Think back to something you have seen that gave you the “oh wow” response. It might originate from an unusual use of color, or an atmosphere that you find intriguing. You can always trust your “oh wows!”. They are telling you that you love that subject and that look. Perhaps there’s an “oh wow’ in one of your own photographs, or a photo you see in a magazine. And always remember that a composite of several different things that you love can be truly remarkable when they are brought together in a painting. Artistic license.
One important element to inspiration is building a file of subjects you love. I like painting the atmosphere of early morning light. My files contain titles like Morning Light/ Still Water, Morning Light/ Desert, and Morning Light/ Fog. From those files I can build a scene of early morning on a desert road. From there I can go to the file I have created for desert roads and combine the atmosphere and the subject matter to create the look I desire. Don’t forget you can search your web browser for those difficult-to-find images.
I enjoy working with children and the young ones show great imagination. Two sisters received painting lessons from me each Christmas. I asked them to bring ideas and one time the eldest girl decided on a grizzly bear catching a fish in a roaring stream. I had the roaring stream and I also had the grizzly in my files. Easy. The seven-year-old sister walked into the studio and announced, “I shall paint a lady, wearing a blue kimono and holding a parasol while standing next to a flowering cherry tree. I had to scramble to come up with that one, but I found the elements in my giant 5x6 foot file cabinet in the garage! This is an extreme example but it illustrates the beauty of keeping files of the things that are interesting to you. My files are both on line and also in my file cabinet.
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