changing things up and stepping outside the norm. For decades my grandmother did traditional oil paintings of landscapes and such and in the mid 1970s decided to really experiment and started doing abstracts in acrylic. She had a blast doing it as it gave her more creative expression. She got quite good at it and one year, one of her abstracts won an award for best in show at at the San Diego Museum of Art.

  5. I’ve gotten so used to your style that it took me a second to adjust to this, bit I really like it. That’s the beauty of sketchbooks and daily sketching, painting, and drawing: you have greater opportunity to try “different”, and then see what happens, and usually the results are pleasantly surprising!

    • Yes, drawing every day does give you time to experiment. And even if it is not entirely successful, usually there will be something you can take away from it that you can use another time.

  6. Lee Kline says:

    Way to go, Shari. It never hurts to stop and take a sharp right turn once in a while. Tia would be proud.

  7. Ross says:

    No Shari, this isn’t really a 180 degree turn for you… this is a 30 degree diversion. Now, if you did that self-portrait that you have been promising to do… that would be a 180. : )

    • When did I say I would do a self portrait? : )

      • Ross says:

        It was back about 12 months ago… I am sure if you looked back through the blog comments you would find it there. I can remember you clearly writing “Yes Ross, I will have to do that”. It was about the same time that you said you would do an FAQ page, update you workshop page and add a “Paintings for Sale” page… surely you haven’t forgotten? : )

  8. AMERICAN MALE says:

    Simple amazing love your work

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