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Mysterious Inspiration

Sometimes as an artist, for inexplicable reasons I see something that appeals to me, a cloud (don’t worry, not that again), a landscape, a face, a scene, that calls to me. Something that leaves me with the overwhelming urge to paint. There are times when even I am puzzled at the what and whys of my choices. The painting I did today falls under the mysterious inspiration category. I wrote a couple of days ago about being back in Chicago, in the heart of the city. The diversity of the people and places. As we sat at a red light I glanced out the window and saw a man sitting waiting for the bus. It was one of those moments that I felt the urge to capture. Maybe it’s the body position, or the way the light and shadow bounce off the figure. Or it could just be human curiosity. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog my sister, Colleen. I’ve also written about how funny she is. My Mom never learned how to drive. As kids we walked, rode in cabs, or most of the time, we took the bus. As we would sit on the bus, Colleen would look around the bus and choose someone to talk about. She would say things like, “See that lady, she had a fight with her husband this morning, and now she has to take the bus.” Or it might be, “That guy doesn’t like his family, he moved out of their house.” Or possibly, “That lady dyes her hair.” My poor Mother would be diving on her to try to get her to stop talking, sometimes really loud. I think what it inspired in me was a curiosity about who those people really were, and where they were going. I love Hopper’s Nighthawks, and I think it inspires that curiosity as well. I look at that painting and wonder about the patrons of that diner, who they were, and why they seem so lonely. I’ve also mentioned that I am a solitary figure myself, and maybe that’s the draw. My subject was the man at the bus stop, sitting in the rain with an empty shopping cart. I wondered about who he is, and where he was going, and what would eventually be in that cart. And as always, when I see someone who is alone, I worry for them and hope that it is only a temporary state.

Watercolor of a solitary man.image

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