I've been marvelling at the concept of inspiration. Where does it come from? How does it start? What are the origins? How do the seeds of ideas get planted, germinate in the darkness and come through to give us an opportunity to respond and experience for ourselves?
The gift of creativity. We have so many ideas, but what is it that makes us settle on one idea and run with it... Ideas ‘grow’ wings, and ‘fly’ us into unexpected territories. The gift of creativity is something so intangible. It's something so important in our makeup. I looked up the word inspiration to find that it simply means to breathe in.
Such a simple concept, but it makes sense: When we breathe in, we breathe in oxygen, which keeps us alive. As an artist surviving on inspiration, I ‘breathe in’ my surroundings and make space for a fresh new perspective. Notice what's in front of you, and focus purely on that.
In early spring, I was invited to paint at Stampwell farm in Beaconsfield. On arrival, I saw the ancient plum orchard before me, thick with spring blossoms and exuding a heady seasonal aroma. On closer inspection the plum trees were alive with swarms of insects pollinating the nectar from the blossoms. The sound of the bird song was overpowering. I found a spot amongst the plum trees to set up my easel. I decided to paint as large as I could to not only experience what was before me, but to respond to it on a large surface. It felt like I was conducting an orchestra, big brush in my hand, and lots of paint.
I was able to ‘breathe in’ an environment, which in turn inspired me to respond in paint on canvas and to enjoy the colours and the light in front of me.
As I set about to capture the light coming through the trees, and the mass of blossom, I could feel myself being lifted by the whole experience as my response to the environment was being recorded on canvas.
I spent the next two weeks painting a collection of works not only of the plum orchards but the pregnant ewes. It felt like a place that was so full of hope and progress. It was just what I needed at that time, which otherwise had been so full of uncertainty.
I was invited to exhibit my work in one of the barns. It was a wonderful exhibition enabling me to invite friends, family and clients to come to the farm and experience the place for themselves. There were donkeys to ride, chickens to cuddle and an extremely friendly flock of sheep! I wanted everyone to see and be inspired in the same way that I had, by being on the farm.
This September I was invited to exhibit my largest painting from this collection at the Chelsea Art Society exhibition on the Kings Road. It was an exclusive exhibition for non members sponsored by the law firm Wedlake Bell. The Wedlake Bell award would be presented to one of the artists exhibiting.
My painting was given an excellent spot in the window of the exhibition. The gallery was full of promise and colour. At the preview party I was overwhelmed to receive the Wedlake Bell award by the Wedlake Bell team themselves. It was wonderful to be given the opportunity to share with their team the essence of my inspiration and I'm absolutely thrilled that my painting will hang in their London office.
I hope that my painting of these ancient plum orchards will create an atmosphere of calm and beauty, inviting the viewer to a peaceful space full of promise and light.
Artist Gail Reid Kindly provided a live link to my exhibition so that people could join us remotely. the recording can be viewed here: Film of exhibition
In the 37 minute film I will guide you around the show, describing my process and inspiration for each painting. Enjoy!