Finding inspiration for your art

It’s all about seeding your subconscious!

Finding creativity for your art and creativity practice as an intuitive painter

On this episode of the Art with Soul podcast, I talk about where I find inspiration as an intuitive painter. Showing up to the canvas without any preconceived ideas about what I want to paint or what I want my finished piece to look like can be both terrifying and exhilarating. Tune in for a peek into my process! You’ll find a written transcript of the podcast {edited lightly for readability} and additional resources below.

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Finding inspiration as an intuitive artist

I’ve been thinking about art and creativity and where we find our inspiration. As an intuitive painter, my inspiration seemingly comes from within me. I don’t use reference photographs. I never know where my painting is going. I don’t have a finished image in mind or even a direction in mind when I pick up my paintbrushes and approach the canvas.

I just have feelings – the colors I’m drawn to in the moment. The marks I want to make. The areas I want to cover up and the areas that I love. And all of it subject to change moment by moment.

But still, those ideas come from somewhere…The images that I see in the layers of paint are different from what someone else may see and choose to draw out. So what guides that seeing? What guides that particular image forward?

Seeding your subconscious

I believe it comes from what I’ve seeded in my subconscious. And that comes from the sum total of everything that I feed myself with – the books and articles I read, the music and podcasts I listen to, the teachers and philosophers and spiritual guides I surround myself with.

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All of that informs what I see, what I feel drawn to, what I draw out of my paintings.

But when you start like this, with no direction in mind, no destination calling to you, not knowing what comes next – it can be terrifying. I remember, from when I was still very new with the intuitive painting process, that feeling of not knowing what is happening on the canvas, of what will happen next, of how I will fix these marks that I’ve made into something that speaks to me, into something that looks beautiful to me.

I remember that terror of looking at a jumble of marks and colors and not knowing where to start finding some order in that chaos. Slowly, with practice, I started to see…to sense…to hear what the painting wanted to become. And slowly, as I kept dancing with that fear and finding my way through it, I started to see the many ways in which art…and especially intuitive painting…mimics life.

Now, when you ask me where I find my inspiration, I can tell you it’s in everything I see and hear and sense and feel around me. Its in allowing myself to open to what wants to happen without judgement or fear, trusting that things will work themselves out – they almost always do – on the canvas and in life.

Finding art – and creative – inspiration at your fingertips

But I also know it can feel overwhelming. Which is why I start my painting sessions by drawing an oracle card from my studio deck – it’s a deck of inspiration cards that I made for myself, with messages that speak to me of life and art – messages like embrace the mystery, be gentle with yourself, release your grip, trust in the letting go. Messages for life. And for art.

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I often combine these with a pull from a tarot deck. Or from an oracle deck. It just depends on what I feel drawn to. I’ll pull a card and let the colors or a symbol or a word speak to me, and use that to make a move on the canvas.

The cards then become almost like an inkblot – a spark of memory, of reflection – a reminder that like life, art requires me to embrace the mystery.

Cards – oracle, tarot – are a unique form of portable magic. For life. For living. For creating – your life, your art.

Why don’t you give it a try the next time you’re creating? Just pull a card and let the colors, symbols, and imagery speak to you. You don’t need to know what it means – you just need to respond to the imagery.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a card deck – you’ll find some links to websites that allow you to pull a card for free below, so you can experiment with this process and see if it’s something that offers you creative inspiration too!

Also see: The Daily Pause oracle: A deck of 40 oracle cards featuring my original abstract art

And if you want to tap more deeply into the magic of tarot and oracle, poetry, painting and storytelling, then join me on Pull Pen Paint this year. I’m thrilled and honored to be a guest teacher again this year on this beautiful 10 month journey of self discovery, creativity and transformation. I do hope you will join me!

Websites that let you draw a tarot/oracle card for free:

  • Click here to pick an oracle card from one of Colette-Baron Reid’s oracle decks {I love The Wisdom of the Oracle and The Spirit Animal decks}. (Order one of her decks on Amazon)

Before you go, tell me where you find your inspiration?

Posted in The Art with Soul Podcast.

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?

2 Comments

  1. I still haven’t reached the phase where I can paint or do art without a reference picture.
    But i hope I do someday.
    Art heals me but at the same time if it doesn’t turns out the way I want, I find it difficult to pay attention to anything else unless I don’t get my paintings right. Like if i try to do something from a photograph and it doesnt turn out good, i Have to find a similar pic tutorial to understand where I went wrong. Still struggling to get originality in my work.
    Your blog was inspiring to find voice within art. Its a long way to go for me though.

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