Finding Inspiration in Other Artists

making images in abstract art
This painting was inspired by one with a dark ultramarine blue vase and huge sunflowers with a book laying beside it. I was going for something more nostalgic calling mine Let’s Dance. What attracted me was the bright red, blue and yellow colors

There is a saying that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” yet not in art then it’s just plain stealing. It can happen easily enough when you look to other artists for inspiration and suddenly your work starts to resemble theirs. Copying another artist is a great way to learn but sooner than later you need to find your own style.

However, being inspired by the work of others can lead you to push your own art to greater heights:

Notice the kinds of brush strokes the artist is making. Find a subject of your own where you can apply the same kinds of marks. This is a great exercise to loosen up for those of us who paint very tightly.

making images in abstract art
Another way to copy an artist is to imitate their color palette. I’ve seen art that just jumps off the canvas at me because of the color combinations. There is no copy right law on the color wheel so you are free to learn from others often in ways you had not considered.

The idea for this painting came from an abstract piece full of soft colors and everywhere possible animals were drawn around the color shapes. I was interested in seeing what would develop from my color shapes – I call it The Crowd.

There is nothing wrong with borrowing the subject either since there are probably not many that haven’t already been explored. You can come at the subject from a different angle or perspective making it your own. A subject can be so compelling that you can do a whole series of paintings to fully explore it.

Figure out what makes the artist’s work interesting and then go through your pictures or take new ones and mess with them in your photoshop program.

So while it is acceptable to get inspiration from other artists’ work; it is not ok to steal it. There’s no need to steal because everyone sees things a little differently. Bring your own style and personality to your work.

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