How I find Inspiration

How to Find Inspiration is a Guest Post from writer Becky Joy. Becky’s blog can be found online at BeckyJoy.com or you can follow her on twitter (here). 

 

Being aware of all the different sensations around me as I take a walk is a great way to provide some inspiration for painting, being “in the moment” as they say. Use your senses and really take in the world around you.

The smell of the fresh air can trigger a memory or a different focus on a scene. Watching the movement of the clouds or the changing colors of the sky helps me to get lost in a vision and into a new world.

I close my eyes and feel the wind on my face imagining other days and times. Touching the smooth texture of leaves or the rough bark of a tree will rekindle memories of places I’ve experienced.

It’s times like these that my mind starts to wander and I envision new and evolving scenes that often become my next painting.

 


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Copyright 2011 – Seven Sentences – Find Inspiration

39 thoughts on “How I find Inspiration

  1. I love the way sense memory and nature can engage the imagination. Thanks for sharing Becky… Is texture big  not only in your imagination but also in your work?

    1. Texture is big in my work. It’s another dimension, smooth, rough. I used to love the times when the kids were just starting school after a noisy summer. I would relish  a walk in the quiet when the leaves were just turning and a gentle breeze. Those are the times I really live in the moment and my mind begins to wander. I guess that is such a big part of plein air painting. Quiet and becoming an integral part of the scene. Thank you Geoff for letting me express myself here. 

  2. I can so relate to this post.  Whenever I find myself stuck for words I take a drive out into the wheat fields or rolling hills surrounding my small home town–everything seems to fit into a perfect order in nature.  When I touch it, smell it and even taste it I too am ‘reordered’, calmed and inspired! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. What a great topic! And you’ve managed to create a kind of dream state at the same time. Nice writing!

    For me, the best thing for getting past blocks is to occupy my hands. I do chores, get into the garden, play with my son. Anything that requires my attention and also involves exertion. 

    As a monk, I’d spend a morning chopping wood, digging trenches, hauling rocks, framing a wall. Good physical work that also required my brain. Then, in the afternoon, I was ready to write. 

    Getting into nature or going for a run are also helpful, but I find I can still end up focused on the writing because my head remains free to wander. 

    Picking up a tool and setting to a task keep me focused, divert my creativity in a new direction and give my writing side a real honest to goodness break. 

    1. Hi Peter,

      What an awesome reply, I love your description of a monk chopping wood, digging trenches and hauling rocks. It’s very tactile, very rough, very masculine. Often we don’t associate a “healthy monasticism” with these things.

      Digging in a trench is a very spiritual thing isn’t it? Well it can be.

      So good, thanks for sharing friend.

      Geoff

  4. I’m in a season of life where I’m surrounded by noise – 4 kids, homeschooling, ministry, husband with ADHD, etc.  I have found that the sound of water releases not only clear thinking, but creative thinking for me.
    I realized one day that my best ideas, my best prayers, my best problem-solving was in the shower. So I experimented:  was it the solitude, or was it the sound?
    Turns out, it was the sound! Instantly, I remembered how I always gravitated towards rivers as a child. Now, with no rivers around, I have a “white noise” app of rain falling or water flowing, I take longer showers, keep the windows open when the sprinklers are going, I even discovered washing dishes brings me a quick creative release!

    1. Hi Kate,

      Great comment about water. I am from New Zealand which is surrounded by water; everywhere you go is pretty much close to the ocean, so I think it is the same for me.

      There is something soothing about liquid, something creative and lush isn’t there?

      You are awesome for sharing.

      G

      1. Oddly enough, if I’m by a natural source of running water (like a river) I zone out and relax, but create nothing (at least, not directly).  
        I’m waiting for someone to produce waterproof voice recognition software/equipment.  :)  By the time I dry off, half of my genius has disappeared.  One of my kiddos overheard me tell that to my husband and she piped up, “Maybe its stuck on the shower curtain.  Try licking it.”
        I’m almost desperate enough to give it a shot . . . 

  5. beautiful sensory imagery.  and I agree that nature can inspire ideas for new creations.  the change of scenery, the freedom, the beauty.  there is just something truly inspirational about creating outdoors, too.  I love to spend time outside when I am working on something new.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. I like to be outdoors, but I actually do most of my creative work inside staring at a white wall or an empty screen. I think the outdoors informs my indoor work…

      Is this the same or different for other readers?

      1. When I paint, I’m definitely first staring at a white screen, which drives me crazy!  But when I write,  I often like to be in a boisterous, colorful cafe.   Somehow the surrounding energy ignites my creativity, my voice. 

      2. For me, being outdoors is a nice refresher physically . . . but it tends to exhaust me creatively.  If I’ve spent the day out of doors, I simply can’t write.  
        On the other hand, staring at a blank screen makes me want to punch it.  :)

  6. The most common and ordinary sights often become a creative written expression of wonder. My brain just works in that way. A dedication plaque on a boardwalk bench, a thick fog on the way to work, a too brief obituary, a wedding vow; these have all caused me to wonder in some way, which then prompted the writing.

