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How to Glean Inspiration

In case you were wondering what the heck does glean mean, it means to take from various sources or to collect gradually. I'm the frequent reader of messages from artists saying the same thing, "How do you find inspiration? I feel like I never have any ideas on what to paint or where to start and I can't make anything unless I'm looking at someone else's painting."


If that's you, don't feel bad. I've been in that exact same place. I have said those very words and I used to be guilty of using Pinterest as means to make "original" paintings (but really, they were just copies).


It wasn't until I learned that you can't paint a picture from someone else's painting or photograph without stepping on their copyright that I really got a good handle on finding inspiration that spoke to ME. I realized I couldn't license or make prints of 90% of my work because I didn't come up with the composition I had painted. Even just a hint of the idea of being sued over copyright is enough to make any artist sweat.


That was the moment when my artwork took on a mind of it's own, that was the motivation I needed. I was committed to creating my own pieces and I no longer needed to see other's paintings to get an idea.


I had learned to find ideas and inspirations in the wild.


I like to use the term gleaning inspiration because it implies that you are always on the lookout for new ideas and inspirations.