Posted on October 3, 2016

Finding inspiration: shapes, patterns & motifs

Last week I started a new course in pattern design (yes, I’m obsessed!), and the homework was to find simple shapes and motifs in the everyday things around you. Noticing the everyday things around you, really.

The idea was to get out and about, away from the computer, observing nature and the great outdoors in real life, sketching and photographing along the way.

Finding inspiration: wild flowers

Each day I excelled at finding the inspiration:

On walks around my town (cracks in the pavement, sunlight dappling a brick wall, fallen leaves)

In my garden (different shaped leaves and petals, holly, snail trails)

Even in the everyday objects of my home – the bristles of my washing up brush for example!

Finding inspiration: washing up brush

I’ve not yet had a chance to really delve into these inspirations in my sketchbook, save for a few quick studies.

This one below features the stems of a flower I managed to grow, but I’m not even sure what it is?

Finding inspiration: sketching flowers

It was the first time I opened this box of pencils and it felt…like the start of a new chapter in my creativity. That’s fitting for autumn isn’t it?

And as I head off on a week’s writing and art retreat at the Ted Hughes Arvon centre, Lumb Bank, I thought I’d document my ‘finds’ so far so I don’t lose momentum.

While I’m away I intend to spend a lot of time working in my sketchbook, and will also be creating a hand-made book, so all these inspirations will blend into the mix.

I even managed a quick visit to the Kibble Palace at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens – isn’t this lady so wistful? I bet she has plenty of inspiration to share!

Finding inspiration at the Kibble Palace, Glasgow

The succulent garden was especially inspiring – all the gorgeous, perfect natural shapes.

Finding inspiration: succulents

And here’s my interpretation in watercolour:

Finding inspiration: succulent sketch

I loved that I noticed these patterns that perhaps I wouldn’t normally have stopped to photograph. The condensation particularly caught my attention, with the vibrant green of the grass behind the glass.


Finally, a bit of colour in these hydrangea petals as they transform into their autumn shades:

Finding inspiration: hydrangea

The holly leaves in my garden were so pristine and shiny, so I’ll definitely be sketching them. The heather has such interesting little flower tips too, a bit like the lavender I picked.


Now I can carry all these thoughts with me as I pack my selection of travelling art supplies.

Updates on my trip next week!

In the meantime, you might want to subscribe to my ‘inspiration’ newsletter. Check out last week’s mail-out all about autumn.

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  • Reply Collette October 4, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I love this post so much, and am openly admitting to being extremely envious of your retreat. How wonderful for you – I can’t wait to hear all about it. Your photos are just so gorgeous, you’ve inspired me. (Btw, did you learn how to take these gorgeous pics at uni or in a course/class?) I might take my wild three year old on a nature walk tomorrow to see what interesting things we can find to photograph! ❤️
    Collette recently posted…Exploring: Making An Ordinary Life Less OrdinaryMy Profile

    • Reply daintydora October 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Hey Collette, it really is amazing being away immersing in words and art – I’ve wanted to come here for about 10 years! There are so many ideas racing through my head right now but you can be sure I’ll be documenting & sharing my experience over the coming weeks.

      The patterns are being a bit neglected this week but so glad I managed to get that trip to the Botanic Gardens & love that I inspired you to go out exploring too. There is so much to see when you start really looking and now I’m seeing shapes in everything! (And I just snapped these on my phone so no tech expertise required. I also took some analogue shots with my Olympus OM1 – excited to see how they turn out!)

      Look forward to seeing your adventures in nature soon <3

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