Have you ever truly wondered where some inspiration comes from? If you have ever lost a loved one, I bet you can remember a time when you had a whisper in your ear, a vision or a feeling in your heart that inspired you to create something. I don't mean being inspired to create by your feelings of grief or a warm memory of the lost loved one, but I really mean an idea that seems to come from nowhere. Was this just a spark of inspiration, or were you getting a little help from the other side? This is an interesting idea, and I am sure there are non-believers, but I know sometimes I feel a guiding hand and perhaps it is my Mother leading me in the right direction with a piece. I know sometimes when taking a walk I will be drawn in a certain direction and not be quite sure why and sure enough there will be something there that inspires a piece. It does make you wonder. I would love to think that she is around me and helping me. Very talented painter, Lisa Graziotto had a really amazing experience when she did this incredible custom dog portrait for a young widow:
What inspired this piece?
A couple of years ago a client emailed me to ask if I would be interested in painting her dog Zack. She told me that both her and her husband really admired my work and were excited
about someday commissioning me to paint their dog. She went on to mention that this portrait will have an extra special meaning to her as her husband had just died suddenly a few weeks earlier and he would have wanted her to carry on with the portrait commission. Her
husband dropped dead of a heart attack one day in December while walking with Zack in the park. He was 36 and a new dad to a baby just a few months old. This request brought tears to my eyes. I called her to talk over the portrait and as we talked a very clear vision of what the painting should look like crossed my mind. I told her about it. Zack would be in a park setting with snow all around, the time of day would be just before dusk. Zack would be sitting,
looking directly at the viewer and under his paws I would paint a black and white photo of her husband. The photo would look like it is about to blow away if Zack were to lift his paw up. The client cried after I explained my vision. She said that this was the first time she had cried since her husband died. She thanked me. I hung up and spent the next few weeks alone in the studio working on this portrait and I swear at one point I felt her husband stand next to me
while I was putting the finishing touches on the painting. The painting was a huge part of my clients' healing process.
I’m not sure where the inspiration for this piece came from as I just did. Once I read the email I saw clearly in my mind’s eye the entire painting. I’d like to think that my client’s deceased husband has a hand at guiding me.
Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?
With this piece I really just didn’t think very much about the process of painting as I had a ‘vision’ of what the enitre composition was going to look like.
Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces?
My inspiration for a painting comes from many sources. Sometimes clients send me a paragraph or more describing their dog(s). It’s hard for me to place into words where my actual inspiration comes from as it often comes from a place where I can’t explain,a dream, a word in a song, a frame of film from a movie, the colour of a butterfly wing. I call my inspiration my muse and I don’t know where she comes from or how she works. On a side note, I like to think that part of my inspiration comes from my dog Dylan who passed away several years ago. In fact he is the reason I have devoted a big part of my career to animal portraits. He was always by my side and loved being in the studio with me.He would sometimes walk around the with a paint brush in his mouth! I used to wonder what he would create if he had the thumbs to really work the brush? I joke now by saying that he is now able to work through me painting subject matters that he can totally relate to! I miss that boy.
Any advice for someone feeling uninspired?
Hmmm, good question. I would suggest looking at the work of artists they admire. Listen to some great music, sing and dance out loud. Take a long hot bath with a big glass of wine.. Do anything to take your mind off of what you are trying to accomplish. By putting your focus on something other that work takes the pressure off the muse to do her job.
To see more of Lisa's incredible pet portraits and more, visit her website, thehowlingcanvas.com or her blog.
Well you can probably never truly know where some inspiration comes from, but wouldn't it be amazing if those on the "other side" were helping us out. There is probably no way to control this type of inspiration, except to be open to it. If you have a feeling or a vision, go with it and like Lisa, you may create a piece that is both incredible to look at and very meaningful.