Inspiration - The act of drawing air into the lungs; to infuse into the mind; suggest ideas. A divine influence directly/immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
British dictionary: stimulation of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity.
1275-1325; Middle English/Late Latin
Serendipity - an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
1754 (but rare before 20c.), coined by Horace Walpole (1717-92) in a letter to Horace Mann; he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of." The name is from Serendip, an old name for Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka)…
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary does not define this word. But here is a related word:
Serenity: clearness and calmness; quietness; peace; stillness
All of us have been inspired: “I was so inspired as I walked through the art gallery - I’m going to begin painting.” or “the teaching I heard today so inspired me to consider how I respond to negative feedback.”
And many have had the moments of serendipity. “I went out on a rainy day to take photos of trees. There I came upon the most beautiful buds on my Hydrangea plant that had brilliant gem-colors. It was the discovery of the day!”
I love the contrast of these two words. They are, however, also synonymous in that the discovery of a beautiful photo op - quite by accident - inspired me to begin collecting photos of budding plants in the rain to inspire the colors in painting scenery.
While I am looking to be inspired, I also want to inspire you to be open to moments of serendipity that will inspire you. You may not even be looking for inspiration but in a serendipitous moment you “spring forward into suddenly's of creativity.
As I’m beginning a new work of abstract on canvas I spend time reflecting on what I’ve been drawn to in nature, in music, etc. I also draw from where I am spiritually. There have been times my painting represents celebration, a releasing, or a promise. Hope and Joy are two themes I love putting on canvas. These are all what I consider to be my “first brush-stroke”. Then comes the color(s). Sometimes it becomes the base for other colors applied on top. I paint very few abstracts that I see the finish from the beginning. Each layer, each color, each direction of the brush is a dance that I’ve never danced before.
I don’t usually finish a work in one session or even one day. I have to let layers dry of course, but even then I am willing to give a painting some time to grow on me in the stage its in…then I’ll see a place on the canvas or in my heart that says “start here, with this color and….” and I do. The science of a painting is that it becomes a language. Leonardo saw painting as supreme among the sciences. A language is born when a painter’s hand takes the brush knowing it his mind and soul directing the strokes.
The artist's eye sees what his heart is saying and expresses it visually.