Monday, July 6, 2015


This post is the first in a blog series where I’m exploring various aspects of INSPIRATION. When I chose INSPIRATION as my word for this year, my first thoughts were about finding, acting on and (in some cases) limiting INSPIRATION. I also knew I wanted this word to motivate me not only in my scrapbooking and crafting but also in my physical, spiritual and intellectual goals. During my FUN year last year, I published a two-week series entitled Where Does My Inspiration Come From?, which looked at the many different sources of INSPIRATION specifically for scrapbook layouts. However, in this series, I’ll be sharing a word for each letter of the alphabet (from A to Z) that relates to INSPIRATION along with my random and in-depth thoughts on that word and the various ways it relates to INSPIRATION in our lives.

A is for Art

Art is defined as "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." It is also defined as "works produced by human creative skill and imagination" and "creative activity resulting in the production of paintings, drawings, or sculpture."

It's easy to draw the connection between INSPIRATION and Art because Art is often the result of some type of INSPIRATION. A painter might be inspired to start a new canvas after observing a beautiful landscape or purchasing a new set of watercolors. A drawer may be inspired to pull out a sketchbook to capture a skyline in the distance or the expression on a child's face. A poet might be inspired to record the emotions resulting from a traumatic or euphoric event.

There are many different types of Art - visual arts, literature, performing arts, applied arts - encompassing everything from drawing, painting, and sculpture to assemblage, tapestry, and mosaics. Art includes photography, video, graphic design, and animation along with dancing, singing, and acting. Art also incorporates storytelling, journaling, and poetry. And, although there is some debate about it, I believe scrapbook layouts can also be considered Art.

Art is meant to be appreciated. While I have always valued literature, I can't say that I truly appreciated the visual arts until more recently. I'll never forget my first trip to New York with my friend Elinor in 2001. When we walked into the room at MOMA that houses Claude Monet's Reflection of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond, Elinor sat down on one of the benches intent on staying a while and soaking in the huge painting covering an entire wall, pondering Monet's INSPIRATION, and enjoying the beauty of this piece. I, on the other hand, was ready to move on to be sure that we saw everything in the museum during the time we had there. Now, however, I think I'd take time to sit a while . . . but not too long, of course, because I'd still want to see as much as I could! (I miss my friend Elinor but just know that she would be happy to hear that I've learned to slow down and appreciate Art!)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Robbie and I recently visited the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. The exhibits ranged from artifacts to paintings to bronze sculptures to photographs, all chosen to "tell the vast and multifaceted story of the American West."

I really enjoyed our morning touring this museum, and I was reminded that INSPIRATION involves being stimulated or motivated to do something. For example, I was inspired by Helena's Pairs meme to take a photo of this entire lithograph . . .

. . . and a close-up of part of the lithograph.

On the other hand, when we viewed this saddle that belonged to Pancho Villa . . .

. . . Robbie and his brother were inspired to have a little horsing-around FUN!

The subject of art also brings to mind a book I read a couple of months ago that involved imitating or copying art. The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro is a novel set in Boston and centers around Claire Roth, a painter who creates art for a company called Reproductions (which sells reproductions of famous paintings). Claire is approached by a renowned art gallery owner to create a forgery of a stolen Degas painting. The difference and legalities between copying artwork and creating forgeries is a central component of this story and lies in who is credited for the painting. If an artist recreates a famous painting and sells it as a copy, that's legal. If, however, the artist recreates the painting and sells it as an original, that's forgery . . . and illegal.

While I enjoyed The Art Forger, I have to admit that I did not like the way it was written. The chapters alternated between the story of Claire and the Degas painting forgery, the story of Claire's past and an incident involving Claire, her boyfriend, and an incident that caused her to be shunned by many in the art community, and the story of Isabella Stewart Gardner collecting art 100 years ago. I've read books like this before, but in this case it was annoying that the current story kept eluding to things in the past that had not yet been revealed. So, I did something I don't think I've ever done - I read it all out of order. After I was several chapters into the book, I skipped through and read the entire story of Claire and her boyfriend. Then I skipped through and read the story of Isabella Stewart Gardner, which was told in the form of letters to her niece. After that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the chapters containing the story of Claire's current predicament.

The one thing that I most enjoyed about the book, as is often the case, is that I learned something new. While the painting in this story is a fictional one, the story of when it was stolen is actually based on a factual incident - the 1990 robbery of great art works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, which incidentally has never been solved. The museum continues to investigate any leads into this theft! During our discussion at the library book club about this book, I also learned that an estimated 30 to 40 percent of all artworks in museums today are possible forgeries!

In summary, Art makes our lives infinitely rich and more interesting. Art provides INSPIRATION and is often the result of INSPIRATION, thus the two are intertwined.

What types of Art inspire you? What type of Art is the result of that INSPIRATION? Please share your thoughts on Art and INSPIRATION in the comments.

Click HERE to see all my INSPIRATION A-Z posts, or click a letter below to see individual posts.

A(Art)   B(Baking)   C(Creativity)   D(Drawing)
E(Experiences)   F(Finishing)   G(Goals)   H(Hiking)
I(Immersion)   J(Journaling)   K(Knowledge)
L(Learning)   M(Movement)   N(Nurturing) 
O(Organization)   P(Planning)   Q(Quiet)   R(Reading)
S(Style)   T(Teaching)   U(Upcycle)   V(Vacation)
W(Work)   X(Xciting)   Y(Yuletide)   Z(Zzzzzs)


  1. Hugh and I visited the Uffizi Gallery in Florence last December and as we were on a guided tour we couldn't just stop and soak up the art which would have been nice. However, I still enjoyed the art there and when we got to the gallery containing Botticelli's Birth of Venus the guide allowed us a good 15 minutes there which was really great. I don't know that I am consciously inspired by art, but I do like it!

  2. That museum looks wonderful. That's the kind of place I find inspiring..for the objects which all have a story to tell, for the old patterns and colour combinations: mainly the stories though. I remember going to Hampton Court Palace on a school trip and coming home and writing a story about touching a staircase last touched by Henry VIII

    I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the alphabet suggests

  3. I love museums too - it's one of the things I hope to do more now that hubby is retired. I'm looking forward to the rest of the your series.

  4. looks a fascinating museum and I love how you presented a lovely range of ways in which we can be inspired or take inspiration to a collection - and lovely to have a zoom out, zoom in pair in there too

  5. I love how when i am out and about I I reminded of a meme I am taking part in. I do like your Zoom In Zoom Out - very creative.

  6. That looks like a fun museum. I think everyone has to learn to appreciate art like that - and to take the time to soak it in.


Thanks so much for your comment - it's like a ray of sunshine in my day!