Where do artists get their ideas, their designs, and their inspiration? Some sources are:
- Nature and "manmade" nature: Patterns and structures found in natural objects and
surroundings; patterns seen in manmade materials and processes, such as architecture, rust
and decay processes, accidental stains, fabric textures, etc.
- Other visual art (painting, sculpture, photography, prints, ceramics), and the other arts of
literature, music, dance, etc.
- Environment: A broad term covering what we see around us every day; an example is how the
Pop artists of the 1950's and '60's were influenced by the new consumer culture of commercial
packaging, comic books, billboards, media hype, and convenience products.
- History and myth: For centuries, artists have been influenced by events of history, from the
ravages of war to heroic struggles for freedom. From the very first art objects hundreds of
thousands of years ago, artmakers have been influenced by myth. Modern and
contemporary artists are still aware of myths and how they affect us; the Abstract
Expressionists (such as Jackson Pollock and William Baziotes) painted images influenced by
ancient myths and totems of the Native Americans and others.
- Science and mathematics: The golden mean (a mathematical ratio used to determine
proportions in visual art and architecture) has been used by artists at least since the ancient
Greeks. New ideas in science, such as those of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, affected
many 20th century artists.
- Industry and technology: Many early 20th century artists were influenced by the new
machines of industry in their work, such as the Italian Futurists. Contemporary artists
have similarly been greatly affected by the technological revolution, using computers
and lasers in their work.
- Emotion and spirit: The major movement based on emotions, rather than rational
thought processes, was Expressionism in the 19th century, which is still alive in art
done today. Probably the most famous expressionist painter is Van Gogh.
Contemporary artists, such as Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, a Native American artist, are
still influenced by abstract and spiritual ideas in their work.
- Philosophy, psychology and social: Contemporary conceptual artists have been
influenced by contemporary philosophical writings and ideas, such as Bruce Nauman
and Joseph Kosuth. The Surrealists were much influenced by new ideas in psychology
introduced by Sigmund Freud in the early 20th century. Many artists since the 1960's
have been influenced by social realities and issues, such as Edward and Nancy
Kienholz and Kerry James Marshall.
This online lesson, Design VI: Sources, is intended to elaborate on the above artistic sources, and to offer students an array of possible sources for their artwork. There is also a section on the artist's Self, which is also a major source for ideas and inspiration. Our memories, experiences and imagination can be major artistic sources for us, if we learn to be more aware of our selves. Many examples and illustrations are given of specific sources to tap, as a beginning artist. There are over 40 images designed to illustrate various sources of design and inspiration, and 100+ links to Internet images of well known artists, as examples of the many sources artists have used. See my resume for my teaching qualifications.
My feeling is that somewhere among all these examples, you will find at least one that lights a spark of inspiration for you, as I have included a very broad range of artists, from Grandma Moses (a folk painter) to Andy Goldsworthy, a contemporary artist who makes poetic art objects from natural materials. I have also included a number of my own paintings, with descriptions of how these images were first conceived, and illustrations of the artistic sources from which I first got the ideas. I have tried to offer a vast array of possibilities, especially designed for beginners and students to find their own voices.
The cost of this lesson is $15.00, payable through of PayPal, a secure site. To order, please click on the Add to Cart and View Cart buttons below, then fill in your name and e-mail address in the information text boxes below, and click Submit. Clicking on the Submit button will send your name and e-mail address to me, so that I can send you the password for the Design: Sources lesson. (Please send a valid e-mail address to me - if you type in a mailbox where you receive your junk mail, and this box is full, the Mailer Daemon will return my e-mail to me. If you don't hear from me within 24 hours, the e-mail has not reached you; in this case, please e-mail me with another e-mail address if possible. (Thanks!)
You will have permanent access to this lesson, and I am always available for questions and advice if needed. This lesson is one of the six small-fee-based lessons I have created on my website, to help support all of the free lessons here - 4 drawing, 4 painting, 4 design, and others. I very much appreciate your support of this site, as I plan to keep adding lessons to it for a long time to come. Some future courses are: Painting an Impressionist Landscape, Space in Painting, Tonal Values, Collage, Types of Design, Intermediate Drawing, Portraits and many others.
There is now a membership program in this site; members will currently receive all six fee-based courses, plus be able to display their work on the site and receive visitor feedback by e-mail, and also receive regular personal critiques of their work, if desired. The cost of any fee-based course already ordered will go toward the cost of membership.
This lesson costs $15.00. To order, please click on the Add to Cart and View Cart buttons below, and also please enter your full name and e-mail address in the information boxes below, then click on the Submit button. You will receive your password for the lesson shortly. If you don't receive an e-mail from me within 24 hours, please send an alternate e-mail address to me if possible, as I was unable to reach you at your first e-mail address.
Thank you for your order! Please enter your full name and e-mail address in the information boxes below, then click the Submit button. This will send me your e-mail address, so I can then send you the password for this lesson.