A Case Study of Inspiration: Part 2 by Jennifer Wagner

Part 1 of this post is here.
After creating a piece that was very similar to the painting I was inspired by I moved on to these three pieces.  

I began each piece by dividing the background because I really liked that in my original inspiration image.  I consciously chose to divide the background in different orientations so that if viewed all in a row there would be immediate visual interest.  I also decided that I would use the same model and color scheme in each image.  I limited myself to four colors, the blue and and red tones were directly pulled from the model's clothing and hair.  White and black were the other two colors and then I decided to add some golden accents.  

After each piece was nearly finished I sat with it to figure out what quote I would put on each one.  I didn't want to impose a message arbitrarily; each image really inspired the quotes I paired with them.

In looking at these three images versus my original inspiration and my attempt to duplicate that, I can definitely see the influence of the original but each piece definitely took on its own look.



A Case Study of Inspiration by Jennifer Wagner

I wanted to share an example of how I gain inspiration by another person's work and then put my personal twist on it.

I have long admired Anahata Katkin of Papaya! If you aren't familiar with her, you can learn about her at her blog and find lots of great examples of her work at her gorgeous online store.  

This year I have one of her calendars (appropriately titled "Twelve Muses") hanging right next to my computer monitor so whenever I am working in Photoshop, one of her beautiful paintings is always in my field of vision, seeping into my subconscious.  

October's image, "The Swallows" is probably my favorite, I have this same piece on a canvas hanging elsewhere in my house.  So I have looked at it a lot.  You can see the original image here.

I set myself a challenge of trying to recreate it in Photoshop.  Anahata Katkin typically starts with a painted canvas which she brings into Photoshop where she further edits and embellishes it to use in her product lines.  I just started with a white background in Photoshop, popped in a background of a similar color and blacked out the top portion.  I found a woman in an old painting who was looking the same direction and edited that to bring it a little closer to the black and white charcoal look of the original.  Then I spent several hours building up paint textures, learning and having fun along the way.  

Attempting to recreate someone's work is a great exercise in really looking closely at things, seeing how the composition plays out, why it works and most importantly what draws you to it.  It makes you think about why you are enthralled by something and then you can employ what you learn to make pieces that captivate others.

I really loved working on that piece and decided I wanted to try a few more that retain some of the elements of my original inspiration but really are my own.  I wanted to see if I could create a series, something akin to a triptych.  This is where your own creativity can kick in and you can approach a piece utilizing the lessons you learned from the inspiration.  Stay tuned for my upcoming post where I will reveal the three pieces I created as a result of this experiment!