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Following Inspiration Like an Artist

As artists and students, one of the things we’re taught is to follow inspiration as it comes.

ESPECIALLY as a mixed media artist (meaning I work with lots of materials, many of which aren’t even actually art supplies…), there’s SO MUCH space for exploration in the creative process.

So what does it mean to “follow inspiration”…? Easy. It means get working. Don’t let not knowing what’s going to happen be the thing that stops you. Instead, let the not knowing be the door that inspiration walks through. Because we can’t make inspiration. We can’t force or manufacture or control it. All we can do is breathe, let go of fear and self-judgement, and keep our eyes open… So just get working. Have some paint? Great, start painting. Have a pencil or a pen nearby? Great, start scribbling. Just because you don’t know what you’re going to make doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) make it. Weird… right? Letting go and getting to work means that once you get your blood flowing, your arms moving, your brain sparking, and your eyes open… that’s when inspiration happens.

Lesson of the day: Don’t wait for inspiration to happen. Start by DOING… and inspiration will come.

Now, back in the “real world”, the world of work and computers and schedules and stress… the lesson still applies. Because inspiration and creativity isn’t limited to paint and paper. The more you practice letting go and keeping your eyes open… the more you’ll start to notice that inspiration is literally EVERYWHERE. And life is SO much BIGGER when it’s inspired…


The gallery below is a series of pieces I created as an art student at The Burren College of Art in County Claire, Ireland. Every single one of them was an exercise in creative exploration and following inspiration. From a piece that's literally just ripped paper and charcoal dust (or a reflection of the rocky, brambly countryside landscape in Ireland... depending on how you look at it) to a series of layered swirls and circles in paint, straw, oil pastel sticks, paper, and trash bags (or a study of the depth of connection between Irish culture and life with the land, along with the spiritual significance of circular structures and patterns to the ancient Celtic way of life... again depending on how you look at it) every single bit is an example of what happens when I let go and get to work. Weird... wonderful... inexplicable... art.


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