How is travel an inspiration to artists

Truth be told,

I did not paint for many years, although I had developed the knowledge of interest as a child.

It was as though something in me had died,

Not many people follow their passion, but everyone can if they are being encouraged and for some, it could be just an ‘instinct’ hitting them out of the blue.

Its simple, Painters need ‘inspiration’, and to be inspired one has to be impressed with what they see or sense.

More often than not, I find myself stranded in front of the canvas in a state of destitute, yearning for creation. Now you may think, it is because I have not been motivated by the world around me. Well, this is not true, a painting can have different shades of each color, or plain black and white, different techniques, but  the one thing that does not change is its ‘meaning’ – the story of the painting. In short, a painter can create his canvas conveying a story meticulously in a single page, just like  a novel, but with a number of pages from 600 or 4000 words. I mean to say, an author pens down his ideas in his books through his experiences maybe about people he comes across, about places he visits, and even in the case of his fictional books, he derives a concept from either of the above. And a painter excels in his work if he has the potential to ‘hypothetically exaggerate’ a silhouette on his mind and it is for this reason, I feel ,having a eye for minuscule observations can help stir the creative side in you.

Travel has inspired artists for centuries and that comes with no doubt. It was not that long ago,until the feeling of wanderlust infected me, I understood that each country has its own sense of style such as the American paintings that are based on true events around the world, is a great cultural contribution to the world of art, Indian paintings such ad tanjore keep its boundaries within the Indian tradition which I absolutely adore. Nevertheless, we all know some of the best paintings comes from European artists whether it is the French or the Italians.

A few things that I like about European artisans, is the open-mindedness of the aspiring artists and the sincerity towards their craftsmanship. On my visit to the Europe, I came across some phenomenal works :

a) the street painting in the form of graffiti in Paris,

b) pavement artists in Italy or the chalk artists in Florence( on a street called orsanmichele) where an artist chalk  the famous painting ‘Girl with pearl earrings’ originaly painted by a Dutch Johannes Vermeer

c) the intricate  detailing chiseled in each sculpture including Michelangelo’s David 

d) painted ceilings(frescoes) in Sistine chapel decorated by Michelangelo, and the frescoes of Raphel rooms (Stanze di Raffaello) by Raphel in the Vatican Museum, Rome

The next day, I was flushed with a stream of  creative views, driving the feel of breakthrough to massacre my canvas and no Im not exaggerating.

Although i did not get a chance to literally carry my paints and supplies on my travel, this is something I wish to do at some point, because i truly believe it can help ‘technically’ in drawing a subject, understanding the importance of color, value and its tone. At the end of this all, I’m sure it is  going to be a worth- while painting composed  with emotions. I would not mind this technique of self – learning nor would I mind capturing all the images  of the journey on my mind and make belive those stories on my canvas once I reach home.

Likewise, hadn’t I traveled and cherished art at the same time, I wouldn’t be here to tell you the tale  🙂

More from Shilpa Balakrishnan
How to Spend a Week in Dallas: Exploring the Art and History
With many business travelers visiting Dallas only for few hours, the city...
Read More
Join the Conversation


  1. says: leefeller

    I have a total opposite response to a blank canvas as you describe, my only hesitation seems to be what size canvas or board and possibly which medium to use… seems I always have the inspiration only thing left is the challenge to achieve results I am pleased with.

    1. In fact size or board medium doesn’t seem to be a problem with me. But agree with the challenge of achievin the results since I feel no matter how much I do, I still feel there s a tiny bit missin in my artworks:)

        1. Leefeller, Sorry for the late reply. I second that, There are a couple of paintings that I have left for many months but have successfully managed to complete the next time I took it and turns out satisfactory. Im sure that happens to you aswell. Just bumped into your blog, Art-poetry-musing-politics,You have the whole world under your roof:).However, very well written:)

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

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.