Let’s talk about inspiration and what it means to the artist and also to the viewer.
For an artist, looking for a subject matter can be anything that touches or appeals to the artist’s visual, senses or emotion. Something that they may want or need to express.
Nature can be very inspiring in all its magnificence but an artist will focus on conveying an aspect of it , for example, the play of light on snow on a mountain side. The softness of silk falling from a wiry metal coat hanger could evoke an emotion of sadness or loss in someone. The beauty could be in its emotional message or the same fabric could be catching the warm sun giving an idea of summer and sensuality. Inspiration is very personal and this is what makes art so wonderfully unique and entertaining especially if you remain true as an artist to your journey of artistic growth and self discovery instead of painting purely for profit. So when looking at a scene we need to decide what it is that we want to say and we need to make sure that we are expressing our intention in such a way that it’s easy for the viewer to understand.
As artists we need to be sure of what we intend before we start. We are then on the right track to creating a powerful painting. We can be clever with brushstrokes and dramatic paint application but we can’t lose sight of our original intention.
The masters of the early 19th Centauri like Joaquin Sorollo (my very very favourite artist of all time) were not only masterful in their paint application and rendering skills they were storytellers and their paintings leave us feeling that we have been blessed with a timeless beauty and a window into their personal world of emotion and experience. Artists like Van Gogh and Gauguin with their unique and beautiful colour choices and application of paint were so evocative and the paint itself took on a quality of expressiveness that was unique,bold and excites the senses.
So we need to take that leap from copying photos with every last detail expressed to using the photos and or plein air painting experience to launch powerful ideas that leave the viewer with a glimpse of who this artist is personally and what they are trying to express and if the viewer is instantly aware of the artists intent there has been a connection that makes everyone’s experience richer. The viewer is then inspired and the inspiration has been paid forward.
If as artists we manage to inspire ,and through our work to create joy, then we are truly blessed and so often we don’t realise that we are doing just this. I lost a very good friend to cancer and never really got to say goodbye and to tell you I was devastated was a dramatic understatement. I found out by chance a few months later that the one thing she took into her hospice room with her was a painting I did of her two beautiful kids and this paintings which was a fair size stayed with her till she passed away.
Our paintings that we send out into the world often take on so much meaning for the people who have purchased them that I am blown away and incredibly humbled by such stories as this.
So with this in mind endeavour to take your inspiration and intention and do something that excites you and inspires leaving us all enriched and blessed to be a part of your journey as fledgling or advanced as it may be.