...with a little help from my friends
My Collins English Dictionary tells me that one of the definitions of inspiration is: "stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special activity or creativity." Our modern English word has its roots from the Latin spirare literally to breathe. Now what happens if stop breathing? You die of course. So what happens if you stop being inspired? Yes you're right - you die as a painter. So that's how important inspiration is. So then how and where does inspiration come from? What inspires you?
I put this question to some artist friends of mine and here is a sample of their responses:
"What Inspires me is walking through a forest watching the light dance through the trees. Or on the beach with the sun making the water sparkle like diamonds glistening. feeling the wind blow in my hair... I love light texture and water it nearly always evokes some kind of creativity in me... " Merice Ewart Marshall
"Driving to work every day in North Pembrokeshire. Looking at the different colours and views that seem to change daily depending on the weather and time of year. the light here is fantastic, and there are so many local artists that paint the local scenes but all have their own style. I visit their galleries and web sites for inspiration, and it never fails. Doesn't matter that I not to their standard, I just enjoy painting and doing my best to express my feelings through to the subject." Jayne Hughes
"The colour and sound of the sea, sunset over the Yorkshire Dales, the sound of Spanish Guitar in a Barcelona Garden, the shapes and shades of clouds, the colours of Spring on the Wolds, the inspiration is endless." Sue Spivey
"How I feel when I see the colours in the waves and sky, the smells and sounds, its all my senses that make me paint something or someone, Or sometimes I have seen something then cant get it out of my mind until its down on paper. Inspired by my emotions or memories." Jocelyn Roberts
"Animals . My cows to me are beautiful their eyes long eyelashes wet noses! Their innocence and cheekiness too which I hope I capture when drawing them. The same with all animals its their innocence and beauty in their eyes!" Cyndi Cyn Bowman
"Pride!!" Stephen Hayes
I think you'll agree that there is some very sound advice there. Clearly inspiration is a personal thing but there are some themes - use all your senses not just your eyes, visit familiar places regularly and note the different effects as the seasons change. Jane made a good point about visiting galleries and websites of other artists. Don't be put off if you are not as good as them- just enjoy painting.
What about me? I can relate to all the comments above. In the case of "Rays of Hope", I had been dog walking with Merice in a wood adjacent to the Gypsy Race (why it's called that no-one seems to know- answers on a postcard please!) in late December 2011. I always carry my sketchbook so made a very quick drawing when we happened upon this lovely scene which I just had to paint. So with sketch, memory and Merice's photograph for some detail, this was my first painting of 2012. The start of a new year is always a reason for hope hence the title.
This has been the easiest blog I have ever written - most of the work has been done by my good friends. So thanks to you all for your help and I'll let another artist friend sum the subject up for us:
"The phrase: "Aspire to inspire before you expire"." Romy Serrano