Where does inspiration come from? / by Alison C. Board


Artists get their inspiration from many sources, I don’t think it’s possible to cite just one as we are sponges for information every single day. There are the traditional sources such as going to galleries to see the work of old masters and contemporaries plus whatever your muse might be in the form of the landscape, people, animals etc.

While I can’t deny that those elements are important to me, they are not my primary source of inspiration at all. Two things influence me more than anything else, the first is film – movies, box sets, old, modern, anything I can watch I will, and the second is music.

Many of you will know that my super talented husband plays in a band, so most of the time I don’t have far to go to hear live music being played but we try to go and see live music as often as we can. Sometimes it is at our local pub, sometimes it is a blast from the past on a revival tour and others it is what we did on Monday.

Pearl Jam is one of America’s biggest rock bands and if you haven’t heard of them, to date they have sold over 60 million records worldwide and I spent an hour on about three different websites back in October trying to secure a pair of tickets. They sold out in record time which meant that we had ‘restricted view’ seats but that was fine, all I wanted to do was hear them!

I have to say our seats were actually some of the best I’ve ever had at the O2 and I still don’t get tired of the excitement waiting for the band to come on stage. So why would this be inspirational as opposed to just immense fun? ‘Lyrics and Lights’ is what I’m going to call it, the narrative that is woven through the performance of stellar musicians giving their all to an appreciative audience. The conjuring of images when you hear a singer laying their heart and soul through the words they have written, and the technology of lighting them to bring a spellbinding moment for twenty thousand people all in the one room.

I always come away thinking about how my paintings make me feel or how I can encourage this feeling through my teaching and so I realise that sometimes it’s not about the mechanics – the paint, the brushes and how you do it, but about the emotional part of art and our responses to it.

Therefore now I’m intrigued – what do you find inspirational that others might see as ‘not the norm’? Answers on a postcard folks…or failing that, at the bottom of this blog.

Have a great week everyone.