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Friday, July 06, 2012

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

'Summer Blues'            6x8    oil on panel          ©Karen Margulis
available through Daily Paintworks $125
I knew it the minute I saw the delicate arrangement of a hydrangea bloom and baby's breath. I would be painting them.  The shadow pattern on the white tablecloth, the colors and the bright light were all calling out to me. I don't usually paint still lifes but I felt inspired to paint these hydrangeas. When I got home from my trip it was the first thing I chose to paint. I was moved enough for the inspiration to last until I got home.  
Sometimes inspiration is like that. It is like you are hit with a vision that compels you to put it on canvas. It is like an itch that needs to be scratched and you aren't satisfied until you get it out of your system and paint it. Sometimes though inspiration can be illusive.

 " Don't wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working." Henri Matisse

The photo of the hydrangeas that inspired me alongside my underpainting
Sometimes we have nothing that is calling out to be painted. We pore over our reference photos and nothing excites us.  Many times we just give up and wait for something to come along that gets us excited enough to take out our paints. I know for me that sometimes a break is needed and a change of routine or scenery helps me see things with a fresh perspective. But I don't let the break last too long. Inspiration isn't magic. It doesn't always just appear....we often have to meet it halfway by getting involved with our work.  If we stay away from the studio waiting for the magic to happen we are missing opportunities to learn and grow.

The hydrangea arrangement inspired this first painting. But as I painted I had ideas for more paintings and a new series was born. This happened because I chose to paint and was further inspired by my work. I will be working more on my hydrangea series this weekend. Painting inspires more painting!


NanQ said...

Loved the comment by Matisse. I collect these in my sketch journal and when I need inspiration, they seem to call out to me.

Sherry Schmidt said...

Wow, Karen, love the Matisse quote! You know I love your work and have many of your ACEOs. I paint with watercolors but always learn so much by looking at your gorgeous pastels and oils!