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Tuesday Tips – Mary Harding Uses Art as Inspiration

Finding inspiration for your work can be as simple as a trip to a museum. Mary Harding recently wrote on her blog about a trip to see paintings by the Canadian Group of Seven. I love how Mary abstracted the trees in these paintings into her own unique design that is clearly a ‘Mary Harding’ piece.

Mark Aurele Fortin

Tom Thompson

Tom Thompson

Look at this wonderful pendant Mary made inspired by these paintings.

But how do you that? How do you translate art that inspires you into your own design?

Think about what a piece of art says to you. What emotions does it evoke? Is it the colour? The forms? In other words, what makes it personal for you? That’s a great starting point for making your own personal statement.

Mary, abstracted an individual tree from a images of a forest. Sometimes I like to use my fingers to form a little window to look at smaller pieces of an image.

Another way to approach this would be to pull out elements, like a tree, a bird, a flower, and start rearranging them in a sketch. Often times a completely unique design can spring from this.

One of the greatest things about using clay is that you have the means to work in three dimensions. Look at Mary’s trees. Clearly they have an affinity with the paintings but they aren’t literal copies of those paintings. But look at the dimension she added by sculpting a model for her pendants.

These are just my thoughts on how you might approach other artist’s work as inspiration for your own. Many of you have your own way of doing this and I’d love to hear about it!

Mary, thanks so much for sharing your photos and your inspiration with us!


  1. I loved that post by Mary. This is truly what I am all about. I think that it is fascinating that the same people could approach a painting in a completely different way... think of what the Art Bead Scene shows. When I did my gallery exhibit with this same idea, I let the painting talk to me. Sometimes it was a more literal translation of the piece - like using a tulip bead for the still life. Othertimes it was the play of color on color - as with the beads I had Kerry Bogert make me - and then I turned it into a free for all of palette. Evoking the shapes and lines, of even one part is important. I did that with some long dangly silver daggers to evoke the light shining between the horses legs in one painting. I think that there are so many ways to be inspired by art. And I think that this was a great introduction to that. Thanks for sharing the inspiration today!
    Enjoy the day!

  2. I am so pleased to be featured here today and to have been an inspiration. Thanks so much for the great post.

  3. This is a great post, inspiration is truly every where we look.

  4. This is great to hear how artists are inspired to create such individual and lovely works of arts.

    Mary from start to finish your work is breathtaking.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  5. I love the inspiring art work...It makes me want to run out to my studio...and get lost in the ideas...Maybe you could come up with a wonderful art piece for the Nature Challenge....:-)


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