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  • Writer's pictureSusie Zol

Inspiration for Garden Party

Hello You!

I think by now it's no surprise that I'm fully inspired and in love with the natural world around me! I spend a lot of time outdoors whether I'm traveling or at home. As a child, I lived in a very rural setting and spent hours feeling at home in nature. Whatever my mood is, I know I will feel uplifted by spending time outside. Actually, I just spent a weekend outdoors showing my art at ArtWalk Liberty Station. It's one of my favorite shows because of the park setting.

I recently finished a big landscaping project with my husband. We removed our grass and planted native plants. We added stone walkways and drought tolerant ground cover. We both love our new backyard and I wanted to create a painting that captured the essence of our new outdoor views. I went outside to capture photos of my inspiration. I took my journal for notes and sketching and then I headed to my art studio.

I found an older painting to use as my base, I mixed up some beautiful colors and got a few tools and paintbrushes to work with. Inspiration and creative flow found me and I let the painting evolve.

Here's a video of some of the progress:

  • Don't be afraid to paint over an older painting, or one that you didn't complete. Some of the color and all of the texture can be part of your next exciting painting!

  • If I'm feeling hesitant or worried I repeat to myself, "trust yourself, play with the materials you have, "enjoy yourself".

  • I love adding drips, I spritz my wet paint with water.

  • Load your brush with paint and use it at different angles for loose mark-making.

Now I've got something to look at, edit, compose and complete.

In the top photo, I feel like I've got a good balance of colors and shapes and I'm stepping back and squinting my eyes to see what's there. In the middle photo, I'm using chalk to outline some of the shapes I see that relate back to my garden inspiration. In the bottom photo, I've painted around the shapes (rather than painting an outline I like to paint the negative space to bring things forward.) I'm getting closer to completion and now I'm checking on the composition and the overall feeling I want to capture. I know I want the feeling of being in the garden, a bit soft and dreamy with recognizable shapes.

And here is the final painting, Garden Party, 30"h x 40"w acrylic mixed media on canvas

Even though it's a bit more representative than my other paintings, I love it! It's just what I was feeling as I sat on the patio with my morning coffee and viewed my garden. The flowers, the palms, the fountain, the sunshine and the breeze. It's all there in my interpretation. I have it hanging near the door to my garden for now and it's for sale if you're interested - let me know!

Let yourself be inspired by your surroundings. Even if you think there's nothing around (especially if you think that!), take a walk with your camera, a bag for collecting and a small journal for notes and/or sketches. Take your time and capture some images of things far away and close up. Relax and enjoy yourself. No commitment, no pressure. You might be surprised by what you inspires you.

I've got some traveling adventures coming up and will be sharing some art and life here and there on Instagram and Facebook but won't be back to an art show until October 7-8 when I'll be at booth 253 on Girard Street at the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival in La Jolla, CA. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

In gratitude,



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