Finding Inspiration in Art

By William R. Beebe in Art Business Advice > Motivation

One of the ways I find new energy and creativity for my work is by discovering new works by other artists.

I love stumbling upon a painting that I haven’t seen before, and when something particularly unique catches my eye, I just have to ask. . . who painted this?

I especially love visiting museums, and getting that feeling where I just can’t wait to see what is around the corner or up on the next floor. These are the moments when inspiration strikes me the most.

Recently I heard there was an Impressionist show at the Muscarelle Museum on the campus of William & Mary here in Williamsburg, and I dropped everything to see it, totally changing my plans for that afternoon.

I’m glad I did, too, because I saw new (to me) paintings by Degas, Childe Hassam, Monet, William Merritt Chase and Theodore Robinson.

That same type of inspiration also hits me every few months when American Art Review is delivered in our mailbox. I particularly am drawn to the American Impressionists that they feature on a regular basis.

Most of us are familiar with the well-known French Impressionists who started the Impressionist movement, but I dare say that many people are not aware of the number of Impressionist schools in the US which have produced artists equally as talented as the famous French painters.

Below are two paintings by American Impressionists that have captured my attention, energized me and made me wonder. . . who painted this?

The first is by Colin Campbell Cooper, entitled The Terrace at Samarkand.

Colin Campbell Cooper - The Terrace at Samarkand

And the second is Daniel Garber’s The Old Mill.

Daniel Garber - The Old Mill

This repetitive process of seeking and discovering “new” work by others has had a cumulative subliminal affect on me. I am currently planning my own series of Impressionist landscapes of the Virginia countryside inspired both by my recent visit to the Muscarelle Museum and from the American Impressionists featured in the American Art Review magazine.

For many years I have admired the Virginia countryside but this desire to paint it is new and exciting! I can envision the works already even though I haven’t photographed the subject matter. The images in my mind combine Impressionist techniques with memories of past travels around rural Virginia.

Rarely do I get so inspired to produce a painting much less a body of work without an image or images in front of me, and I know that my inspiration is directly because of the artwork I’ve been viewing.

If you’ve felt lacking in inspiration, or motivation lately, there’s nothing better than visiting a museum, or finding new work from artists who you admire.

Give it a try. . . I know I can’t wait to hit the road, and get started!

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