    Then there are wondrous sights; the ocean, a sunrise, a rainbow. The beautiful creative nature of nature often leads me to wonder, and therefore leads to writing.

    Reading the writing of others also causes me to wonder; an interesting blog, a great new book, a poem in a magazine…where did their ideas come from? My own ideas spring forth from that wondering and then, again, I write.

    1. If we allow our mind to wander all the sights can be wondrous. It probably is why I love plein air painting so much. Its as much being a part of the experience as it is the process of painting.

  7. The most common and ordinary sights often become a creative written expression of wonder. My brain just works in that way. A dedication plaque on a boardwalk bench, a thick fog on the way to work, a too brief obituary, a wedding vow; these have all caused me to wonder in some way, which then prompted the writing.

    Then there are wondrous sights; the ocean, a sunrise, a rainbow. The beautiful creative nature of nature often leads me to wonder, and therefore leads to writing.

    Reading the writing of others also causes me to wonder; an interesting blog, a great new book, a poem in a magazine…where did their ideas come from? My own ideas spring forth from that wondering and then, again, I write.

  8. Another great guest post …thanks for sharing  it and the wonderful comments below. too. Sometimes even the smallest thing can trigger your creativity….. Personally i feel that your senses are like separate doors to your heart…for this is where your inspiration and love manifests itself and connects with your surroundings / feelings.

    In all the replies i see elements of  a creative ‘passion’  rising to the surface from, through and to the heart …to be expressed in words, upon canvass, the touch  of a hand , a smile, happiness all a release through Divine energy  bestowed and growing within and around us. It is uncanny as ( not to press my religious / love and light feelings upon others) that God never wastes.  Becky’s post tugs at my heart because it is like God’s Creation of all life  is like  saying…take notice of me. All these wonderful comments below highlight the beauty within and around us don’t you think?  ( Hope i won’t offend anyone   /or  upset you Geoff … if i add these words below….as its from a post i did on my own blog the other day but i feel it fits right here ..not detracting but linking with Becky’s amazing post. God Bless all. Have a great Sunday  Dave AscensionForYou

    Know that I am the warmth if you were cold and the drink that would quench your thirst.

    I am the light when you are blinded by darkness and  the land that encircles the ocean of doubt.

    I am the sky and clouds that drift by watching over you.

    I am the mountain that you climb in earnest to eventually
    reach the peak, standing alone ….yet entwined within my heart you’ll be.

    I am the fragrance of sweetness from a flower and the air that fills your lungs.

    I am the touch that caresses your face in a loving embrace…..for  I am everything and everything I am.
     

  9. I would have to say everything inspires me.  I was actually inspired by a traffic light on my way home from work.  I was not inspired to write about cars or traffic or anything related to those things, but something about that traffic light in that place and time triggered a need to write an Irish-type blessing.  I have been inspired by driving down a specific road.  The creative gods must have lived in those trees and came to visit me now and again.  When I had my long and unbearable dry streak of several years, it was music that brought me out of it.  After that concert, the flood gates opened, and I have not stopped since.   I wish I could say that lying in a field of flowers or sitting by a waterfall helps me to create, but that is not the case.  Everything depends on where I am and what the creative gods want to send me.

    1. it’s true Belinda thanks for sharing, that is valuable. Inspiration can come from the strangest things, a piece of gum on a pavement, a misspelled word, hearing someone lie… it is amazing how creative the world around is.

  10. Strangely enough, recently some of my best inspiration has come on the days I serve on the production team as camera operator. In the green room during breaks, full of musicians and other creative people–all that commotion and energy–I open up the Mac and start blogging. 

    Inspiration also comes from being outdoors. Sometimes just sitting on the porch swing, reading, I’ll pick up my journal when the inevitable questions start turning in my mind. I’ve gone hiking in search of water falls or streams–love the sound of water rolling over rocks.

    I have 4 adult kids, and often times their journeys have been very inspiring. They’re my heroes.

  11. Love it! It’s important to be present and engaged. I’m reminded of this quote – “There’s no point in saying, ‘I don’t have an idea today, so I’ll just smoke some drugs.’ You should stay alert for the moment when a number of things are just ready to collide with one another…You have to move quickly when the time comes, and the time might come very infrequently – once or twice a year, or even less.” – Brian Eno

    Thanks!

    Jay

    1. Thank you Jay. Yes, being present and engaged is so important. Sometimes we need to stop and really use our senses, to think about it. One idea always seems to generate more if you are willing to let them flow.

  12. Thank you Geoff for your blog. I happened upon this blog and loved the idea of expressing my thoughts. I express through paint and am often mute when it comes to words. Thanks for the opportunity.

  13. The best of my creative self was revealed while I was close to sea. Even today, when ever  I get a chance to visit a beach. the touch of water, by itself generates rhymes in my mind. 

    Being outdoors is a great source of inspiration, I don’t under the chemistry, but a truth it is. 

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