Artists find inspiration from many different sources. Visuals of course fire our imagination, as does scent, memory, music, a place, or a snippet of conversation. A contrast of textures can get us thinking about technique, as can a new brush or a handmade paper.
Sometimes inspiration is sneaky, and catches us by surprise. I recently rediscovered a favorite poem, and realized how perfectly it captures the way I feel about painting, especially landscapes:
I shall keep some cool green memory in my heart
To draw upon should days be bleak and cold.
I shall hold it like a cherished thing apart
To turn to now or when I shall be old.
Perhaps a sweeping meadow, brightly green,
Where grasses bend and the winds of heaven blow
Straight from the hand of God, as cool and clean
As anything the heart of man can know.
Or it may be this green remembered tree
That I shall turn to if the nights be long,
High on a hill, its cool boughs lifting free,
And from its tip, a wild bird’s joyous song.
A weary city dweller to survive
Must keep some cool green memory alive.
Grace Noll Crowell – Keep Some Green Memory Alive
Even in the portraits I paint, whether they be people, animals or objects, I realized that I look for that breathing room that nature offers us. A sense of stillness, a moment of calm, a feeling of rest-that’s what you’ll find in most of my paintings. In a juried show filled with vibrant color and intense energy, they often get overlooked, waiting for the second pass to catch a viewer’s eye. That’s OK-it’s easier to live with a whisper of a breeze than a gale-force wind…