Inspiration plus things

What brings inspiration? Funny things come to mind – one is a local studio and gallery in my foothill area of the mountains. This gallery owner put out a call for “Fun and Games” in any medium. The opening was Friday evening and my very conservative daughter and I went to this non-conservative opening. A monoprint and bookmaker went to the Dollar Store and shopped for things – world map, squirt guns, checkers, cards, etc. – someone else went through the trash and on and on. I am posting with this a picture of my quilt made from bubble wrap – it was a hit – my thing was how much bubble wrap can we throw away so I stuffed it instead. Picture in paper has been cut off and lopsided.


As I was thinking of the “Elements of Design” by Loam Oei and Cecile De Kegel it reminded me of the pictures that I take as we travel of the old building, bathroom fixtures, tile and mat floors – then at home I began thinking about things around me (I live in the mountains so many of the normal things you see are not here) wheels on the cars, retaining walls, trees, chip and seal driveway and rural roads in the county came to mind.


Wheel and gravel in the yard – the patterns on the wheel hubs are great and the tire tread makes some interesting designs when run through the printer.


Fireplug, no parking, water dept. metal cover on two lane road.


Retaining wall as the sun is going down.

Today I was at a meeting for wearable art and was going through the brocade fabric and thinking of the patterns that these designs would create. It makes the mind work in different directions. If only we had more time. Maybe it is time to work smaller.

My question to you is: what in your immediate area is of inspiration to you and how can you use it? Would you use it?


5 Responses to “Inspiration plus things”

  1. 1 monrea May 23, 2007 at 2:54 am

    I’ve tried to do things taken right from my yard. But then I hated them. Too literal. So I’ve decided to work with things that I love about my yard and area and distill them down to the feeling they give me. Abstract. I find I’m so much happier.

  2. 2 clairan May 22, 2007 at 7:05 pm


    I live in the city, on the southside of Chicago, and I love the urban image. (there are no flags on my street). But I don’t think for one minute that that’s what you should use in your art, if the natural images of a particular place speak to your heart (as they so obviously do as we saw from the images of the series you were creating in paint and fabric). What what *knows* should hardly be limited to what one sees around one on a daily basis. Your art speaks to the fact that you know your landscape.

  3. 3 sandyw May 22, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    June sounds like a country girl trapped in the city. I moved from southern California to the mountains in northern California many years ago (38) I think I would find it hard to work the urban that So. Cal has become then in my mountain area.

    I remember a while back you speaking about the flags that were out on your street and if I remember right you did a piece on that.


  4. 4 June May 22, 2007 at 8:30 am


    I’ve been reading about Cezanne and painting and stitching landscapes of my own. However, the landscapes that I’m working on come from a region a couple of hundred miles east of where I live — and are absolutely the opposite of my local landscape — rural vs city, desert vs mild wet, organic vs built.

    So I’ve been fretting and circling the question of why I’m not doing “local” — following Eileen’s advice — but I can’t bring myself to paint all this claustrophobic (if beautiful and lush) material with which I am surrounded.

    I use photos from the distant landscape to keep it in front of me. And I make brief visits east to get back to my magical formations. But on a daily basis, I am surrounded by the opposite of what I am making art from.

    I am not interested in recurring human-constructed patterns, which one can find readily in the city. Nor do I wish to paint the perspective-ridden city sidewalks lined with heavy foliage — I like the foliage, but not the gridded walkways. I am trying to paint distance and solid form, whereas I live in tight quarters with evanescent foliage.

    In other words, the idea is sound — “Paint what you know.” But the practice is more difficult. I’m muddling my way through it every morning when I take my AM walk through the streets of Portland. Cezanne speaks to me because he found places in his own home town to paint — there was Mont Sainte-Victoire and all those golden stucco buildings and the cultivated plains that made nice horizontal middle-grounds. I think I’m suffering from place-envy.

  5. 5 eileen doughty May 22, 2007 at 3:50 am

    Good advice from experienced artists: Make art about what you know. Therefore I make landscape quilts about the trees and stream in the woods near my house, where I walk my dog every day. Hawaii may be much prettier than the ‘burbs of DC, but I couldn’t portray it very well or with as much feeling.

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