Inspiration: Colors and Textures

Published by Kelley on

plant textures demonstrate artistic line

Someone told me yesterday that she didn’t have any creative ideas. Where do I get my inspiration? That one is easy! Inspiration is everywhere! You can train your own eye and increase creativity by practicing your observation skills.

The cell phone camera is one of the greatest gifts to artists in the history of mankind. No disrespect to photographers who take high quality, frameable photographs, but the magic of being able to record every detail that catches our eye is a stunning revelation for anyone lacking creative ideas, and an overwhelming opportunity for anyone who sees creative ideas everywhere! I will stop and take a shot of the weirdest things, because I like the color, the texture, or the way it sparks my imagination.

leaf and cigarette as example of artistic observation

I don’t have to know how I intend to use it before I take a picture. Maybe I’ll never look at it again– but maybe I will. I stop, randomly, on walks whenever I see interesting tree bark. It can inspire a mixed media composition, a nuno felted vest, or a color palette for dyeing silk. Who knows?

examples of texture illustrated with tree bark
Tree Bark, in its many forms, inspires textures and composition.
rock surfaces to demonstrate texture

Rocks: Shadows, line, texture, composition

metal patina examples for artistic inspiration

Metal Patina: Colors, lines, composition, balance

If you’re feeling that you lack creative inspiration, I want to challenge you to take at least one photo each day for the next month. Examine something that you have never even noticed before, and record it with a photo!

  • extreme closeup of a starfish showing pattern
    Starfish Extreme Closeup
  • closeup of fish scales to show pattern
    Fish Scales
  • Bright pink sea anemone showing composition and color
    Sea Anemone

Closeups often show some details you miss when you look at the big picture. Sometimes, though, try pulling back and seeing a large area as though it’s a painting.

aged brick with algae showing texture
Algae streak on aged brick in London
collection of textile textures

I collect textures on my phone everywhere I go. Sometimes, the simplest things are fascinating when you hold them still with a photo.

  • pidgeon against cracked concrete
    An example of texture in an everyday sight.
  • reeds and waterfall showing contrasting light and texture

If you give this a try, and start collecting photos of interesting textures, send me a copy at, and I’ll write a blog post with pictures you’ve shared!

Copyright ©  2019-2020 Kelley Adams.  All rights reserved.

All text, photos, and graphics are the property of Kelley Adams.


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