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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Inspiration or Imitation

I think that when one is young it is the object, the outside world that fire’s one’s enthusiasm: one is carried away by it.  In later life, it is something within himself, the need to express an emotion, that leads a painter to choose his point of departure, one form rather than another.”                                                                        Pierre Bonnard

I am frequently asked what I mean when I say: the designs in nature inspire me and motivate my art.  So, I thought that I would share with you some of the designs, I found in nature on vacation, that intrigued me.  These are some of the photographs that will inspire my abstract work in the next few months, and that I see in work I have produced.


What motivates and stimulates enthusiasm in one person, to act on something, is going to be a little different for someone else. Motivation is a critical element in setting and attaining our goals; in both what we produce, and what we do with it.  That motivation impacts our innovation, and allows us to maintain our individuality.

It is after our initial introduction to the creative process, when sometimes copying is a necessary tool to learning a technique, that we need to explore what it is, that we as artists, want to say, and how we want to say it.


What we need to be aware of however, is the power of the small win.  We frequently get reinforcement for something we have done; like wining an award, or selling a piece of work, and instantly we believe, “I am good at this, this is what I am supposed to be doing.”  When in fact, it is not really who we are, or our individual thought. It is the seduction of instant gratification, over self fulfillment on a long term basis.

Finding what is right for us, and what truly expresses who we are, takes time, and a lot of experimentation.  And yes, it changes as we develop and grow more confident, gain more experience, and have various life changing experiences.


We are all unique.  It is finding that special thing, that reflects who we absolutely are, that we as artist should be striving for.  Each of us should have something that we feel passionate about, that is the underlying theme that runs through our work.  Individuality must take over, and become the driving force in any artist’s work. I have no doubt what my underlying theme is, no matter what style or medium I use.  What is yours?

“Imitations is not inspiration, and inspiration only can give birth to a work of art.  The least of man’s original emanations is better than the best of borrowed thought.”    

 Albert Pinkham Ryder

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