Inspiration is defined as:  The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially. to do something creative; a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea; the drawing in of breath; inhalation.

Summer Brome II, 30 x 40 inches, John Hulsey, oil painting
Summer Brome II by John Hulsey, 30 x 40, oil painting.

Inspiration is an elusive process and it is impossible to say why one thing inspires and another does not. It is an individual process, totally dependent on one's vision and mental state, and yet, ironically, when given substance and life through the creation of great art, inspiration can infect others with the same inspiration.

I was out walking in my woods this morning thinking about inspiration and how I have found it over the years. It seems to me that it comes in two distinctly different forms.

The first, less common form, is the sudden flash of recognition of a perfect subject or a creative idea that just begs to be given life. Sometimes I can act on these immediately. More often they can only be noted in my sketchbook, which may be a good thing, because they are then put to the test of time. Those ideas that survive are always the strongest.

The more common form of inspiration that I receive, especially as I have gotten older, is the inspiration derived from a prolonged inhalation of my subject. I find great value in a lukewarm approach to an interesting landscape or still life subject that requires me to study and dig deep into it to find what is beautiful and perhaps universal about it. I have come to believe that in nature, there is always a universal truth and beauty built in. Discovering that for myself often requires spending time drawing and making multiple paintings to get at the heart of it. These paintings always turn out to be my best work.

Are you looking for inspiration? Then click over to The Artist's Road, where you'll find it in over 375 fun and informative articles, tutorials, videos and interviews with some of the top artists working today.

–John and Ann


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John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.