Monthly Archives: February 2010

Where do you get your inspiration?

“People who are not artists often feel that artists are inspired. But if you work
at your art you don’t have time to be inspired.”
-John Cage

Earlier in the week I read an interesting blog post by Alison Jardine titled “Inspiration is Irrelevant”. Alison speaks of her experience answering a simple question from a local college student on assignment. The question asked was, “Where do you get your inspiration?” her response was, “I answered immediately with the first words that materialized, and as I said them I knew they were, for me, completely true: ‘Inspiration is irrelevant’” she goes on to explain quite clearly, “Each painting I create is a distillation of my experiences of perceiving and existing, they are my answer and reaction to simply being.”

I too am often asked this question and I usually find myself stumbling over the answer. Where does my inspiration come from?? I agree with Alison’s response that each painting is a distillation of experiences, but is inspiration irrelevant to me?

"Wandering Among Ideas" 48" x 40" work on canvas

"Wandering On" 48" x 40" work on canvas

In the past weeks I feel as though I have been wandering among ideas. I have been looking a lot, trying new tools, new colors, new directions. Looking for a spark of “inspiration” to push my work just a little bit further. Digging deep, simplifying, complicating, pushing, struggling.  I wrote previously that sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected places – I still believe this.  Inspiration, motivation, determination, are all a part of the daily process of creating and without the continuous internal dialogue of experiences there can be little room for any creativity. Inspiration may be irrelevant, but without the understanding that it is the continuous collection of experiences stored in our souls that feeds us as artists, it may be a bit difficult to understand the magic. I believe inspiration comes in many forms, it is everywhere, it can often go unnoticed and yes, perhaps it is often irrelevant, but it is also the intangible thing that people who are not artists always seek to understand. It is often that thing that there are no words for. I expect I will continue to stumble over my answer, perhaps inspiration is irrelevant and invaluable at the same time.

Thank you Alison for stating your thoughts so clearly.

“My ‘inspirational’ or creative process feels like a dialogue between the collection of experiences that comprise myself as well as my immutable core, and the lines, form, colors and light in the natural world.”
-Alison Jardine

Painting is available.

An Artist is an Explorer

“An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his
own procedure. After that he must not feel under any constraint.”
-Henri Matisse

"Dreaming of Summer" 50" x 50" work on canvas

"Dreaming of Summer" 50" x 50" work on canvas

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected places. I am back in my studio exploring a number of new directions. I am always interested in looking at other painters work but sometimes I think it is wise to stop looking at what others are doing and pull the focus back in – look, observe, study, and then forget it all and paint. It is not just other painters that inspire me; I can find inspiration just about anywhere. Finding a new source to explore is always a joy. I am having fun studying and incorporating my finds into my work right now – reminding myself, I “must not feel under any constraint”. Just paint, explore, experiment. It becomes too easy to fall into a pattern of working without pushing the limits. I am always looking for that balance of chaos and order – studying and working. Perhaps there will be only subtle changes or perhaps there will be something quite different in my work. It is way too early to tell where my new inspiration is taking me but this is why I paint.

I am looking forward to a feature show of my work at Gallery KH in Chicago opening in July 2010.

“Painting is like childbirth. It’s a precious gift that is labor intensive and
drains one’s energy. A natural high comes with creation.”
– Debbie DeBaun