Friday, August 25, 2023

On Finding Inspiration

The Oxford Language dictionary defines inspiration as "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially creative." 

But where does inspiration come from? I think it's different for everyone. A quote can be inspiring, a good book or a movie, a video or a good speaker.  There are so many different ways to get inspired. That is part of the joy of living.

When I'm looking for inspiration for my next linocut print, normally I look no further than ALL the photographs that I have taken of my cats for the last 10 or so years.  My husband bought me my first digital camera so I could record my cats from the very first one I ever adopted, my cat Tiger.  

The boys, Hobbs and Oreo

And then when the iphone came out, there was no stopping me from taking photos anywhere and everywhere.  I LOVE taking photos.  I take a walk every morning and I often have my phone in hand, photographing pretty flowers in bloom or a friendly cat I see along the way.

Dahlias from the Sequoia Park public gardens

Instagram is another source of inspiration for me.   Instagram started out as a photo sharing social media platform. It seemed quieter then, more peaceful, more subtle.  I started an account 6 or 7 years ago now, and there were no videos at that time.  Videos are good for learning the process of making art, and that is very helpful and inspiring. Most of the accounts I follow are other artists: printmakers, painters and photographers are my favorites.  

Quite often on a Friday afternoon, I go out looking for inspiration.  I take myself out for lunch and go to visit the local art exhibits at a local gallery and museum.  I live in a very active art community in northern CA.  Theatre, dance, music, festivals, we have it all, and many many visual artists. So the art shows here are quite wonderful and inspiring.  My most favorite gallery here is the Morris Graves Museum, which used to be a Carnegie Free Library.  The quality of the exhibits they have are truly amazing.  Just the architecture alone is awe inspiring. I make sure I go every month to see what they have newly displayed.  There is nothing like seeing art in person. 


Inside the Morris Graves Museum

 One more source of inspiration, for me, is nature.  I am fortunate that where I live has MANY beautiful trails and places to visit in nature.  I live on the coast where we have rugged beautiful beaches, peaceful rivers, forests and the redwoods, all close by. Anytime I need a bit of a pick me up, I just get in the car for a short ride and visit one of these beautiful locations. 

The beautiful northern coast of California

Inspiration is everywhere.  Sometimes you have to go out looking for it.  Sometimes it just comes to you. I've had it come to me in the shower, in a dream, and on a walk. You never know when it will strike.  And sometimes you just need to get in the studio and start working before you get that to have that ah ha moment :)

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