Finding Inspiration


A Photograph of the stream.

As motivated and excited as most of us are to paint, we all go through periods where the muse is hiding. The time is allotted, the pastels arranged, the surface prepared, and the inspiration is just absent. When this happens, a surefire way of recharging those batteries of inspiration is a road trip. As a landscape painter, and one that loves working en plein air, I find exploring new territory and allowing for serendipity, will lead to enthusiasm. This adventure into the unfamiliar always stimulates the senses, allowing new ideas to form. Departing from a preplanned agenda and letting ourselves explore, opens our creative eye to the possibilities lying in wait.

Recently, I found myself in a state of low motivation. A series of deadlines and major painting commitments had taken their toll on my energy and had left me uninspired. Fortunately, I had a couple of artist friends who came to the rescue. We gathered one morning and wandered into a remote area of Central Oregon’s high desert. One of the friends was familiar with the region, so we at least had an idea of what might lie ahead – always wise to know if there is gas and an occasional rest stop along the way. As we headed off, we began to visit and even vent a little about the state of the art world. This is our artistic therapy session and something I highly recommend. What is
said within the confines of the car stays in the car – so freeing. As we ventured into what was new territory for me, one of the artists made a comment that really resonated: “it’s impossible to really see the potential of an area until you pull the car over and wander into the surrounding area.” With this in mind, we took the first pullout that allowed for the car to be off the road to put this theory into practice.

Once out, with cameras and sketchbooks in hand, the adventure began. Right in front of us was a beautiful stream, filled with brilliant blue reflections and the stunning contrast of the warm earth complementing it – wow – this was great! Before I could say “Sennelier,” one of the artists had headed off following the bank of the stream, it was as if we were all being drawn to follow it on its journey. Each bend held a new fascination. Cameras clicked and notes were taken as we continued on our mesmerizing journey. Hardly a word was uttered; we were transfixed by the visual scene unfolding before us. After a considerable amount of time, I realized we had wandered a great distance from the car, leaving the doors wide open in our enthusiasm. As I headed back to secure it, I found my energy restored; so many compositions, exciting color combinations, and textures had done the trick. I can hardly wait to see where this newfound inspiration leads.

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