My Thoughts on Using Creativity Prompts

Purple Orchid

Last week I wrote an article about using creativity prompts. If you missed the article you can click here to read it. Yesterday I decided to use the prompts I had written about. The prompts I mentioned were:


color – purple

texture – rough

emotion – childlike

principle of design – movement

I decided I wanted to do a fast and fun painting. I did not want to spend a lot of time on the drawing. I sketched directly to the watercolor paper which is very unusual for me. The drawing took me about 5 minutes. I looked at some other orchid drawings I had done previously to get a suggestion of the shape of orchid petals.

After I had a very simple sketch (I was thinking child-like), I wet most of the paper with clear water. Then I started adding watercolor in different shades of purple, mauve and pink. I splattered, dabbed and played. I picked up the paper and let the paint run in different directions.

At one point my left brain broke into the creative process and decided the stem of the orchid needed to be green. I did what the left brain suggested and then promptly wiped the green off. There was a slight green residue but it did not bother me. Note to self: Don’t listen to the left brain when painting!


closeup of painting

A close up view

Moving on, I started placing darker purples in the background to push the white orchid forward. I had no idea the orchid would be white but as the painting flowed it worked out that way. I wanted a more child-like feel to the painting so I pulled out a watercolor pencil and started outlining the orchid petals. To create interest and variety I blended some lines with water. Other lines were left as drawn. 

 I added a variety of drybrush strokes in different purples in the background and the orchid leaves. I wanted to give a sense of rough texture. I also made the drybrush strokes turn in different directions to give a feeling of movement. I was not happy with the results, so I got out a jar of medium gloss gel. 

The gel was placed on the background and leaves with a brush and then scratched through with a fork. I also dabbed gloss on with my fingers and placed some larger areas of texture in the background. Because I used gloss over the watercolor I now had to paint with acrylics. I tried to get a purple that I liked by mixing my acylics, and after much anguish finally got something I could live with. (Mixing acrylics seems more difficult for me since I have painted most of my life with watercolors.) 

another close up

Another Close Up

I added lines in the background in purples, pinks, and blues to give a sense of movement. Making an orchid painting appear to have movement is difficult. I have another idea for moving orchids I may play with later. I keep seeing an image in my mind. Not sure if I will be able to get the idea on paper though. 🙂

At this point I stopped painting because I wasn’t sure what needed to be done next. (When you do not know what to do, taking a break is a good option.) I placed the painting in a spot where I could see it as I did chores around the house. As I glanced at the painting I realized it needed warmer colors. So I glazed the stem and petals with yellow. I used a yellow watercolor paint. Somehow the gel had not covered all the area so the watercolor went on okay. The painting above is the result of this exercise.

I am happy with the results because it is something totally different from what I usually paint. The exercise helped me to draw more on my creative right brain. I enjoyed my painting time and am inspired to do more exercises using a creativity prompt.

 Anyone else out there have a story to tell about using creativity prompts? Please share.

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