More than just a pretty picture

Browsing through Instagram set me thinking about how other artists inspire me. Beyond admiring their work, they also challenge me in ways that contribute to my own growth as an artist.

Sarah McKendry

I finally trusted those voices rising from the depths of my soul telling me that it was time to shed the mediocrity and start living a life that challenged me on unimaginable new levels. It was time to be brave, to be vulnerable, and to prove to myself that it was never too late to start chasing my dreams into reality.

Sarah McKendry

Even though I’ve never met her, I feel I know Sarah. We both worked in Toronto for a number of years, found our creative path there and even visited Curry’s Art Store to get started. Like her, I followed my heart. We both moved away from the city to be closer to a place that inspires.

I found her via Instagram and fell in love with her style. While she calls herself a Canadian Realist Painter there is an ethereal quality to her work that is unique. She’s an artist who found her voice and is true to it.

She works exclusively in oil and because of her example, I decided it was finally time to dive in and try oils myself. I took one of her online courses and haven’t looked back.

Painting from McKendry Course
My Painting from Sarah’s Course

She challenged me to expand my comfort zone and I’m very grateful I did.

Andrea England

My muses are orcas, cedars, arbutus trees and humpback whales, current-swept coastlines and rolling waves. Each painting shares the movement, tranquility and energy of life by and on the sea, so you can always have a bit of the ocean with you.

Andrea England

Andrea is another artist who has a unique voice and style. You can’t mistake her work for anyone else’s. She also has a pretty unique home and studio – her sailboat.

I’m a water baby like her so I’m drawn to her work. She has a way of capturing the essence of water that I love. I could fall in! I also admire her adventurous spirit and connection to the natural world which I feel as well. I’d like to take one of her online classes (maybe next winter) and observe how she keeps her work so fluid and expressive.

She challenges me not to settle — to always look for the adventure even on dry land.

Andrea Garvey

I am happiest getting lost in the process of the details and layers that make up my art. I work with colors that make me happy – reminiscent of the beauty that is all around us. Just everyday simple beauty. Orange and pink, turquoise and red, lime and lavender. They are magical when painted together.

Andrea Garvey

Another Andrea but a completely different style. I love her vibrant colours and bold shapes. Andrea Garvey is an abstract artist and I’ll be honest – it was a style I steered clear of for many years for a number of reasons – all wrong.

I thought I couldn’t ‘do’ abstract although if you had asked me “Why?” I wouldn’t have a coherent answer. It was a weird rule I made up for myself and never questioned. I also didn’t try my hand at it because my resident art critic (aka my husband) doesn’t “get it”. Then I realized that shouldn’t matter. My studio. My rules.

So recently I tried my hand at something that was more about feeling and less about making something look real. It makes me smile and I want to do it again. I’m currently enrolled in one of Andrea’s online classes for that reason. I want to know more about mark making and joyous colour.

This Andrea challenges me to question my ‘rules’ and be willing to try something new.

These are just 3 of many but they are top of my list at the moment. I’d love to hear who inspires you and why. Share in the comments and expand the circle.

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