What Inspires Artwork?

What Inspires Artwork?

When I walk into a museum or a gallery such as Broadway Galleries and I see all the beautiful artwork I am always in awe of the talent I see. I also get curious about how the artist came up with such an idea or perspective and it made me dig around for some answers, where does the inspiration come from?

strong willis wharf fisherman

Willis Wharf Fisherman by Ken Strong

When looking for an answer, I realized the world we live in is full of life and beauty which is a great source of inspiration. Being outdoors is a great place to find something new, whether you get a city scene of bustling people, buildings, or even rustic landscapes. Many people go to cities or the countryside and bring a camera along to capture the image and bring it back to the studio.


A John Bannon piece

Other artists can be inspired by their emotions. This can be referenced by Picasso’s ‘blue period’ where he was depressed and did a series all in dark and somber blue tones. Emotions can bring about new ideas and help shape the overall mood of a piece of artwork. If you are happy, you might be inspired to do something in bright and lively colors. Many pieces of dark and menacing artwork are created out of feelings of anger.

beatty revelation of the heart 2

Beatty’s Revelation of the Heart 2

Dreams! Dreams are another great source of inspiration for artists. When we sleep, our subconscious if free to wander and indulge it its own creativity. Dreams have been an inspiration for art for centuries. Dreams have been referenced as far back as the stories of Gilgamesh and the Iliad. Salvador Dali was influenced by dreams. Since we often forget what we dream, a good habit for artists is to sleep with a pen and pad of paper next to the bed.

A whole other area of inspiration is music, which can inspire an artist just as easily as a picture. Music creates a mood and is closely tied with using emotions in art. Just about all artists have a stereo of some mind in their studio to listen to music. When you are searching for idea for your next piece, put on some music that you like that is appropriate for getting in the right frame of mind.

sokol hohne abstract

Sokol-Hohne Abstract piece

Hanging out with and talking shop with other artists is a valuable way to bounce ideas back and forth. Not every artist thinks alike, after all. It is highly likely that one of your peers may have a different idea than you. Many artists are very supportive of others in their community and are more than happy to give (and receive) advice. Go to gallery openings and talk with other artists. Hang out in their studio and see what they have been working on. There are also online art communities where you can chat or post topics in forums. These sites can be tremendously useful to an artist, especially if they do not live near an art community.


Art can inspire something gorgeous like this!

Media in its different forms can be just as inspirational as real life. Often artists get ideas for a new piece by watching movies or reading books. Subject matter can vary widely and it really depends on the interests of the artist. You might be inspired by a work of pure fiction or you might like historical or biographical material.

One of the biggest sources of inspiration for artists is the works by other artists. Many artists trying to find a new idea will look at samples and portfolios of others to see how they approached an idea. You can do this by going to a gallery and looking at the pieces of art being displayed. There are galleries with everything from the works by the old masters to modern and contemporary artists. In other words, there is something for everyone.

Another way to find inspiration is to try to do something new and different. If you have been working in the same style or the same subject matter for awhile, change it up. Copy someone else’s style or just go in the opposite direction from what you normally do. If you mostly draw, try painting. If you paint, try sculpture. Switch out realism for impressionism and vice versa. By trying something new, it can make you think in a different direction.

Carry a sketchbook or a camera; you never know when inspiration may strike. You may discover something by accident one day or pass something on the street. An image may just pop into your head. Always try to keep some pen and paper nearby to jot down these ideas!

shojaei amore1

Amore by Shojaei

I would have to agree with these findings that being outside in nature gives me a boost of creativity, especially when it is summer! Tell us, what inspires you?

Broadway Galleries

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