It’s like bottled inspiration and I drink from it daily.
To fire up inspiration in my life, I keep artwork all around me.
When I was a young school girl, I loved making drawings based on artwork I was familiar with. I was exposed to a variety of visual art both through the small progressive school I attended — which emphasized creating art, and because my Dad was a painter and we had his and other art all over the house.
Marc Chagall’s paintings, in particular, were so magical to me. I kept handfuls of postcards — reprints of his most famous pieces, with me. I treasured those postcards. Inspired, I would draw balletic, long legged, mystical creatures and falling angels over and over again.
Sometimes I cut paper shopping bags into pieces, and would draw Chagall-inspired figures and scenes on the sides with the handles. Then I’d hang these on doorknobs around the house.
Today, my husband and I collect and hang original pieces in our home — often they are paintings we collect at yard sales, or those made by little known painters and street artists. I also collect art when we travel, a hobby I began over a decade ago when I studied abroad in Europe.
Our church, too, has an art gallery and every couple of months they curate a new collection. My husband and I like to walk through the art gallery after church services and talk about the pieces we see, and how they make us feel.
I still keep postcards with reprints of my favorite famous pieces in the back of my daily planner. I love Renaissance art, the Romantic Tradition in British Painting, and Modern Art. I’m not partial to one style or genre over another, though. If a piece inspires me it doesn’t matter who made it or when or where — I’m enlightened!
Looking at a piece of art that moves me emotionally supercharges my creative juices and motivates me to make something, myself.
For example, after viewing art I often want to take a positive action that benefits other people — like writing a new article or a poem, thinking up a brand-new meal to cook for my family, starting a volunteer project, saying a prayer, or calling a someone to talk.
Art makes me feel alive. It makes me feel more colorful, more textured, and more complex inside. Sometimes, when I look for a long time at a single piece, it does the opposite — it simplifies things for me when chaos abounds.
The artwork I enjoy can be joyful or sad. When I was in college, I felt a connection to a piece by John Constable called, “Hadleigh Castle, The Mouth of the Thames — Morning after a Stormy Night.” This oil on canvas piece from 1829 was showcased at the Yale Center for British Art where I worked.