Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Painting for the Day: Office Suite in Blue

"Office Suite in Blue" ............ oil ............ 10" x 10"

Inspiration can come from unexpected sources. I was lucky enough to see a lecture last year by Jeanette Pasin Sloan, who spoke about her early ventures into art. (Her work is quite amazing and I hope you'll take a minute or two to look through her website.) As I recall, it went something like this... she had a degree in art history, but was unable to find work in that field. At home with young children she realized there was more she wanted to do with her life, and so decided she would teach herself to draw and paint by recreating every object in her kitchen. This took two years, if I remember correctly... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sloan's life is as different from mine as anything I can imagine, and yet the idea of painting what was around me, as simple as that sounds, stayed in my head. At the time I'd built a small but workable clientele for my botanical work over a dozen and half years. I was feeling a bit restless with it, however, and wanted to venture elsewhere for awhile. Somewhere in between then and later, I started making painting familiar objects in my office and studio. The series is still quite small, and nothing at all like the fine work of Sloan, but I think I owe this jump to her (and to Big Lots, who was selling 4 tape dispensers in a pack for $2 in blue, green, pink, and yellow. The crappiest tape ever, but the I saw those transparent colored dispensers and had to have it).

Where does your inspiration come from?



  1. Hi R.,

    This is great. Too bad the tape is no good
    because the blue is gorgeous. I put your name on my blog list. Sorry I'm slow with all techie upgrades.

    Take care,


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  3. Thanks, Barbara,
    The tape is no big loss, still a write off as a 'model'. And who can keep up with all the techie updates? Not me, that's for sure.

  4. Great painting! So clean and clear, simply stated and fun. Interesting to see J. Sloan's work. Those are some complex set-ups! Like Janet Fish.I can appreciate the technical skill.

    I certainly hear the inspiring words of past mentors and instructors when I paint. Am inspired by all God's creations; by the mystery of being alive; by memory and cognition; by science; by kindness and acts of compassion.

    Oh, and yes, heard the big brush lesson long ago, too : )

  5. Inspiration comes by showing up to work every day--as I heard one artist put it, being "present" with the work. Sometimes images come full blown in my head, seemingly from out of the blue (no pun intended!), but most of the time the ideas flow when I am in my studio, ready to work. And if they don't flow so well (as happens regularly), I still do something to stay connected with the materials and the creative process.

  6. OMG, this is SOOOOO cooooool!!!!

  7. I just looked at Sloan's work. Ouch--my eyes cross just looking at that kind of thing for 2 seconds.

  8. Ohh, I like this! I love that blue!

    I try to find inspiration in the everyday and objects around me, but I have to sometimes be reminded to look at things with an artistic eye, and I do that by seeing how other artists take in the world in their own work. A little inspiration goes a long way!


  9. Well, my inspiration comes from everything around me! My views from my porch, my pets, my coffee cups... I guess I love everything I see! I am so thrilled you commented on my blog - I've been sitting here with coffee reading back on your blog - and here I have to say your 'rants' are really mild! I like your view of art, of life, and your sense of humor! Believe me I will be checking in on your blog - and would like permission to put a link to it on mine? Thanks,

  10. Love this, too! Those cheap little dispensers often catch my eye for that unique color.
    And those pushpins! I used them in class for still life drawing bigger than life. What great fun they were for abstract theory.

    Thanks for pointing us towards J.Sloan. I agree with Liz...some Janet Fish in hers. Amazing technical prowess. Balancing act is just what I have called my latest post! Didn't steal it from her, promise!

    The ordinary is where I find my ideas, in the kitchen, tool boxes,studio,garden and food market.
    Inspiration comes from masters old and new. My dad was my first art teacher.He is the one who spoke of "imagination" as well as drawing what is before us in reality. It used to come from my teaching youngsters, now it comes from all of you.

  11. Hi Liz, thanks for the compliment. I'm very happy with this little piece.
    Sloan's work (that I saw in a gallery at least) is very large, so up close they seemed a lot more 'loose' (using that tem loosely) and not intimidating. Some pieces were fairly simple compositions, with one item on a 5' x 6' canvas.

    Elizabeth, you are so right, and that's why I'm working everyday. The more I work the more ideas I get.

    THANKS, Jala!!!
    (Sorry about the eye-crossing thing; her work is easier to view in person. The website pictures deserve to be larger.

    Thanks, Kerri!

    Thanks, Kelley, and sure, feel free to link. I'll link you, too; I've admired your work for a long time!

    Thanks Cathyann! Aren't pushpins the coolest? And things they can make out of plastic. Had I had any idea how to pursue it, I think industrial design would've been an interesting career choice.

  12. R.... your paintings are so I could reach right in there and grab that tape dispenser! So, so impressive!
    I'm inspired by! My mind is continually working! It drives me insane!

