source of inspiration

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

via clear north blog

via le dans la

One of the things that I always wonder about and often get asked is where inspiration comes from. What inspires me when I paint, for example. Throughout the years, I have read many books and interviews with artists, looked at my own creative process, and that of my friends to find out what the process is that proceeds a finished piece of work. 

I recently bought the book, Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon. It's a clever little book about the ten things that no one ever told you about being creative. It's full of good quotes and specific ideas for getting started and inspired to create. He uses the word stealing. I have to admit, it's a word that I don't like to use to describe my process, but after reading the book, call it what you may, it is often how creativity works. 

In a nutshell, artists collects things they love. They devour moments in films, photographs, architecture, sections of paintings, clouds, light on a hillside, shadows on the street, a few words on a page or notes of music. They collect, dissect, study them, take them in, and let them inspire their work.

This morning, I was looking through a file of images I have for a hit of daily inspiration to get started on a painting. I came across the two photographs above. I love the photo of the people on the water. The dark shadows, the composition; it could easily inspire an abstract painting for me. I then saw the image of the white lanterns. The two images together made me remember a picture I took this weekend at the beach. O was running by me with a face of delight. The image was in color and had all the details of the ocean and sand. But when I saw the images above, I was inspired to take my picture, play with some filters and create this blown out, black and white photo below. 

What will I do with this picture now? Maybe hang it, maybe nothing. That is a whole other topic to delve into, creative sidetracks, which I find myself distracted by all the time. Anyway, I have a beautiful shot of O that I love, and I've gotten clearer on my own creative process.

I'd love to hear how you create and what inspires you!


  1. i love this book. i purchased it for myself and others for christmas. since i started blogging, i noticed that some people get really stuck on/obsessed with originality... with others copying/"stealing" their idea... i love jim jarmusch's quote on this. my best work (whether writing/cooking/pictures) is done in the direct influence/inspiration of others' "best work"... even instagram (in my eyes) is a big collection of inspiration, that i "steal" for my own creative endeavors. i adore your image :).

    1. Thanks Torrie! Yes, same thinking here about creating and the online world. I love the book and find the topic of how people create so interesting. Thanks for commenting! xx