Thoughts on Painting - The Little Drawings "Inspired By"

I started this drawing series 3 1/2 years ago. It began with the drawing on the very top.

I had just started dating Steve, and he had spent the weekend here in my city. We had both encouraged each other in our respective arts - him in making music, and myself in painting and drawing. As soon as he got home he was inspired to start writing a song. He wrote a beautiful down-tempo electronic song called "Isaiah 40" . He played it for me over the phone, and I almost cried I loved it so much.

A week later, I received a package in the mail. Inside was a cassette tape (I know only 3 1/2 years ago, and we're talking 80's technology here), labeled "Music To Paint To". I slipped it in my stereo and the very first song that came on was "Isaiah 40". I almost cried again.

The song was so inspiring to me. I rewound the tape, pushed play and sat down on my bed and started praying. I opened my Bible and started reading the scripture "Isaiah 40". I was blown away by everything, and as I prayed, I got out my pencil and some paper and started sketching. After sketching, I sat in my room and started coloring my sketch for hours. I didn't resurface out of my room until I had to. Any spare moment I got, I was in my room working on this little drawing.

The next time Steve was down visiting me, I showed the little drawing to him. He loved it. He said he saw music in the abstract lines and colors. What was amazing, was I hadn't even told him what it was about yet...that it had been inspired by his music.

I continued on like that with the little drawings. They weren't all inspired by music. This little guy...

...was inspired by a book Steve and I read. We were dating long distance, living a 5 hour drive away from one another. We talked on the phone everyday, and sometimes...we read. Steve couldn't believe that I had never read "The Chronicles of Narnia". They were his favorite books growing up, so he pulled out the first book "The Magician's Nephew" and began reading it to me. He read to me every night until we finished it.

There is a part of the story where the kids get transported to a forest. They walk around and there are pools of water everywhere. When they walk into a pool of water and slip on one of their colored rings, the pool transports them to another world. Each pool is a portal to a different world. The forest is called "The Wood Between the Worlds"...which is also the name of this drawing. In an abstract way, I wanted to capture the pools of water amongst the thick layers of trees.

This guy...

...believe it or not, was inspired by my Geography 1000 class of all things. My professor was talking about GIS Maps (I just went and dug out my old geography binder to remember what they were called!), and he showed us a bunch of slides of GIS maps. I thought they were so beautiful, they looked like art. So I came home and did my own abstract drawing inspired by those beautiful maps.

So that's where the drawings stopped that year. I got too busy and couldn't keep up. I was only able to do one or two more little drawings, but I wanted a whole bunch of them. I wanted like...30...hanging on the wall together.

Then a year and a half ago, I was taking my Senior Studio, and you have to propose to your professor what you are going to work on for the semester. I couldn't wait to pick these little drawings back up. So I also created these:

This one was inspired by the artist Paul Klee and his block pattern paintings.

This one was inspired by the artist Matthew Ritchie, whose paintings look like whimsical explosions.

I had so much fun making these drawings. I didn't quite make it to 30 (only half that) but I am so happy with how they turned out. These are probably some of my favorite art that I have made in the last few years. I have been so uninspired to create, and my most recent paintings have been disappointments to me (more on that another day), that it makes me really happy to look at these drawings on my wall. My little "inspired by" drawings. They are so colorful and full of whimsy and life. Here are some more from the series.

I have so many favorites from this series. Definitely the ones I have already shown you are my favorites, but then others like the orange and brown one; it reminds me of kidneys and a bladder floating around in someone's body. The water fountain coming from the sky I love too - and it's sister: the slash over the stripes. And as cheesy and cutesy as it is, I love the bottom purple flower. That one was inspired by the beat poet Bradley Hathaway (if you don't know who he is, you must check him out on myspace). He has a poem called "On Being Joyful and Content". The first lines of the poem go:

I'm ecstatic
And my thoughts are uncontrollably sporadic
But they are all centered around one center...


In plush ripe tones
Joy rushing through my bones!
If joy were a color it would be purple, pastel, pretty
Like old women and young children both wear on Easter
Smiling and having deviled eggs and drinking Kool-aid

I wanted the drawing to be plush, ripe purple...and pretty...and joyful.

They are all my favorites really. I just love this drawing series when I look at it. It makes me happy and content. Content with myself as an artist. I have been very angsty about my work in the last few years, but those little drawings give me a little peace.

I just wanted to share them with you.


Carla said...

Very cool!

Anonymous said...

wow, your art is incredible! fab job!

Erika. said...

I really enjoyed reading all the stories, inspirations, and circumstances that these little works came from! More please!

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