How do you come up with ideas for your artwork?

Jul 13, 2023 | My Thoughts

I’ve heard this question quite a lot, and it is a great one! But as a forewarning, this may change in a week, month, year, or never. Who knows?

I come up with ideas from such a wide range of sources! Recently my friend Maggie Fuller went on our second journey into 40 days of creativity where we stayed accountable to one another for creating something every day. (Maggie is an exceptional ceramicist and you should check her out at (maggiefullerceramics.com) This round we extended it to 100 days and in the midst of that, she created a nuerographic of a spiderweb. I was fascinated! Of course, I had to do one of my own. I just adore spiders and their webs, so I did some research on both finding some fascinating lore about them. So, add spiders and webs to the pot of ideas.

I’m always geeking out on how the brain works and one day stumbled upon nuerographics. Add that to the pot of ideas.

Of course, I’m living this life as a woman, and this is always of interest to me. Our privileges, our challenges, how we have been socialized and how we come into our own… How we are supported by amazing men who understand the unique challenges that the patriarchy has subjected them to… How equality among all genders will improve our society, our economy, and our lives. And thinking about these things leads me to the interconnectedness of living beings… which kind of leads me back to those spiders and their webs! Add a few more ideas to the pot.

I’ve always been active in women’s issues and activities in support of women. In a former life, I was a women’s minister at a large church here in Houston. I started a group of supportive women that grew to over several hundred, also here in Houston. Those things are mostly in the past for me now but I’m still ministering, leading, and honoring women. Women and art are my life’s work.

There are times when I think of the women in the past who were blazing trails. Check out my Woodstock series for a glimpse into that. More ideas. I’m studying the suffrage movement… more ideas. I’m reading a book on the amazing artists throughout history who were women. Add even more ideas to the ever-growing pot.

And color! Color theory is SO very cool! So, I’ll geek out on how certain colors work with one another and I’ll find a particular combination I love… add to the pot. Or the other evening, I saw some stunning colors in the sky just at sunset. I stared at the clouds until all of the color dissipated and I could no longer see the unique red. I tried with all my might to be able to identify that particular reddish salmon color to no avail… but add another idea to the pot.

And of course, there is the Internet. I am always inspired by other artists. I’ll consider the way they approach their subject matter, the way they use texture, the experimentation of how they use a medium or concept, the color combinations or lack of color, and I always look for special moments in each piece that makes me truly feel something… something big, something small, something important. I just love that!

Conversations with friends, watching someone drink a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop, seeing a couple walking hand in hand (in this heat!), hearing a news story, listening to a podcast, reading a book, at the grocery store in the produce aisle, and doing laundry are all capable of showing me something from a new perspective. I actively look for these.

So while I’ve not covered every place and space I find ideas, I think you get the… idea!

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash