Process: Inspiration From Within

inspiration |ˌinspəˈrā sh ən|
noun  1 the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative.

inspire |inˈspīr|
verb [ trans. ]
1 fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative
2 breathe in (air); inhale.  a second dictionary speaks of the archaic meaning to be to infuse (as life) by breathing
3 to communicate to an agent supernaturally
4  to draw forth or bring out

ORIGIN Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into.’  The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense [impart a truth or idea to someone.]
(From two dictionaries, Merriam-Webster and my Mac Dictionary.)

"Zenny" or my tribute to Rothko. . . amidst peals of inner laughter.

“Zenny” or my tribute to Rothko. . . amidst peals of inner laughter.

Inspiration for my artwork which I feel is good comes from within. In-spire, meaning it is more than a thought, it is also a heart connection.

I see this or that, and think, “I should paint that.” Neva-gonna-happen. Thinking is not the inspiration.

Sometimes an image comes into my mind and takes my breath away.  I am flooded by a particular feeling of being drawn (no pun intended) into the image, though it is not as metaphysical as it sounds. It is really very simple. Then I need to move toward that image, explore it, let it haunt me, and of course that also engages my mind, but without the inspiration any attempt I make with not have the same impact, will not be as good as if I work with images that are connecting through inspiration/heart.  They may be good technically (I can draw and execute graphically) but they won’t be “art.”  They won’t inspire others!

When I say “get out of my own way” I am speaking of letting whatever flow at some point. It is still me, but without so much mind, and there is a freedom.  Maybe mind is the editor, or technical quality control?

Today I was shown a video of abstract expressionist painter Peggy Gyulai, who is the painter-in-residence with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.  I see what she is doing, and am awed.  Her inspiration comes from music!  Music effects me deeply, and when I paint I usually paint to music, but the freedom to follow her inner musical inspiration in far from my comfort zone.

I have two images that I will pay more attention to.  The first I did long ago, when I was also making paper weekly.  I love it, and don’t know why.  I call it my Zenny painting, or my tribute to Rothko (the last is said with laughter in my head — he is my idol — and I would never try to touch that master!)

Shellac on Japanese folded wrapping paper.

Shellac on Japanese folded wrapping paper.

The next is one that I made recently with bad shellac.  I was restoring Monterey lampshades for the NPS, and special ordered these huge sheets of handmade paper from Japan.  They came wrapped in this lovely handmade paper, and the folds were fascinating with shellac on them.  I had leftover shellac with grounds of graphite in it at the end of the day and played with the old shellac on the folded paper.  I love it.  It is pinned to my wall over my easel.  I thought to put a figure on it but love it as it is.  Maybe I need to see this as my direction.  I am stalled, and while I can say it is about time (no time), it is also about inspiration.


My images can be reposted as long there is a link back to zenkatwrites. All Images  ©D.Katie Powell; copyrights sold separately.  Permission must be granted to use my images and they must be linked to

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in autobiography, creativity, process and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Process: Inspiration From Within

  1. Mary Chase says:

    Very interesting topic. I find that I start with the moment of inspiration, and then in the *process* of responding to that inspiration, something else can take over, as if it is a collaboration with the unseen.

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