For an artist, finding inspiration when you’re not feeling your best is difficult. Painting inspiration ideas usually come easier when you take an art class or join another group of artists in a studio setting, but sometimes life gets in the way of those opportunities.
I’ve struggled with chronic Lyme for decades, and in my 30’s it hit me harder than ever (see my Creative Herbals – Living Your Best Life With Chronic Lyme blog for more). When my tendons in my arms started tearing, working with clay became really difficult and painful (even holding a pencil was difficult!). In my early 40s, I realized it had been almost 10 years since I’d really worked on any meaningful art.
Finding inspiration to paint and do other artworks, or even life in general, was difficult, and I knew I needed to make some changes. Around 2017-18, a friend invited me to a Paint Nite event, and it sparked something that had been missing in me for a long time!
These paintings are my first attempts at acrylic paint, done at Paint Your Pet events in Springfield, Missouri – and they were my first step in finding inspiration for my artworks again! These events are so much fun, and a lot of people paint their dogs, cats, or whatever animal they love dearly (which is why so many do these events over and over – it’s hard to choose just one pet!).
Since you only have a few hours, you send in a picture of your pet a couple weeks before the event, which is traced in pencil onto canvas. On the day of the event, you get to spend the afternoon working just on the painting rather than the layout. It was a lot of fun as both times I went with a good friend, and while I wasn’t expecting too much with these being my first acrylic paintings – these are my results!
Since I’m a bit of a perfectionist, these paintings weren’t finished until I spent a few extra hours on them at home. I’ve been playing with acrylics since doing these events, and I love this medium for horse portraits. While I’m still having some trouble with long hours in front of the easel, I do hope to bring more acrylic work into my art portfolio. I’m finding that short stints and playing with paint pouring are incredibly helpful to getting me back into painting.
Capturing the beauty of a subject in a new medium is a great boost to finding inspiration, and I hope this post can help others who are feeling artist’s block. Whether horse art is your passion, or if your heart lies somewhere else, remember to make time for the things you love! Try some painting events, a new medium, or an art class at a local gallery. Take five minute increments to draw quick sketches, try paint pouring, or try one of my clay sculpture demonstrations if you’ve never worked with clay! All of these can help with finding inspiration!
See all of Jen’s horse art!
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- Acrylic paint – Both paintings were made using bulk student acrylic paints. However, my second Jax painting was redone using Liquitex acrylics after a varnish mishap!
- Stretched canvas – I like canvas panels for paint pouring, but these works and many of my other paintings are done on stretched canvas.