11 May

Inspiration and Invention

It seems I paint the way I cook, decorate and garden, which makes sense in that they are all creative endeavors. To my mind, they all require imagination, which sometimes works and is sometimes less successful, but you learn from it.

While you can do those activities without creativity – follow a recipe exactly, plant what somebody tells you to, hire a decorator, do paint by numbers – that takes the fun out of it for me. I'm the inventor/architect type, for those who follow psychological typology research, and am not happy following rules, staying in the lines or copying other people. I need to be inspired, and I believe some training, some research and a bit of invention can result in serendipity.

Sometimes it works – a stunning garden bed, yummy meal or cozy seating area. Sometimes it doesn't – so-so meal, bad wall color, flowers that die. All are fixable, and, really, nothing ventured equals nothing gained. The grilled cheese sandwich with all our leftovers in it worked surprisingly well; the addition of failed cookies to the apple crisp, less so. Bright blue delphinium didn't thrive, but encouraging the hardy daffs and lilies to spread worked like a charm, providing impressive swathes of color for months.

The same thing happens with a painting. Pastel is the perfect medium for me, allowing layers of colors as I change my mind – which happened a couple of times with this painting of Venice.  Sometimes my more spontaneous approach results in a so-so painting, sometimes a terrific one. Sometimes I can't tell until I'm almost done, and that's ok. I have confidence in my color sense and my ability to fix whatever isn't  working. And I'm fine with it not working once in a while, too. Live and learn, and have fun.



  1. LOVE this blog post, Beth! And though I can't speak for the painting part, I totally agree with your points about gardening and cooking since I like to do both. Gorgeous painting too!


  2. I totally agree!

    A wise painter friend told me "Paint every day and allow yourself to fail".  I remember that every time something does not come together. It is when I get frustrated and let go that sometimes the magic happens. 


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