Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On art and inspiration

Detail of a painting - Sandra Gallegos
You may have noticed a recurring theme on these virtual pages - my fascination with the creative process - and how I'm constantly shifting between writing and painting while seeking inspiration for both. Although I haven't been focusing on writing nearly as much as I should in the last while, I'm currently taking a wonderful painting class with Quinton Bemiller, a Los Angeles abstract artist.

Every Saturday morning, a small group of devotees meets in his downtown studio to pursue our own individual projects and experiment with exciting new media and techniques Quinton demonstrates.

Paintings - Dan Sweetman 
After class one day, Quinton took us to visit the studios of some local artists. I was intrigued by the insights they shared on their backgrounds, art and processes.  It was especially interesting to see their work stacked against the walls, the books on their shelves, and all the little treasured objects and ephemera they'd collected and placed on display - their own personal sources of creative inspiration.

The home of Jamie and Dan Sweetman is full of Dan's plein air figure paintings of Southern California scenes, including his amusing series from a nude beach.  His wife, Jamie Sweetman, draws precision tree roots and anatomically detailed figures, inspired by a collection of tangled roots, and skeletons which have escaped the closet, instead hanging out in the open around the studio.

The abstract composite paintings of Sandra Gallegos incorporate patterns from multiple sources - motifs from rugs, vessels, vases, flowers and other found objects - "stuff I find on the sidewalk," she says. Her greatest inspiration is the work of Henri Matisse.

Art - Richard Osaka
Richard Osaka showed us how his highly successful career as a commercial artist has informed his fine art. He employs repeated patterns, words forming cryptic messages, a vivid palette, high gloss resin-coated surfaces and enamel paints to create high impact images.

I took many away many gems from that day - bits of inspiration to be stored away for the future.

Do you surround yourself with special things that inspire you - catalysts for creativity? If so, do tell.


The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

I listen to my YouTube playlist, broken down into Rock, Mellow, Soundtracks, Jazz and Classical music, and listen to a particular playlist to get me into the mood of a manuscript.

Or I fall asleep at the keyboard.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I have often thought that if I ever came into some money and could afford my own place, I would set up an art studio so that I could learn and enjoy how to paint and stuff like that.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Sounds like a great trip. I love visiting galleries and museums. When we travel I tend to bring home local artwork.

I have a little tray of bits and pieces I've collected on our travels and I love to sift through it and think about how to incorporate what I've learned into my stories.