During my hours spent trolling the internet recently, I’ve stumbled across quite a few blog posts, articles, etc. that bring up the topic of inspiration. More specifically, where it comes from. One brave soul posed the seemingly simple question: “Where do you get your inspiration from? What inspires you?”
Some of us could go on answering that question all day, am I right?
I am one of those people. I never quite know when inspiration will strike me; I’ve had it happen to me in line waiting for coffee, at restaurants where the tables are pushed too close together, sitting in the mall eating a pretzel (I don’t think it’s any coincidence that there is some type of food involved in all of those examples…). I get inspiration from other blogs, books, my favorite authors, anything considered “news,” music, you get it. Literally, or at least in my opinion, inspiration can come from anywhere.
But today’s post is about my latest source for inspiration: apples.
You probably just read that, cocked your head to the side, and let a “whaaaat?” escape from your throat. Not what you were expecting me to say. But it’s the truth, and it’s also going to help me prove my point that inspiration can be found in the smallest, ordinary objects.
The current assignment for my painting class is to recreate a still-life. We were in control of choosing whatever object(s) we wanted to use to create our artwork, but were reminded that we had to show a sense of depth in the finished product. I tried to think of a super cool item to bring into class with me to paint, but alas, my dorm room isn’t exactly full of “super cool” objects. After stressing over the first (and easiest) step of this assignment for a whole weekend, I went off to the first studio session class with an apple hand. Thank goodness for going grocery shopping the day before.
Now, there was no significance to why I took the apple. It literally was going to be my breakfast, until I pulled it out from the fridge and thought, “I could just paint this!” (Clever, I know.) And so I sat the apple down on a pedestal in class and started to sketch it. And my first attempt came out looking like a deformed peach.
Okay, no big deal. Erase. Grab charcoal and start again. The second attempt made me think that I was obviously confused as to what fruit was in front of me, because my canvas now had the outline of an orange on it.
I started to mildly panic. Could I seriously not draw this apple? If I couldn’t even do a rough sketch of it, how the heck was I supposed to paint it? And make it look realistic?!
Two studio sessions went by and I still had a blank canvas and now a slightly dented apple (and a more anxiety-stricken mindset). Another weekend came and I spent the majority of it seriously considering changing my object altogether. I considered just simply buying an orange or a peach to paint, since I could obviously draw them and not apples.
It was during that weekend that I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to make sketches for another class. And it just so happens that there was a new exhibit featuring Matisse, Picasso, and other Parisian avant-garde artists. My painting professor had mentioned those two artists specifically in a class related to our still-life project, and I’m already a Matisse fan, so that was at the top of my to-see list.
And while I walked around that exhibit space, one painting that jumped out at me was of apples.
Funny how stuff like that works, isn’t it?
This painting is by Cezanne, who is one of my favorites. I love the quality of his brushstrokes and am always amazed at how he makes ordinary objects from a home look so majestic and beautiful while still being simple.
And this, is what gave me the inspiration to stick it out with the apple. A little influence from a museum exhibit made me realize that if I just went for it and actually started putting some paint onto my canvas, I would eventually figure out how to make it work. One session later, and I actually am caught up with the rest of the class.
Next time you question that inspiration can come from anything or anywhere, think again. And next time you’re stuck on a project, forget the “super cool” thing you’re enamored with and maybe take a look in your fridge.