Inspiring yourself to paint, paint, paint

As an artist, you are constantly looking both inwards and outwards for painting inspiration and there is an endless plethora of material out there to use. Whether it be from magazines (fashion, home decor), newspapers, films/documentaries, your hobbies (swimming, climbing, meditation, etc) through to your own life experiences and travel. Interaction with people from other cultures will provoke interest and comment. Experiencing the different sounds, smells and sights from countries around the globe will always continue to inspire artists as well.

Collage and tissue paper with acrylic and soft pastel
In my previous landscape paintings I have found it easy to find sources of inspiration, most of all in our own country. A few examples include sailing in the Lake District, to walking in the Cumbrian mountains, enjoying the solitude of the English countryside to the gorgeous canals of Venice and undulating, rolling hills and vineyards of Andalusia.

So yes, there are many excellent starting points for your paintings and its from here that it becomes a lot more interesting... and inspirational. Because now is the time to consider your paint, your materials, how you're going to paint it and what do you want to capture or highlight the most. 

Tissue paper underneath an
acrylic painting with charcoal
A few more examples at the ready then... why not try integrating one or two unique elements. Let's say you're painting the countryside, you could add straw/dried grass (not wet or it will go mouldy!) at the forefront of your composition, for beach scenes you can add sand to your paint which will make a gravely texture. Even mud can be incorporated! Then you have more studio based materials such as moulding paste or polyfilla. The types of brushes can give you a different energy than if you used palette knives. Not forgetting the type of paint you can use too. From watercolour, acrylic, gouache, pastels, ink to oils, there's so much choice that as an artist its actually quite easy to become overwhelmed by all this inspiration!

Lastly, you can try collage, another great material to integrate, as well as image transfer. The best bet is to experiment over and over again, this in itself is inspirational and will continue to motivate you as an artist for many years.

Do you have your own stories of insight, experimentation and inspiration? I'd love to hear them...

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