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Why Cow Noses Make for Better Art

I’m inspired by odd things in art and life.

Maybe things that lots of people don’t notice, I don’t know.

I saw someone in the 30 Days, 30 Paintings challenge who painted cows for the whole challenge. I loved the colours in their noses. It heavily influenced my use of colour since. Purples, pinks, blues, greens…so much win.

Shadows were complex and not flat. Colours played against each other to create whole new visuals. Inspiring.

Those noses, 30 days of them, changed the way I approached shadows and even colour in general.

I got an email from a landscape painter yesterday. A really nice email. So I took a peek at her art.

Wow. Just…wow.

Now, I spent some time painting landscapes. I focused on northern Ontario for the most part. And I really enjoyed it while I was doing it, but I got bored.

I ran out of things to say with my art and moved on to other focuses. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe not.

This landscape painter who emailed me, she’s head and shoulders above me. Her landscapes sing. The colours play off each other. I can almost feel the summer sun beating down on me.

Gorgeous, gorgeous work. I’m inspired.

And it’s a good thing because, for one show this year, I’m popping back to landscapes. Switching up my artistic focus because changing things up, even for a short while, can be a very good thing.

Sometimes the little things get to me. Make me think. Remind me to try something different.

I once bought an owl shaped wash cloth because I liked the blue dye.

It was hung right where I used to paint. I saw it every day. A year later, that blue colour, teal actually, had found its way into my art.

I bought one kitchen knob (just the one, weird right?) which had a shape that appealed to me and a brushed metal feeling about it.

I used that when I painted Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy. Brushing layers of colour roughly.

I never had any intention of actually using my tube of neon pink. I bought it because the colour made me happy.

We all know how that worked out…I think I’ve gone through 10 or so tubes of that one colour.

We all have things that inspire, lift up and bring joy. I get messages, likes, emails and even phone calls from people who are moved by my work. I am so grateful for each person who reaches out to me.

As I wander through my days being inspired by the colour of paint splashed on my jeans, or the label on a bottle of wine, I’m apparently inspiring the people around me. Sprinkling little bits of joy and colour everywhere.

It makes me feel like an art fairy and I’m actually okay with that. It’s surreal, but nice.

I’m somebody’s painted cow nose.