Scenic Inspiration

In a recent comment a reader asked  “Jen, where do you get inspiration for your scenery paintings? Do you paint by imagination or do you paint from nature, photographs, etc?”  

I thought I would go ahead and share the answer with you all 🙂  Thank you Ana Karla for the great question! 

The answer is actually all three.  The majority of my oil painted landscapes began by first visiting the specific location, taking photographs and doing sketches or quick paintings on site.  Then I work on the larger pieces in the studio using my sketches and photography as reference.

 Some of my more recent work however are purely imagined landscapes.  These free flowing, expressive pieces emerged out of my desire to continue painting landscapes and my limited time (with a toddler) to actually paint on site.  It has taken my art to a whole new place and I am absolutely loving it!  

Here are a few examples of each.

 Before moving to our current town, I was a part of a weekly plein air painting group.  We would go out to different parks, farms, lakes, etc and paint on site.  Often I would use pastels or paint a small 9″x12″ study.  “Gone Fishing,” the 24″x36″ oil painting pictured below, began as a plein air study during one of our weekly outings.

Although I don’t have much opportunity these days, I really enjoy the relaxing feeling of painting on site.  The process of painting becomes merged with the warmth of the sun & the sounds of nature.  This small 5″x7″ acrylic image below was painted while sitting at a lake side picnic table while on a camping trip with my family this fall.    

My years of observing and painting the natural world  have made it easier for me begin painting imagined landscapes such as the  “Going Home.”  It is a 16″x20″ acrylic painting filled with drips, splatters and fingerprints!  


I’ve had so much fun with this question I would like to turn it around. How about you, where do you get the inspiration for your artwork? I’d love to know.

If anyone out there ever have any questions about my art or workshops, or heck pretty much anything, I’d love to hear from you.  I promise to always answer from my heart!

For those of you who live nearby there are a few upcoming events where I can share even more with you in person.  I would LOVE it if you could join me and help me spread the word by telling your friends!

1. Presentation: Join me at the Arts Center in Downtown Fayetteville, NC on January 16th at 7:30 pm for an interactive presentation on my heart centered art and career.   This event is free and open to the public.  

2. New Workshop:  If the idea of paint splattering sounds like fun to you, I invite you to join me for the new workshops “Paint Your Heart Out!”  

Upcoming classes: February 11th, 2012 1-4pm @ Gallery One13 in Downtown Fayetteville, NC
March 17th, 2012 1-4pm @ Chambers Arts! in Cary, NC.

Click here to visit the events and workshops page for more details. 

1 Comment

  1. Ana Karla
    December 18, 2011

    I loved this article. I feel better knowing that other artists paint from photographs, etc. I only paint from photos. I have not yet attempted to paint on site and can’t, yet, from imagination. I have a huge problem with depth, so if I am not “looking” at the image I might end up with completely wrong proportions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top