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Artists are frequently asked where they find inspiration, and it’s a question I ask myself repeatedly, digging into the answers with varying levels of seriousness in my mind and in my work.  I do feel inspired on a daily basis, but sometimes it is all I can do to catch on to those wisps of inspiration and really take them somewhere.  In the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about the big picture of what has inspired me in sustained ways in my artist’s life, as well as examining the brief flashes that come when I least expect them.  These flashes might turn into little art pieces, and that’s where they stop. Or they might have the potential to turn into a series of works with the same idea threading through all of them.

I want to share some examples here of those points of inspiration, the ones I’ve found myself, and the the things that have inspired my children artistically.

These seed pods were collected by the kids, and collecting dust in the garage.  Looking at the beautiful forms I realized that they would make a good ink painting challenge…just a small point of inspiration, from a small object.

green pods

We checked out this picture book from the Public Library, Maze Ways, by Roxie Munro, and the boys pored over every letter of the alphabet in maze-like form, and followed each path to its end with their fingertips.

book cover

N, O page

Later, unprompted, my two youngest boys sat down and did this collaborative and directly inspired drawing:

the boys' maze

There are roads, beaches, policemen, workers, and a construction site in this drawing, and amazingly, the two artists were for the most part in agreement about how the drawing should develop.  (teamwork!)

And then there is the big brother to little brother inspiration that I see over and over again, especially in the drawings…

Biggest brother draws this:

yes, it is Star Wars again

with this kind of attention to detail


middle bother draws this:

battle scene landscape with parachuters

and this, with weapon drawing tips (upper left-hand corner) from big brother:

this drawing took many days

and this after watching a western cartoon:

must be a saguaro

and a horse-drawn carriage

and the youngest brother takes his turn:

"these are clones"

clone ship detail with red clones

Just as these boys inspire each other, watching them at work and play inspires me, constantly.  Even if just to pick up a pen in a spare moment.

I draw kids drawing

kids drawing

another napper


I’m trying to take these small creative flashes of my own to another level now, by thinking about how they might lead to bigger artwork that I want to be doing.  The boys surprise me every day with their spontaneity, dedication, and artistic gusto, and yes, I’m inspired to be more like them.