Artistic inspiration and uniqueness

Fall colors keep on inspiring me this year! This autumn that is stretching is just wonderful in its joy and grandeur!

Feuilles de vigne ©2012 Suzanne Bélair, Oil on canvas 18×24 in (45.7 x 61 cm)

According to Wikipedia, Artistic inspiration stands for “sudden creativity or an unconscious burst of creativity in artistic production”. In Greek thought, inspiration was originally believed to be infused by some Gods and muses. In Christianity, it is often thought of as being a gift from the Holy Spirit.

Throughout history, philosophers, psychologists and artists have tried to rationalize and understand the phenomenon, sometimes in order to tap into it, to provoke it. Freud and later psychologists thought that inspiration came from the “inner psyche of the artist”, as a cumulative of past traumatic experiences and unresolved inner conflicts or even from the subconscious.

Image by Colleen O’Dell (StarGlade) on Pixabay

Today, inspiration is still thought of as mystical in nature, a gift from above, from the universe, a link to our universal connection and largely beyond our control.

Inspiration is often triggered by something external, but it remains an entirely internal process, one I believe we can help stimulate.

Toit rouge, Costa Rica, ©2012 Suzanne Belair, Acrylic on board, 12×16 in (30.5 x 40.6 cm)

In January 2012, I went to the Costa Rican jungle for 2 weeks of painting and drawing. This was an absolutely wonderful experience I would wish on every nature loving artist. I came back inspired, calm and relaxed, with a new purpose and a new take on inspiration, creativity, and originality.

As artists, we are often faced with the fear of not being original enough, creative enough, inspired enough. We keep on hearing that all has been said, all has been done already. However, living in the rain forest for two weeks and observing all the biodiversity around me made it evident that, just like each plant, each animal, each leaf, each particle of soil is unique, so are we all different from one another even if we are all connected.

Nid de termites, Costa Rica, ©2012Suzanne Bélair. Acrylic on canvas, 5 x 7 in (12.7 x 17.8 cm)

Despite the fact that a lot of people have painted a similar subject, or written a poem or prose you want to tackle, you must remember that no one has done it your way. No one felt the exact same way you do right now while you are creating your art.

Just like each drop of water in the ocean is different from the one next to it, just like each wave that comes crashing on the shore is different from the preceding one and from the following one, so it is with each artist. We are different from one another, we do have something to say or to express in a different way from each other and we do have our own voice, be it written or visual.

How to be original, creative, inspired? Besides writing down ideas as they come to mind, which is not that easy but well worth the effort, it is important to put in the work, put in the hours. It is often while you work that ideas pop into your mind, that you figure out what you like or don’t, or figure out a new way of practicing your craft. While you work, you are refining your skills and this will always help once inspiration “strikes”.

The best way to be original is to be yourself. Paint what you like to paint, write what you like to write about. And go out to see what is happening out there. This outside stimulation is just as important as the work being put in the studio or at your desk.

Each individual artist has an artistic voice. It might take a while to emerge, especially when you’ve been working with other artists or concentrating at perfecting your skills, but eventually, it will.

Happy inspiration!


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  1. Your paintings are beautiful. What a treat to be somewhere so inspirational – I must programme in more visits that I choose simply for this reason. As usual, you have given me a lot to think about!

    1. Thank you Margaret. I really appreciate! The place we went to is called Tiskita and is near the border to Panama. It was 10 years ago, not sure if it is still the same 😊

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