Sunday, March 20, 2011

Paint What You Love

Most creative people are familiar with this saying, or ones like it. It's something we say to one another when we need inspiration and encouragement.

But it becomes especially important for commercial artists when deadlines, contracts and other demands of the business crowd their way to the front of our minds and it is hard to focus on anything else. At times like that, artists need to remember why they were inspired in the first place -- to spend time with the people or things makes their hearts sing.

A few years ago, after a couple decades of trying to chase the latest trends, I decided that the rural side of life -- anything farmy, kitcheny, homey, gardeny, earthy (the last one being the only actual word of that bunch!) -- is where I am most at home creatively. Though I always keep current trends and the preferences of my customers in mind, images of life in the country are always my best motivator. As we all are with places we love, I'm drawn to it, whether at home or traveling.

A dear friend once told me that he has spent most of his life trying to recreate his grandmother's farm. I realized in that moment that I do the same thing -- and since having our son, it's become even more fun to create a comfortable nest for my family that is reminiscent of that farm. Perhaps that is why I couldn't help but take a picture of this little bouquet my husband brought home last week. He found it on property he maintains for his conservation job -- where an old farm used to sit by a spring (don't you love it when the flowers keep blooming long after the house has been torn down?). It was delivered to me in a little water bottle, gently wrapped in a wet blue shop towel.

Just that morning I had received an request from a customer to include blue Ball jars, as she collects them. So I found one of the blue jars that came from my grandparent's house in Iowa and gave the flowers a roomier home. The bouquet seems quite content on our old metal table. And my heart has been singing away since then!

What inspires you?


Christine said...

I love these jars and use them a lot! Would love to see the painting of this pretty jar and flowers!

Shelly said...

If all goes well, Christine, it might be part of the 2013 calendar. We'll see!

The Farmer's Wife said...


I am more into photography and light inspires me, coupled with strong form, be it a face or lines of the corral. There's a magic hour in the late afternoon with light that makes all things it touches lovely.

Aren't daffodils the friendliest of flowers? They just make me smile, because of their nodding ruffly heads and lovely shoulders of green...