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  • CJ Carson

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration is an important aspect of life, a tool that can motivate movement forward in positive ways. While it is true that inspiration can spring from glorious monumental events or even catastrophic events, there is an inspiration in even the smallest of things if we just as the saying goes, 'Stop to smell the roses!'

Do you ever feel like you are physically moving through life with such purpose and focus, you don't really notice anything that is more than three feet beyond your personal space? Yes, three feet! Your world is literally shrunk to a small, squared bubble!


Okay, let me explain. Because our world expands well beyond that three feet, if we don't slow down and look up and become aware of all our senses, we miss many small and inspiring moments.


This was never truer for me than when I began painting. The artist who gave instruction challenged us to walk outside to observe the leaves on the trees. She then asked us to describe them. Of course, the simple and obvious answer was they were green, but we knew that she wanted more from us than that. We all came back with what we thought were the right answers. Some of us described the leaves on the trees as different shades of green. Others described the change of the colors based on the reflection of the sun. Yes, you get it; we all thought we had the answers. And that was partially true.


We were asked to repeat the exercise, using all our senses this time. She challenged us to walk up close to the tree and physically reach for and feel each leaf's texture. Looking closer, we noticed that they each had their own unique makeup. Like a fingerprint, the leaves were all unique.


Coming back to class, we were all sure that we had the right answers now. Each of us described our experience observing several leaves, noticing them all for their unique size, colors, shading, and textures.


Much to our surprise, she informed us that the exercise was not done. She challenged us one more time, what did they smell like? What did the air around them sound like? Everyone seemed confused, but we performed the exercise one last time. Each of us came back describing how the tree and leaves smelled. Some said the smell was earthy. Others described a musky scent, while still others described a fragrant aroma. We went on to report what we could hear. Some of us described the sound of the leaves rustling in the breeze, while others described the stillness in the air that made way for other sounds around them.

After we completed the exercise, we asked the instructor why she wanted us to engage our sense of smell and sound? After all, you can't paint a smell or what you hear. The answer was enlightening!


If you create your painting with all your senses, you will capture your subject on a whole different level. When someone enjoys your work, it will activate all their senses, engaging their own memories of sight, smell, hearing, and touch.


I challenge you to take a walk, look up, and take in the beauty that surrounds you in every corner of this universe. You never know, you might just be inspired.


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