Inspiration Near and Far

I am very fortunate to have traveled to some of the most lovely places in the United States to paint and teach. I love visiting new places, seeing new vistas, seeing how we are connected to the landscape. Next year, I’ll embark on some international painting trips for both teaching and for my own pleasure and education. But the truth is that one can find beautiful things to paint anywhere. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

One of the exercises I have my students do on the last day of one of my workshops is to look around the studio and find one object to paint large on a full sheet of paper. They usually moan and groan about “wasting” a good sheet of paper, but quickly see the beauty and elegance of making the usual, unusual;  painting using large, broad strokes. One doesn’t have to cross the country and haul your gear through miles of territory to find something worthy to paint.

This point was driven home for me the other day when I went for a walk on Elk Rock Island with a friend. This beautiful spot on the Willamette River is literally across the street from my studio. I’d been down to this beautiful park on only a couple occasions and then, had never bothered to take the time to really explore it.

This park in my back yard has all the makings for a wonderful painting spot to be explored and enjoyed over and over again. I’m sure I will visit it many, many times, never having to leave my neighborhood. Sometimes we overlook the obvious, or that which is right in front of us.

Inspiration for creativity is all around. The other morning I was treated to another reminder of this when I woke and looked out my window to find the driveway alley filled with chalk drawings. Some of the drawings depict the Kundalini. They were done by my neighbors and serve as an example of the many realms from which one can draw on creativity and energy.

I was reminded to keep and open mind and an open heart to discovering beauty. It could be across the country, across the street or alley or even across the room.

As always, Happy Painting.

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