  13. your paintings are ssssoooooooo beautiful.
    In this one I love the blue and the simple staff.

  14. Thanks Manon! I was going for tangible, so cool!

    Thanks, Irit! I was very drawn to that color of blue, too.

  15. "paint what you know". That's stuck with me forever... so much so that I can't remember where it came from.

    I agree with Kerri that everything can be inspiring... just remember to turn your painter's eye on.

    Great painting, R. Continue to be inspired.

  16. Always fun to check in and see your latest work and enjoy your sense of humor! I am inspired by everything. It's hard for me to look at anything and not imagine painting it. Years ago I went to the Art Students League (Denver) and listened to a lecture by Daniel Sprick. His advice was to paint everything, but to be careful and focused about what you choose to sell.

  17. Hi Cheryl, I may have gone to the same lecture, though I don't remember Sprick saying that particular thing... great lecture, though. He's back May 16 at ASL. Fascinating guy.

  18. Hey This is so beautiful and fresh..the blue color is so nice..:) I like it very much!
    Art on Sketchbook

  19. Wow, pretty darn creative. I like your simple palette, and your composition definitely keeps my eyes moving around and around in your painting. Can't wait to see more...

  20. I consider being an artist the best possible condition for moment by moment entertainment. I can just sit almost anywhere and just look at shadows, values, colors, and see interesting stuff around me to ponder about. I must seem strangely content to non-artist types. Just sit me in a corner, and I am happy. Are othes like this--? Yes, I say, if they are a practicing artists. I am even more dangerous on the road...I get so distracted.

  21. You're right, R, inspiration can come from just about anywhere. They key is to make whatever it is we are painting our own which you clearly do with your unique style and means of arrangement and technique.

  22. First, thanks for your visit to my blog and your nice comments. Sloan's work is amazing..I have seen it before. I find a kindredness in her story. I get my inspiration from observations I make in the way light creates contrast across the plane and the color in our world. I am intrigued by the position of objects/subjects in a composition. I am also inspired by my dear artist friends, their work ethic, their quest for that next solution of the puzzle on the canvas or paper or ? Last of all, I am inspired by the opportunity the internet gives us, to view and communicate with others about their art and the chance to hear their stories - see their work. Throw in the mix, hopefully, a dash of creativity and a pinch of imagination and I am off and painting. I really like your subject matter of late...the chicken and the egg - a 10 on the smile meter!

  23. Love the crisp clean look of the blue and the white. I remember reading an article in Watercolor Artist about Sloan. I was amazed at the technical skill for sure. I would say that I am always looking at things all around me for inspiration. My friend called me the other day and said her Amaryllis was blooming, so I headed over there and took lots of photos from different angles and with the sun glowing through the petals...I'm sure it will show up as a painting at some point in the future. My digital camera is practically attached to my arm for taking reference photos!

  24. Hi Doug, I remember 'write what you know' from high school and college... only problem was (and still is) I don't know much of anything...!

  25. Thanks for stopping by, Megha and Rob!

    Sandra, good point... everything looks like a painting waiting to happen to me, too.

    Thanks, Paula! I appreciate that very much.

    Thanks, Pattie! The internet has certainly opened a new world of ideas and friends for me as well.

    Becky, I have a similar attachment to my digital camera. It's an amazing appendage.

  26. Inspiration - well, I like to paint people and I have three gorgeous children! I have to be careful sometimes - I tend to see people as possible "subjects" and often find myself staring. LOL

  27. Hey R.!!! This has to be one of my favorites. I wish I had the talent and discipline to paint images like this. Thanks for linking Jeannette's website for me. I was wowed when I saw her work for the first time in Artist's Mag. Good to be back and yes, it is a small world!!! HUGS!

  28. R, You have been very busy! Great set-up...I love the blue and white. You are my inspiration! ;)

  29. Thanks, Anne!

    Thanks Sheila, keep after it and you'll develop both your talent and your discipline (they go hand in hand, and I'm working on both every day). I know you've got it in you!

    Thanks Michelle, You're my inspiration, too!

  30. I love your post, You gave me a big smile. Thank you R

  31. Dominique, if I made you smile, then it was all worth it. Thanks for all the kindness and inspiration you give us all.

    Thanks, Diane! Nice of you to swing by!

  32. So interesting to see Sloan's work - it's amazing how one little thing can stick with us. I love your paitings of the every day things. Wayne Thiebaud comes to mind - I see his legacy here as well. You made a blue tape dispenser come alive... we all see it differently now. Thanks!

  33. Thanks, Laurel; I'm a big fan of Theibauds. Also a big fan of little plastic thingies.


Thank you for your kind comments! They always make my day.