Student’s Perspective: On Inspiration

As an art student, sometimes my greatest impediment to starting a drawing is waiting for some “magical” inspiration to strike– a brilliant idea or just-right, in-the-zone feeling. A few weeks ago in art class we discussed this hesitation to launch into a new piece or finish one in progress. Audrey related her observation that her most successful art students have been those who were not afraid to just jump in– seemingly unafraid of failure– simply willing to give it a try.

Student Susan Loop’s painting of an iris bloom on display in the gallery at B2 Cafe in Springfield.

With that in mind I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that, in regard to finding inspiration, there’s no need to wait for it; it’s literally everywhere one looks. In nature, everything from spring blooms to bits of dandelion seeds floating through the air spawn beautiful ideas. In studying people’s faces and hands I found inspiration too. I noticed while drawing a young child’s arm how uniquely the skin folds near the wrist, and the way the lines at the corners of an adult’s happy set of eyes were similar to the line of the lips upturned in a smile. And while on Pinterest I stumbled across this inspirational tidbit:

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. -unknown

I’m loving the results of not waiting for the perfect moment, circumstance, or inspiration. It is transforming both my creations and my outlook.

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Keri Doolittle is an art student at Audrey Bottrell Fine Art & Instruction. She is a regular guest contributor to this site and also blogs at

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