I thought this would be easy so I kept kind of putting it off. Then I realized I'm headed out of town for the long weekend and if I wanted to participate, I'd have to get my behind in gear. I realize there's a quick, superficial answer (books) and one that's a little deeper, more introspective (which I'm usually not).
Off the top of my head - what inspires me? Books. First and foremost. When I want to relax, escape, learn, or delve into a topic, I head to a library or online (Amazon is a personal friend - oh wait, that's not a real person, is it?). When I decided I wanted to learn to paint with watercolors a few years ago, I read every book in my local library, I bought books on sale, I stalked Amazon and asked for painting books for Christmas. I absorbed then practiced. That was my inspiration.
I absorb more than just technique from books; I enjoy seeing how a variety of other artists use the techniques to create their own special art. I mimic, I attempt to copy, then I branch out on my own.
Ronda, Spain painted from my photo
So last year when I reignited my interest in art but became interested in exploring mixed media, what did I do? Found a book. Then another one. Then I noticed a difference.
I discovered the online art community and my world expanded exponentially. There's still a strong connection to the power of a book - BUT, I find so much inspiration online. The difference is, the inspiration isn't necessarily about an image, a journal page, painting or collage - the inspiration is about people.
An early mixed media piece w/ wire and beads, layers and layers.
I find inspiration in the way online artists encourage and support each other, the way solutions to problem paintings are suggested, the way ideas and techniques and resources is shared so readily. It's inspirational to know that if I'm having a bad day (or week), my blogging buddies will offer comfort and support and even solutions if needed; if one of us has a muse go missing or are facing a new challenge like opening an ETSY shop or submitting for a gallery show, the rest of us will rally around in encouragement. That's an invaluable source of inspiration.
You inspire me to keep trying, to keep growing, to keep reading and sharing what I learn. The art blogging community inspires me to be brave, to be adventurous, to find and develop the artist I know is lurking in there somewhere.
Thanks to all of you for the inspiration - and thanks Jenn for suggesting the topic and creating the opportunity for us to share our sources of inspiration.