Finding Inspiration


“Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.” -Anonymous

Starting something new can be a challenge. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day; work, cleaning, making dinner, news on the TV, binge watching the latest TV show. We’re all guilty of it. Sometimes finding inspiration and the energy for the things you love requires a bit of a push. My sister, a very talented artist, recently had this post on her Instagram:

“Before the pandemic, I had a hard time finding space in my life for creating. I knew I enjoyed it but somehow it was never at the top of my priority list. Now, I make time for it. Why? Because the world has been a wild place lately and I’ve realized that I find the most peace and joy in painting. It should have always been a priority though – it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for me to focus on this passion and dream of mine. So now, I make up for lost time. And it feels ohhhh so good.” Allison Sanders, @bigg_al_art

I love sketching animals and one day decided to sketch this little fox. As I was doing so, I was inspired to create this print.

Up until a couple years ago, like my sister, I didn’t often make time to create art outside of my work. I would only occasionally pull out my sketch book, so I decided to make drawing—and later, printmaking—more of a priority, just for myself, because I enjoy it. Despite wanting to make time for art, some days I’m tired, especially being pregnant, and some days I put too much pressure on myself and my brain remains blank. So, on those days when I’m waiting for inspiration to strike, I find that doing something completely unrelated can jumpstart my creativity and take my mind off of coming up with something new.

The process of our fertility journey and the emotions that go along with it in our hopes to become parents and my hopes to become a mother inspired this print.

As a child, I spent a lot of time outside and continue to love time spent in nature. Being outdoors helps to clear the mind and allows the heart to be more open to inspiration. On days that my brain seems locked up or I’m feeling stressed, going out in nature clears my mind. Nature is also a major part of my art and very inspiring for me. I pick up leaves and nuts, and photograph flowers and mushrooms on my walks with my fiancé and dogs to later draw and sometimes inspire new prints, like “Oak Leaves.”

One day while walking last spring I started picking up leaves and acorns to make sketches of when I got home. I ended up being inspired to create this simple print.

While I’m out there exploring nature and all her finery, I like to slow down and look closer. We move so quickly from one moment to the next barely taking in this place that sustains our life, sometimes treating it with very little regard. I love to get a different perspective. I drive my fiancé nuts sometimes because I want to stop and check out tiny little mushrooms, or the moss on a tree, or the colors of the sunset streaming through the trees, or the stars over our head. I find it all fascinating and it inspires my creative work.

For this print, I was inspired by the smoke that comes curling out of chimneys in the winter.

Go outside of your comfort zone. One day, I was talking with my sister about a creative block I was having. It had been a few weeks and I couldn’t come up with an idea for a new print. Her suggestion, try something different! I pulled out my charcoal pencils and started sketching from a photo I found on Pinterest. The style was fast and full of motion, very different from the precision that printmaking requires. It felt freeing. I feel like this could be applied to many different skills—try different materials, experiment. You never know where it might lead you.

Go someplace you haven’t been or do something you haven’t done before. When I first moved to Appleton 6 years ago I was nervous, I didn’t know where anything was! I had started a photography group, and coming up with new places to go pushed me to explore and I found so many neat local places. From the people I met along the way, I found even more places to explore. I’ve made a lot of friends who inspire me in the work they create, and it also helped me become more comfortable with this town I now call home.

So while it can be challenging and scary to start something new or to find inspiration, like my sister said, it can feel “ohhhh so good” and lead to many great things. Check out my prints during my pop-up art exhibition at August Haven in Appleton, April and May 2021.

Jackie lives in Appleton with her fiancé and two dogs. The couple will be getting married in Costa Rica, after a Covid reschedule, in February 2022. They are expecting their first child in August 2021. They love walking and hiking with their dogs and working on rehabbing their vintage camper.