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How Does Inspiration Come?

“One’s work is nothing but the long journey through life to recover, through the detours of art, the one or two great and simple images that first gained access to one’s heart.”

Robert Beverly Hale quoting Albert Camus

The first time I heard this quote, at an Art Student's League dinner, I thought, "Well, that doesn't apply to me." I was deep into my bird period; drawing their feather patterns was great practice for my pen technique but I wasn't a bird watcher or anything.

Four Canada geese, black and White, Pen&Ink

Then I went home for a visit and my mother said, "Let's have a slideshow. She pulled out all the old family pictures and

Little girl in red jumper squatting by a duck  pond

Before this shot was accidentally cropped to the right there was a handsome Canada goose who was very interested in the bag of bread in my hands. SoI guess Camus was right.

Then there's this.

The Land of Make Believe, by Jaro Hess a fantasy landscape

the Land of Make Believe, by Jaro Hess, published in 1930 and also sold in head shops in the '60's because it's pretty trippy. It hung on the wall of my room when I was very little and I spent hours in front of it, tracing that winding road with my finger, shivering at the scary places and counting my favorite characters. The starry night sky, the water, the castles, the tiny details all show in my work to this day.

Then there's Georgia O'Keeffe.

Georgia O'Keeffe's clouds in the Sky

My work is not like hers although I did several poor imitations before I found my own style. The way she lived her life, her statement, "Just fill a space in a beautiful way," and this, "I decided that the only thing I could do that was nobody else's business was to paint. I could do as I chose because no one would care." That was not only inspiring, it gave me a way forward-to just do it.

A chance remark from my grandmother started me on my Baseball Series. She said,

"Did you hear Tommy John's been traded to the Angels?" I was off and running, putting Yankees in celestial settings or Heaven, thus exercising both my love of architecture and my anatomy lessons.

Black and White, Pen&Ink of Bernie Williams at the gates of Jerusalem

This is "Bernie Williams Catches a Fly Before a Medieval Depiction of the Gates of Jerusalem."

The muse has been generous with me; she also brought me Saint Barbara, the pelican and the rhino.

What has she given you?

Pen&Ink drawing of a pagoda in the sea

Almost finished!

July 20, 2023

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