Knowing how to paint and having all the tools and supplies is only the first part of painting. Now you must figure out what you will paint. Inspiration comes from all kinds of sources. What inspires me is not necessarily what inspires you. You will ultimately have to figure out how to find inspiration to paint in your own way, but here are some ways that help me.
I have spent countless hours on the road over the years. I have driven many of western and northern Canada’s highways. I have even driven from my home in Edmonton to Cabo San Lucas. On every one of these journeys I have witnessed nature’s stunning beauty. Occasionally I have taken photos. More often I just admire as cruse on down the road. Since I started painting I try to snap a quick picture just to remind myself of magnificence of what I have seen.
There are many very specific spots and views that I have in mind to recreate on canvas. Different landscapes and colors. The time of year can change the way an area looks not necessarily for better or worse, but beautiful in a unique way. Summer greens, fall yellows and reds, winter snow. Depending on the time of year it could be completely different.
So, take a drive, bring a camera, or even bring your paints. What better place to relax and paint than in nature. I promise you won’t have to go far to find a nice scene, especially when you are looking for it.
Photos and Paintings
Just looking at someone else’s art can inspire you to create. I am not saying to copy someone else, but if you did it would still be your painting. You probably won’t turn out something identical. It may be the same general image, but your style and tiny little variations will make it yours.
Maybe seeing someone else’s images will spark a memory or dream in your own mind and you can create from that. There are no rules here. National Geographic and other magazines have images from around the globe. The internet is full of beautiful scenes that would be a treat to paint.
I have been inspired by my own painting. Amid completing one of my paintings I had an image in my head of what I thought would be a great project. It was too late to add to or change what I had already done in that painting. But I was fired up to start the vision I had in my mind. When the vision was finally laid onto the canvas it became one of my favorites. I sometimes even think about recreating it with a few twists.
Dreams and Memories
Perhaps there is a place you remember, or a dream you had. Some of the best paintings come from these places. If you can find inspiration from a dream or memory, it is all you. There is nothing purer to me that inspiration that comes from within yourself.
How do you get there? It may be as simple as sharing a dream with someone. Or writing it down before you forget. Talking about it or writing it down will make you think about some of the details and it can turn from a dream into almost a memory.
Have a discussion with someone you have known for some time. Talk about the past, laugh about the good old days. Your parents, or siblings can help to bring back memories of your childhood. Just try to visualize the places and the images as well as the situation. These things will give far greater meaning to a painting.
Just let it flow
Sometimes if you just get into it and start painting, a vision of what you want begins to develop in front of you. You don’t need a plan. All you need is imagination, memory, and dreams. Once you start, you may find that the painting tells you what it needs.
Even when trying to paint an image of something that I am looking at, I let the subtle things from my mind fill some space. These are the things that make the painting yours. Be brave, and try something new. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted or expected its just a painting. You can always paint another one.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you did, let me know. If you have comments or questions, feel free to leave them below.
Thanks for reading,