Inspiration: Paintings

Some time ago I asked in my blog's Facebook what you'd like me to post about. Of course I shall continue sharing the crafts and DT work I do, but I wondered if there's something more that you'd like to know. Like something about the mediums I use, my favorite gesso brand or similar. What was suggested was a post about inspiration. So I decided to start a series of post concentrating on something that inspires me. I shall do them on a monthly basis and let's see how it goes.

On my first post I talked about music and how that's a constant source of inspiration to me. Today's topic of paintings and art in general is on the other hand much more recent source. Or rather - I've been visiting museums and exhibitions from an early age but even though the art shown there inspires me I've never turned that inspiration to particular works. Only recently, and mainly because of the "Inspired by" challenge Marsha and me are having, I've actually started turning that inspiration to concrete pages or creations. Like the page underneath, done just for an Inspired by challenge using a painting by Tove Jansson as inspiration. In that I used the strong stokes the original painting had as my inspiration and also mimicked the color scheme.

I honestly think anything can inspire, but works of others might be the easiest way to start gathering ideas and inspiration. You can find ideas for color palettes, for composition or for different materials you could use. I mean those artist have been doing, experimenting, learning and perfecting their skills for years and years! And there's so many to choose from! The naturalists, the surrealists, the impressionists, the cubists... No matter what style you are into, I'm sure that there's always something to get your ideas flying.

I really enjoy going to different exhibitions. I like seeing the old masters, the newcomers and art outside museum concepts. It's nice to visit great halls filled with art, the small galleries with just a few works on display or then bump into a piece of art in the middle of the city. But a word of advice: if you're planning a visit to a really big art museum, I highly recommend concentrating on some era or then skim through the whole collection really superficially. I learned that the hard way, you smply can't get it all in. I still remember hitting a wall of "too much art and inspiration" in Museu Nacional d'Art Catalunya when we were there with our high school group. Me and my friend decided to tour the whole museum, studying every piece. A big mistake. By the time we had gone through only the sections of medieval art and reached Renaissance halls we were so exhausted that the most beautiful art work we saw in the halls were the sofas. Surrounded by works of masters like Tiziano, El Greco and Rubens, we found the furniture most interesting. I mean for real! 

If you don't have an art museum or even a gallery in your home town, not to worry! Now on the time of the internet, you can even skim through the collections in the comfort of your own home. Many art museums offer online tours or glimpses of the exhibition. And in some, like Rijksmuseum, you can see almost all of the collection through the net. Of course a photo of the painting isn't the same as the actual work itself. The picture lacks the dimension the original work has - for example the texture of the brush strokes. But you can still be inspired by it!

When hunt for inspiration I think the way I would go is to concentrate on something tightly refined as the first try. Like one work of art, one painter or a certain style the easiest being a single work or a really defined style. That way you are not bombarded with millions of ideas and sources of inspiration but can more easily concentrate on something. Like taking a color scheme form the painting. Or the surface structure or the paint mediums used. Or then use the main lines of the composition to guide your placement of elements. Or maybe you'd be inspired by the subject of the painting?

Here's another example how I've turned my inspiration gathered from a painting into a project. The ATC underneath is a part of series that's done inspired by a movie, but this particular one is done inspired by a painting, "The Boy with Apple" in that movie. To me finding out the way that prop was made, how much planning and thought was put into it, was one of the gems that movie had. Not to mention that the painting itself was a beautiful, enigmatic one. I used the color scheme of the piece as well as the main focus of the painting as my main element. I even included the lace from the collar in my card.

Here's just a few ideas if you want to use paintings as an inspiration. Please feel free to add other ideas!

- choose a painting (from an online gallery for example) and study how the main elements are placed. Track your eye movements across the picture plane and try to transfer that info to your layout or art journal spread.

- document your favorite piece of art - why you like it, where have you seen it

- be inspired by the topic of the painting - document something everyday, your childhood scenery, a place of interest, your current mood...

- study a color palette of a painting and use it as a jumping off point to your own creation

- try out different art movements - be ethereal, naturalistic, cubist, whatever you can think of!

I hope you found this post interesting or perhaps even inspiring! I'll post another source and a few ideas how to use it next month. And also remember the "Inspired by" posts as I usually try to open up my process in them! Thank you for stopping by today! 


  1. Awesome!!! You got some really great work here! And thanks for stopping by my blog to say HELLO! : )

  2. At the moment I can use all the help I can get. I have never felt so uninspired, overwhelmed and totally useless at this. I have been browsing youtube to see the icons at work and it all looks so easy but when I try it it is just a flop. I am in such a bad space at the moment. I can't find my style or my groove or even my mojo. Time to walk away for a while I think :( Beatufiul inspiration here though.

  3. Inspired by is the best! :-D Great post!


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