Inspiration Archived

Updated: Jan 9

Intuition is the beginning, it lets the muse in.... then what? This is where a process, a creative process helps. Inspiration is next.

Inspiration is a subset of your life's influences. We are all influenced by many things, past and present. The inspirational influences I am talking about here are the ones that relate to the original intuitive idea. Gather these and you connect the dots. Inspirational influences are unique to each creative idea and each creative person.

Here is a list of influences worth considering:

Personal story, history, interests, places

Connections to other disciplines such as literature, science, sport, dance

Purpose: artmaking for private or public audiences

Maker: individual or collaboration

Media: so many choices, too many to list

Genre: still life, landscape and portrait

Approaches: Realism to Abstraction, 2D or 3D, functional or non-functional

Education: self taught, Atelier or BFA

Take time to ponder and acknowledge what has inspired you. Allow these influences to come to the surface. Deciding the importance and hierarchy of these influences will come later. For now, inclusion is key to pollinating creativity.

To illustrate, here is one of my first oh-my-gosh magical influences from my early years: the artwork of Norman Rockwell. His ability to create the illusion of 3-dimension on a 2-dimensional surface was a trick I still feel compelled to master. His work was recently exhibited at the Denver Art Museum. I was as enchanted with his approach to realism at the age of 57 as I was at age 13 - more so because I understood the painter behind the illustrator.

I am inspired by Colorado. I could share a lot about the inspiration I have experienced at places like this - Loveland Pass. There is something about standing 12,000ft above sea level that broadens perspective. I may never be able to explain quantitatively why this is so and, perhaps, that is the point. Inspiration is an individual experience. If place of inspiration for you, acknowledge it as an experience of sight, sound, touch and taste, smell. Acknowledge it for its psychological and emotional impact. This will help guide your personal artistic expression.

As a landscape painter with a childhood filled with family hikes through National Parks, the Hudson River School of painters is something I have been aware of since my teens in the late 70's.

My gathered (and condensed-version) exploration of the Hudson River School goes like this:

As the colonists and then new Americans of the late 17th century began to move west, and by west here I mean move towards the Hudson River in eastern New York, they were astounded by the purity of the landscape, which, in part inspired a purity of ideals. They imagined they had found Nirvana, a place of perfection and the perfect birthplace for Democracy. A group of painters, mostly trained in Europe, dedicated themselves to painting this new land with all it's possibilities and promise. They became know as the Hudson River School painters which became known as the first American style. This group of painters continued west with the expansion of the U.S. The monumental and majestic images painted by this group of painters proved instrumental in the creation of our National Parks.

Disclaimer: above is my narrative, my personal exploration gathered and condensed since my teens. If you want more for your own personal exploration, I recommend these websites:

The Hudson River School Overview | TheArtStory

Why The Hudson River School Of Art Is Significant (

Hudson River school | American art movement | Britannica

Albert Bierstadt. The Rocky Mountains, Landers Peak. 1863

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