Where Do You Get Your Ideas?


I can’t remember whether I have ever posted this journal page before, but I came across it while cleaning my studio (correct that: while procrastinating about cleaning the studio and looking through journals and sketchbooks instead.)

I posted it to an Artist Journal Facebook Group I belong to, and one of the comments was: “I wish I could think of ideas like that.”

We tend to think that people are born with the ability to think outside the box, but that isn’t true. It can be learned, and once you learn it, it’s like a hole in the dam opens and the ideas flow so fast they knock you over.

My creativity workshop, which started Thursday and did attract a great group of students, is about the things you can do to tilt your brain enough to see the original ideas that are in there.

It’s a process.

In this case, the idea map started with the fact that I love to paint my art supplies – especially pencils. I have painted them all my life – in every imaginable circumstance. Well not EVERY imaginable circumstance, as it turns out. . .

These are watercolor pencils which led me to the water idea – what if they were submerged in water? They would have to keep their “heads” dry, or they would “paint” the lake. (silly logic).

And the points look like mountains (visual association).

But, I didn’t want them to be mountains, because I wanted them to be in water (there is some plan to this).

So, I just painted a lake, stuck the pencils into it up to their necks, and made the mountains in the background the rounded kind.

Now, the cool thing, is that many other ideas come from that one – like what if one tipped over and started coloring the lake? What if boats were tied up to the pencils? What if the pencils were roped into a raft – leaving a rainbow trail in the water behind it? What might be on the raft?. . . and so on.

You see how this goes?

You don’t have to be crazy like me. Your ideas can be a little less surreal, but you CAN learn creative thinking.

And sure enough, from the very same lesson, I am so happy to see each of the students taking it in different directions.

You can join the Outside the Box workshop at any point and the first set of lessons will be emailed to you.


And I have learned something. We needed a place to share our pages in this workshop, and I have previously tried Yahoo and Flickr.

I found Yahoo awkward since they changed everything, and you can’t chat much on Flickr. Plus, I find the uploading part difficult on Flickr.

So, I have set up a closed Group on Facebook for this workshop, and am pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. I am not a Facebook fan for personal stuff, but the closed Groups work well.


For a long time now, I have wanted to establish a Group somewhere for Garden Journaling. It would also be about any garden art – and the art of gardening – sharing photos and information as well as drawings.

There are two sister websites I really like:

They Draw and Cook

They Draw and Travel

Where artists submit and share illustrated recipes, travel art and maps. Wonderful websites and I once suggested to the brother and sister who run them that they add “They Draw and Garden”. They thought it was a great suggestion, but never acted on it. I eventually bought the domain name myself, but haven’t acted on it either.

I wonder how many artist/gardeners we have reading this blog? Would you be interested in a group where we shared all that? Please leave a comment if you would. I’m thinking a closed Facebook Group would work well.




  1. Would LOVE to participate in the Artist/Gardener’s Facebook group & am working on joining the Creativity Workshop….drumming up quilting business when I can.!!!!..

  2. One of your readers who is not a gardener and would not be interested. Hope this works for you though as this would link your passions.

  3. I really like this idea. This year I am starting anew with a backyard garden at my new home. I both love to grow things and draw!

  4. Lol, I’d have to post all my failures! I don’t seem to do very well in my tiny walled yard here in CA. It’s very hot in summer but not lots of sunshine in the yard but during the winter we get below freezing many nights and there is almost no sun in the back yard. I’ve had pill bugs literally eating everything up not to mention the huge 4″ grasshoppers. So far I have kept trying new plants as I like a spot that’s pretty to sit and paint. I think if advertised with a class (of which our journal pages could be posted on Artist’s Journal Workshop Facebook page amongst others) to get started it could take off. I’m willing to join a class to get it going as I think as many if not more people, are interested in painting their gardens than recipes although maybe they need parameters such as a recipe gives a cook. Not everyone who paints their lunch or tea paints up recipes so it makes a special niche. You need to find a way that painting your garden somehow fills a special niche too I think but you would know more about that being a journaling gardener!

  5. I am also interested. I have had a garden for several years and have vowed to create an Art Journal about my garden this year.

  6. Love the idea….I’m constantly having to decide between time in the garden or time in my “room”. I like the idea of drawing in the garden, but I just know I’d end up weeding or trimming or seeing something that needs doing and I’d end up all dirty with no time to create!

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