Anyone who is creative in any way, be it through art, furniture painting, jewelry making or any other creative outlet, needs a source for inspiration at times to keep their work “fresh”. I am going to share with you my top six sources for inspiration.
Inspiration surrounds us in nature! There is an abundance of colour, texture and design elements around us at all times. It doesn’t matter if you live in a tropical paradise where colours abound, or a desert wasteland, the elements of nature are always a great source of inspiration. Contrary to the rules of fashion, colours seen together in nature all mesh in perfect harmony, and white is never out of style. Mother Nature doesn’t get it wrong. From the vein on the underside or a leaf, to the curl of a huge wave, there is no end to the textures found in nature. Some of these textures and colour combinations give us a feeling of awe that inspires creativity in and of itself. I often take photographs of clouds and wonder how I can incorporate that fluffy, airy feeling into a design. You may not be able to incorporate the wonderful smells of nature into your creativity, but you can certainly incorporate the feeling that a smell gives you; freshness for example. Use all of your senses when observing nature and you may be surprised at the inspiration you will find.
(Photo credit: Photo Card Boutique)
2. The Internet
How lucky are we to live in the information age? While the internet has played a controversial role in creativity at times, there are many ways I feel we can benefit from technology in a pure way. We live in an era of endless inspiration at our fingertips! Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration for me in my home design, jewelry making and furniture painting. I “Pin” anything that interests me and follow many boards belonging to people with similar interests. I refer back to my inspiration boards constantly. The links on these boards take me to faraway places, sometimes for hours at a stretch, as one link leads to another. It may be that I am inspired by a technique from one project, a texture from another and a colour scheme from yet another. A Google search of images is another excellent resource. The key to finding inspiration online, is put your own unique “spin” on the things that inspire you there. I never set out to “copy” an example of what I see online, but I use bits and pieces of different ideas I have found on my online journey to make the creations my own. A couple of exceptions to that rule would be when a customer tells me they want their piece of furniture to look “EXACTLY LIKE THAT ONE”, or if I purchase a tutorial from a jewelry designer, but somehow I always manage to make it a bit unique in some way, through colour schemes, embellishment, etc.
3. Design Boards
I often make myself little design boards (usually photo collages), when starting a project. I use a program called GIMP, which is a free photo editing program available online. While our home was undergoing a major renovation, part of that renovation included repainting each room, giving it new “life”. I started my Living room/Dining room makeover with an accent wall in a metallic plaster (Lusterstone) in a colour called “Charred Olive”. I fell in love with the richness of that colour (a gorgeous, rich, bronzy-olive), but I had no idea what to put with it. I decided on a sage green for the remaining walls, but was still having a difficult time deciding on an accent colour. I started collecting photos of colour schemes containing olive green and sage green together and found that many of these photos included a purple or plum type colour. I would never have thought of putting these colours together, but they looked stunning in some nature shots I found. I accented the room with deep plum pillows, drapes and a small side table based on these inspirational design boards.
The imagination is a wonderful thing. Like many of us, I find myself lying in bed at night, trying to fall asleep, but unable to turn off my brain…ugh. Instead of lying there contemplating finances or thinking of all the things I need to get done the next day, I try to focus on a concept for a new design, technique or colour scheme. The smartest thing for me to do would be to keep a notepad by the bed for such occasions and jot down ideas as the come to me, even if it’s just a “piece” of an idea that I can expand upon later. I however, being a gal of limited patience, usually leap out of bed at this point to see if my idea will work. This is not a practice I recommend (if you would like to retain your sanity), but do whatever works for you.
5. Cell Phone Cameras
We all have cell phones with cameras at this point, and I am constantly taking photos everywhere I go of “snippets” of inspiration. Sometimes it is an interesting texture I see and wonder if I can replicate, other times it may be a flower with an odd colour combination or a shape found in architecture. Take a ton of photos, you can always delete them, but you can almost never get back a photo “untaken”.
I have found unlimited sources of information through networking with other creative people. It has been my experience that people are very generous with their knowledge, and I like to believe I am the same. The bouncing back and forth of ideas with others within your creative “niche” is priceless. You may have an idea in your head and find that others have tried it without success. Sometimes brainstorming with others about the challenges helps establish new solutions. Be generous with your knowledge and you will find the rewards come back to you tenfold. Find a Facebook or other group that shares your creative interest and jump in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how basic, as we were all new at our craft at one point! The inspiration you will gain from others is invaluable.
I hope this article will make you think about new ways to derive inspiration for your creativity. I would love to hear from you! Where do you find inspiration? If you found this article helpful, please comment, Pin or share.