One never knows when the inspiration for a painting may strike. So often I’ve chosen a subject to paint simply because I happened to be in that location and had time to paint. But occasionally I will see something and just know that I have to paint it. When my kids were young that was really frustrating because I didn’t have to time to respond to those inspirations. They don’t come along very often but when they do I can now respond, happy in the knowledge that such paintings usually turn out well.
I had been painting in a friend’s studio with several others earlier this year. When we finished painting and went upstairs to eat lunch, I saw a bowl of onions on her kitchen counter and there was that feeling. “I’ve just got to paint this.” Who knew a bowl of onions would beg to be painted? Anyway, we were done painting for that day. But she told me she liked to cook with onions and usually had a bowl of them on the counter. So the next time we painted at her house I made sure there would be a bowl of onions for me to paint and that they would be the reddish kind that I had seen earlier. I wondered what I would use for foreground and background but that was solved for me when she sat the bowl on a small wooden table that was just the right color. And the floor of the studio, seen in the background, provided the needed dark accent.
So keep your eyes open and who knows what you will see. It isn’t only dramatic sunsets, majestic mountains, or an especially beautiful face or body that can inspire an artist. It could be something as simply as a bowl of onions.