Hey Loves. I had a really great time hanging out with you last week during my Live Q + A Gig.
There’s one question I want to follow up on, and it’s this: “Which artists are inspiring you right now?”
I’m happy to give a shout out to some of my current sources of inspiration because I’m a big fan of supporting other artists (and humans in general), and I also believe finding inspiration from many, many sources is the best way to stay inspired and eventually find our own style.
On that note, have you ever wondered how to “find inspiration” from someone else’s art without copying or being overly derivative of their style?
This is a great thing to think about!
I dive more thoroughly into this topic in my online courses because I believe finding a style that is unmistakably our own is one the most honest and satisfying things about being an artist, but like most good things, it does time and effort.
Let’s start here…
George Raftopoulos. I love this unique color palette and images, and the mysterious space in the top left…and that funky hat!
Imagine you see a painting you love…something that really moves you.
Before trying to emulate it back at home, ask yourself what is about this piece that feels specifically inspiring?
For example, you might really love the energy of loose lines, the boldness of a certain color, the story behind the unique imagery, or the luminous quiet space. Maybe it’s a new medium, scale, or approach you’re feeling drawn to?
Whatever it is, choose ONE specific bit of inspiration as a jumping off point for your own explorations and experiments (even if you’re feeling inspired by the whole darn painting). Consider how you might fold that one little gem into what you’ve already been doing in order to birth something new.
(I once created a whole series of paintings using super super thick paint inspired by the texture in Susan Rothenburg’s work. My paintings looked nothing like her paintings, but her work inspired me to stop skimping on paint – hallelujah!).
Of course, building our ever-growing repertoire of new inspiration does not happen overnight, and it shouldn’t all come from other artists’ work.
Our unique life experiences and how we see the world can also provide the backbone of our artistic style if we’re willing to keep our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts open. You just never know what might move you and how it could make it’s way into your next painting!
Regardless of where you find those sparks, the key is to gather manysmall bits and pieces of inspiration, then combine them in a way that is all your own. This is YOUR STYLE.
And without further ado, here are a few more of my current inspirations (There are so many more, it was hard to choose!). The images all link to the artist’s Instagram pages, and I’ve also included what I specifically enjoy about each one in the caption. Enjoy.
Emma Larsson. I love the unique shapes and patterns within the shapes and how she’s using watercolors in a variety of ways.
Wangechi Mutu. I love her use of unique mixed-media materials, the super large scale in most pieces, and the social commentary that runs throughout her work. Her installations are amazing too!
Michelle Armas. I love the spaciousness, easy flow, and confidence in the simplicity of these soothing paintings.
Shrine. I love the way he incorporates unique found materials and how he puts them together into creative installations. I also love the design motifs!
Tina Berning. I love the unique way she used small bits of mixed-media materials along with watercolor. I also love her unexpected color combos, and the freedom and fluidity in each piece. Truly emotive faces!