There are days when we might feel like making a drawing or painting but simply don’t know where to begin. This lack of inspiration feels like a barrier and one that can stop us from even starting ANYTHING!

  • Start to notice what fires your interest along the way.
  • Keep a sketchbook or journal.
  • Do you always have your phone handy to take a photo or to jot down an interesting quote?

This photo is from a family album. It is tiny, old, scratched and only 6cm square, but it inspired a recent painting for me. I was fascinated that this moment had been captured on a camera at a time when photography was not as commonplace as it is today. This feels like it is just a regular moment, something that you might see everyday. Something that in todays world we could easily capture on our mobile phones! It is not a posed photograph with considered props and lighting as was more usual in the day, but it captures movement and expression beautifully. I loved the way that it gave me a glimpse into the character of the horse and rider as he sat smiling up in the saddle.

As I was working, I noticed how the intrigue that I felt in an old photograph of a relative (whom I had never met) really did fire my interest! I became totally absorbed in “a world of my own”. I also found joy in the process of discovery. This joy in the art process is what brings a delight to the making and it is somehow revealed in the finished piece. It becomes apparent in the work for sure!

I have just a few old sepia photographs of my Grandfather. This sepia colour also served as a starting point. I set about creating a scene that had a sense of taking you back in time. Bright, garish colours wouldn’t have worked and the burnt orange in the painting came to be stronger in saturation nearer the end of the process.

So this is an important question to ask yourself:
What is it that captures my attention?

Is it something about the colours, the atmosphere, the light, the story, the place, the feeling… that you like? Identify what often inspires you and build up a sketchbook or journal (or the notes section in your phone) of observations, photos, drawings, paintings or quotes.

Do take a browse around my website to see more of my work and inspiration. Feel free to purchase a print of the finished work, Looking Ahead.