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Find inspiration close to home

Find inspiration close to home on ARTiful, painting demos by Sandrine Pelissier
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Find inspiration close to home

I like to think that everything we like to do in our everyday lives is going to influence more or less what we create and what we paint. Your day to day life and interests can be an interesting source of inspiration, sometimes in a conscious way sometimes we just realize the influence of our experiences afterwards.

Here are a few ways you can find inspiration in your everyday life:

Paint what is around you

It could be your family and fiends , everyday simple objects, the landscape of the place where you live.

Your family and friends

When I started painting watercolor, I was mostly interested in portraits. I did many portraits of my family and friends and self portraits as well. It was what I wanted to paint, even though I knew these paintings would be more difficult to sell, I am happy I did it and that I have these memories of my kids growing up.

find inspiration by painting your family and friends

Family and friends are making inspiring subjects for portraits. They are usually very patient and willing to pose:)

Everyday Objects

There is some poetry in the rendering of everyday objects, you don’t need a grandiose landscape to make a good drawing or painting, sometimes just the most mundane objects can be inspiring.

paint everyday objects

Drawing of a lemon with dry pastels

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find inspiration in the objects from your everyday life

White Coffee: Mixed media painting

The place where you live

Maybe it is just me, but it always felt weird to paint a landscape if I am not there at the time of the painting. Even if it is a place I have been to and I brought back my own reference pictures, there is something that doesn’t feel right. I am currently located in British Columbia and we are very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful rain forests, the sea and mountains, so many opportunities to find inspiration.

For me, it is the forest that is the most inspiring and I have been working on a series of forest paintings for a few years now.

paint the place where you live

On either side of the river was painted from a reference picture I took in North Vancouver, Mosquito creek. I am familiar to this place because I walked my dog there a few times. You can see a bit of the river behind the trees.

Find inspiration in your activities

The things you like to do can be an endless source of inspiration, whether it be hiking, swimming, sewing or listening to music. These experiences can find a way in your Art. Here are two examples from my personal experience.

Crochet

I like to crochet and have been crocheting over big river rocks so I can use them as decoration, paper weights or door stopper.

get inspired to create

Then I noticed that some of the patterns I was using in my paintings were very much looking like the patterns I was crocheting on the rocks and that the idea is basically the same: covering an element of the landscape with patterns.

Then, keeping up with that direction, I decided that the patterns I was going to add on my next forest painting were going to be crochet diagram patterns. If you have been doing a bit of crochet, you will recognize the symbols right away. I see that painting as some kind of virtual yarn bombing 🙂

inspired by crochet patterns

The patterns in this painting are crochet patterns.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

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patterned trees

Hooked on Trees: Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.

Life Drawing

I am part of a life drawing group in North Vancouver, we meet weekly for 3 hours of uninstructed life drawing. Life drawing is becoming more and more of an inspiration for my work. In class, I am always impressed at how much each drawing has an individual style, even with beginners. In many of my drawings I now outline an area before shading with hatching or cross hatching.This is an habit that developed over time, even though some teachers will advice you not to outline your shading areas so they blend more, I like the look of it.

find inspiration in your life drawing class

In many of my life drawings I am outlining areas to shade before hatching them.

This way of working with life drawing actually found its way into my landscape paintings. This is the latest forest painting I have been working on, adding patterns to the tree trunks that are reminiscent of the shading I used for life drawing:

adding patterns to a tree with markers

The patterns on the tree trunks are done the same way as the shading on life drawings.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

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patterned tree

Here is a small video that shows how I added the patterns to the tree trunks:

Do you have examples of how your everyday life and your activities are inspiring your Art, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments (12)

  1. Hi Sandrine
    Just to let you know how much i love your tree paintings, they are fantastic.
    My newest venture is with monoprints of leaves,done on tracing paper and used for lampshades. It works well as a light and looks good!
    Regards
    Carolyn

    1. Thank you Carolyn!

  2. Olafia Gísladóttir

    Hi Sandrine and my fellow students. I love forest and your forest pictures are so wonderful and they are the main reason I decided to take your class. I live in a country where there are no big forrests, but instead we have a great vast land whith black sand, mountains, glaciers and volcanoes. But we can sense the change of the weather which is changing a lot so we are beginning to see trees growing where there have been no trees, by seeds comming with the wind. And the glaciers are retreating immencely. I hope that you will have a class where you teach painting trees. I like all your writings which are very encouraging and inspirational. Hope to finish my last drawings soon so I can take some other of your classes. Best regards,

    1. Thanks olafia, the landscapes around your place are incredible! It is sad to see the the climate warming is having so much effect already.
      I will be very happy to see your next drawings for the class 🙂

  3. Therese

    From a very young age, I loved trees, plants, grasses, flowers, rocks, the foliage of certain flowers. As a beginning watercolor, oil painter, I rarely used a reference. It was as if those images were implanted in my brain, and I was able to duplicate them in my work. Of course, I went on to discover the color, composition and various elements of Art. I tell my students that “artists see, others look” and encourage them to really see the world around them. Sandrine, your work has been a great inspiration, and I have learned much from you. The painting of your trees was what brought me to you…Thank you for your generous giving of your talent.

    1. Thanks Therese. This is great to hear that you could remember pictures of nature without a reference picture, as they left a trace in your memory!
      I am using pictures as a starting point but the more the painting progresses the less I will rely on the picture.
      I also really like your quote about artists seeing and not just looking.
      I wish you all the best in your painting explorations 🙂

  4. Eddi Reid

    It was your use of pattern which attracted me to your paintings. I love the freedom. And I find patterns just about everywhere although my garden and the world of nature are my biggest inspiration; the leaves on a hedgerow, a vine, petals, clouds. It’s amazing what one can really see when taking the time to look. When I first began painting, an artist said to me that she didn’t know what other people could see. I think the point was that she wondered that they didn’t see! That remark opened my own eyes for sure.
    Life is wonderful – just LOOK!

  5. Barbara Balkin

    What a great cross-reference to the patterns in crocheting! My grandmother taught me when I was small–this is a wonderful way to re-create that memory for me. Your topic “…Close To Home” reminds me one of my posts encouraging even non-artist types to ‘just draw’, even if it’s on a napkin. Thanks for the encouragement! http://myartkin.com/heck-creativity-anyway/

    1. Thanks Barbara!
      I love your idea of drawing on napkins! And I agree with you,making Art should be FUN 🙂

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  7. Rupa

    Your painting of the trees and the river behind them is amazing! I always wonder where to begin on such a painting…there are so many trees, you need to create that depth to show some trees in the foreground, some n the background etc. I would love to see a demo of such a painting to learn the steps please……Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks Rupa 🙂
      I am very glad to hear that you like the painting.
      I did publish a step by step demo for this painting a while ago, you can see it there:
      https://paintingdemos.com/painting-trees-and-leaves-on-either-side-of-the-river-watercolor-on-paper/

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