The Question: What Subjects Inspire Me?
Greetings, I have been thinking about what subjects inspire me to draw and paint. That is to say, the question has been rattling around in the back of my head – where do I draw inspiration?
The Answer? Took Some Searching.
You would think the answer would come immediately to mind. However, a satisfactory answer took its time revealing itself.
Why Ask The Question Now?
Before I tell you about what inspires me, let me share with you how this question was planted on my head. Then, I’ll tell you what sparked the flow of answers.
Sakura Of America Asked The Question.
It all started when Sakura of America, known for Pigma Micron ink pens and Gelly Rolly pens, did a “giveaway” recently through their Instagram account. In order to enter their “giveaway” you needed to share what inspires you.
My Answer? Un-inspiring.
Well, I figure my answer was un-inspiring. Oh yes, I could think of the usual answer: nature, cats, flowers, coffee cups. But, I was rather mystified. My answer lacked that something special that might inspire someone, including myself.
So what does inspire me? Or, better yet, how do I “get inspired”?
What Inspires: Two Methods.
Oddly enough, there are two ways that I use to find inspiration.
Method One, The Usual Way:
To illustrate this first method, imagine that I am working away drawing something ordinary like a coffee cup or a napkin. It is through the work itself that I will find something special to say about the subject.
Method Two: The Not-So-Usual Way:
This second method is less predictable. To explain, I’ll be going about my business of living and then, all of a sudden, I notice something. An “A-HA” or “Wow!” moment springs into my head. I know instantly that the subject is good and I need to do a series of paintings based on this moment.
Autumn Leaves Inspire.
Lets take the subject of “leaves”.
First of all, using “leaves” as an example of how I find my muse was sparked by a comment a friend left on my facebook page. She mentioned that she liked some of my leaf paintings. Her comment was left within 24 hours of reading the Sakura-of-America contest. I looked at the leaf paintings and then my brain did a jump start. I thought “That’s it” – that’s how I’ll explain my muse.
About The Three Leaf Paintings (Two Are Part Of A Series)
It turns out that all three leaf paintings were inspired by an “A-Ha!” and “WOW!” type moment.
Autumn In Lithia Park Series.
Autumn In Lithia Park is an early series of paintings I did 2003. The inspiring moment came as my husband and I were walking through Lithia Park in Ashland, OR. It was an autumn day and for some reason, there were butterflies and baby skinks everywhere amongst the leaf litter. I thought it was such a strange and interesting mix of natural elements. Later that day, I drew my impressions of the scene in my sketchbook. And, so, a series of four paintings was born.
Another painting inspired by nature, I painted “Fallen Leaves” in 2004 (see above).
As I was running down Bear Creek Path in Medford OR, one fall day. I was taken by the colors and shapes of the leaves against the dark blue-black of the path’s asphalt. On closer examination, I noticed “ghost” leaves. To elaborate, the pigments of the fallen leaves apparently create an impression of the leaves on the pavement.
Again, a moment of awe and inspiration.
A few years later, my husband and I were campground hosts at Calf Creek Campground in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT. One day as I was doing my rounds in the campground, I noticed some weeds growing out of holes cut into a big boulder. It was obvious from the geometry of the holes that they were machine made.
Weeds Growing Out Of Holes.
What struck me was how the weeds found a place to live and grow in an abandoned hole in a boulder. Leafy, organic shapes emerged from machine-made circles. How delightful! I find it fascinating how the Earth reclaims our discarded objects.
In searching for the answer to what inspires me, I realized I find inspiration through two complimentary methods. The first and most common way is just through the work itself. I find inspiration through the act of drawing and painting. The second method is accidental – the special “A-HA” and “WOW” moment when I see something that inspires me.