Foraging for Inspiration

Foraging for Inspiration

Written By Pradeepa David

I recently asked on Instagram and Facebook stories about what you wanted me to write about and you said, ‘My inspiration’!!

So that’s what I’m talking about this time. I’m inviting you into my mind! Into the thought processes that lead to painting one subject and not another. Another artist may have a completely different thought process that is equally valid, but this is mine!! So come with me on this journey.

Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me〰️Come with me 〰️

I predominantly paint flowers, places and some animals. Recently I have tried some abstracts that I have very much enjoyed…maybe I will do more of them too!

But helicoptering back to inspiration, it very much has to do with to do with the way I’m made. I love scented flowers and stunning landscapes. And I love birds and little animals. One bird that has captured my ever-admiring eyes are hummingbirds.

I have to confess that I’ve never seen them in person. But that makes them even more special and makes me want to desperately paint them!! So, watch out for that one!!!

And I think, why? Why am I a stubborn hummingbird fan?

I remember seeing photos of them when I was young. Their long beaks and rapid flying have been in my memory bank for a long, long time. In fact, the seeds for a lot of these paintings have been sown when I was a child.

Never under-estimate the importance of those early years! A lot of my interests have certainly originated from there. It’s also a reminder for you and me to feed those hungry little minds with plenty of new and beautiful things.

Crocuses/ Original watercolour by Pradeepa David

But when I do come across something that I like, what makes me decide to paint it?  Let me use the example of flowers to talk you through my thoughts.

You know, all flowers are beautiful. A photograph is great for capturing their beauty. So why paint it? See?! A painting has to be almost better than a photo! I know! It’s such a tall expectation. In my early painting days, I painted everything I saw, AS I saw it. But now things have changed.

Now when I see a flower, and it arrests my attention, my thoughts move on to whether I can capture its beauty in a painting without doing it injustice. Can I capture its delicate petals catching the sun? Being entirely self-taught, sometimes, I think I can’t!

Watercolour Abstract series by Pradeepa David

But sometimes I can! I have an idea! A lightbulb moment of realising that I can put this leaf there and the flower here and using colours happens.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing stunning photos on Instagram and I have started painting some with permission. Here, however, I’m relying on the photos to give me the best angle and/or frame the main subject. So not all photos are paintable in that sense!

“Creativity is the most unpredictable of creatures”

— Pradeepa

I can set the mood with music, light and candles. But what I paint that day comes to me at that moment. I may have planned all my photos and subjects and colours. In that moment, when I sit to paint, if my heart calls in another direction, that’s where I go.

I love it! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I have half-finished paintings waiting for attention and their ‘day’!


Commissioned paintings are slightly different though! There’s a bringing together of the collector’s desired subject and my artistic style. But here again, I like to take my time with them. This is why I allow a month or two between commissioning and delivery of the painting, especially if it’s a bigger one or a few of them.

If you would like to commission a painting, you may know what you want painted, you may even have all the photos ready. But you may be feeling a bit stuck with knowing where to turn next. If that’s you, please contact me to help you take the next step!!!

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