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Find Your Hidden Inspiration for Drawing Details

Growing towards Light by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about how to find inspiration for drawing.

This colored pencil drawing is an art journal page. It is called “Growing Towards Light.” It’s inspired by the beauty of tiny details found in plants.

For a long time, I have wanted to write about looking at tiny treasures for drawing inspiration. It is the subject that I might have mentioned, but not put fully in focus. Last week two things happened that made me decide to bring it up.

Blooming Houseplant

First, one of our houseplants blossomed. The plant is probably a prayer plant, and it has such modest flowers that we almost missed the whole thing. But once I took few photos and examined them more closely, I was in awe of the blossom’s beauty.

Blossoming house plant

I admire the shape of the stem, how beautifully angled it is, the sharp buds, dark seeds, and the delicate flower. It all looks like perfect, well-thought, well-executed combination of aesthetics and science. I feel not only inspired by the little details but how it also makes me think of the quality of my art: I should continuously raise the bar a little bit higher, work more carefully, become more patient and get further in my thoughts. It sounds a bit harsh as I am writing this, but when watching the nature, it is very inspiring. Maybe we all should sometimes follow the prayer plant:  use the time to create a smaller work but take more care of the details!

Mr. Mac and Me

The second thing that is related to the subject of the post is the email that I got from Claire, one of the readers. One of the best things about writing the blog is the interaction. My favorite thing is when I get ideas and suggestions about what to examine next. Claire remembered that I am a big fan of Charles Rennie Macintosh and his wife (see this post when I visited Scotland to see their art). She sent me a link to the review of a newly published novel. The novel is Esther Freud’s “Mr. Mac and Me, “ It tells a story about Charles Rennie Macintosh through the lens of a 13-year-old boy who gets to know him. Very interesting! I added the book immediately to my wish list.

At the end of the review, there’s a quote from the book where the young boy talks about Macintosh’s flower drawings: “I go closer. I look at everything for what else is hidden. There’s the head of a duck folded into a sunflower’s stem …” For me, that implies how the beauty can be the result of many little details. That challenges us to build our art from well-formed shapes, no matter how small they are, and believe that each of them will increase the beauty of the whole artwork.

Drawing Details

Like said, the perspective in decorative art is in the details and their perfection. Instead of sketching something grand, the decorative artwork starts small and gets bigger by adding tiny details one after another.

Art journal drawings by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about how to find inspiration for drawing.

These are some of my unfinished art journal pages. I love to draw with a thin black permanent pen. The inability to erase anything makes me start small! If a blank paper feels scary for you, create a watercolor painting first and then start doodling. My video “Watercolor 101 for Intuitive Painting” presents the method how to get started without any specific pre-thought idea in mind.

Growing towards Light by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about how to find inspiration for drawing.

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8 thoughts on “Find Your Hidden Inspiration for Drawing Details

  1. Paivi,
    This is a beautiful post. I absolutely agree with your observations that we are always surrounded by inspiration…yet we often get so bogged down with the craziness of life. I, too, make a consistent effort to “be in the moment” and appreciate all the wonderful beauty in this world.
    Beth 🙂

  2. I once made a quilt for my sister-in-law who is known for her love of animals and goes barefoot in the garden. I wanted the quilt to be “her” so I used many small pieces of flowers, birds and animals printed on calico and made a repeating star pattern. From the normal distance it looks like multicolored pieced stars but up close you can see hidden animals, vegetables,flowers, and birds of all kinds used in every star point. There was even a pair of bare feet in the center of one. Kids love to find the hidden things, she loves it since it represents her so well and I loved making it for her – so fun to collect all the fabrics.Your post today reminded me of that quilt and the fun of looking deeper. I think that is my favorite part of your work – finding beauty everywhere like small treasures waiting to be uncovered.

  3. You bring a bright cheerfulness into my cold winter (Minnesota, U.S.) life…I too have plants in the kitchen blooming, SO have to sit and sketch and enjoy the detail and the color, yellows, pinks, lavenders. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I received your watercolor 101 as a Christmas gift from my brother. It is so inspiring and informative. Has given me back my desire to paint and draw. Your blog keeps me focused and in touch with you……….a true artist……both in mind and sprite.

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