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Friday, 20 July 2012


Challenging your inspiration  by Linda Kirkbride

When I agreed to write another guest piece I was about to go on a week’s holiday. During the break I decided to write a continuation of my previous piece. And due to the many wet days I had plenty of time to think about it and took one or two pictures to add into it. But all that went by the board.

It was while we were driving home I started to think about how my parents used to try keeping my brother and I amused on long trips. As children we lived abroad and my parents made the most of this to travel all around Europe. Great for the adults but for 6 & 8 yr olds ? It could be boring ! No technological games or screens in the headrests of cars. So it was a case of counting bird nests and logging them! Yup, honest.

Anyway you’re probably thinking what’s this got to do with inspiration? Well it reminded me of a project I set myself a few years ago. The project itself may sound odd so let me explain first the advantages.

Most of us who are engaged in the creative field, in whatever medium, tend to get stuck sometimes or we think maybe we are bogged down in the same type of means for inspiration. We work with what we enjoy, become proficient at it and get good results. So why change? This isn’t about change its about stirring us up a little, having fun and allowing ourselves to enjoy our creativity to see where it goes.

This is about moving from the ‘could do list’ (previous piece) to the ‘I am going to’ one.

Now back to that project. Some years ago when we were on a long journey and I was a passenger, I was staring out of the window wondering how I could liven up the journey a little more. Didn’t particularly want to count bird’s nests! For some random reason which escapes me now, I decided every time we stopped at a corner or traffic jam etc. I would take a photograph of exactly what was outside the side window, the view in the frame of the passenger window. I set myself rules for example, that I mustn’t discriminate as to whether I liked the view or not. I had to complete the journey and not to think too much about the quality, just click.

I have to admit there were some pretty rubbish shots (including one of a policeman in a panda car next to us looking at me rather quizzically!) and some very boring road scenes but some were useful had I wanted some new inspiration. I’ve included some photos of door surrounds which could have been a starting point. Plus if you look very carefully down the drain in one shot there is a ping pong ball. Why, I’ve no idea, in the middle of nowhere but I’d never have noticed that.

Now with these fun projects you set your own rules but keep to them. The time you take can be as short as once a week on a certain day/time or when you’re waiting for a buswalking the dog or as some do, for 365 days of the year. Many do the one drawing a day for a year challenge.

For years I‘ve been taking pictures of shoes I find in odd places, and there have been many. Another was all the rubbish on a beach walk I took regularly with my dogs. I’ve added one picture of something I found on a post which to this day I have no idea what it was.

There are other ideas for projects. An example I know of, by someone who decided, separately from her work, to paint 30 birds in 30 small paintings. Her rules were only use supplies she already had, only use acrylic paint and not to buy more, use drawings that she had already done, work loosely and to practice a colour theory. This is quite a big challenge over time which may be too much like work. So if you’re a stitcher who tends to use a particular stitch, you could set yourself a task to make a small sample of your work but with a different stitch for the next few weeks.

The idea is to challenge yourself, have fun and to try something completely different to what you would normally do. You never know something might come of it. 

Linda Kirkbride MA


  1. A good idea, feel so sorry for the teddy on the gate post, hope he got back home. Now there in lies another story to be told

  2. This is great! I love setting myself little challenges taking photos in this way is a great way to notice small things you may miss otherwise, hmm you have got me thinking :)

  3. Stray shoes always amuse me!

    What a great way to brighten up a road trip, with photography. Just as well there weren't any Hell's Angels next to you at the traffic light ;-)

  4. What an interesting idea! I love seeing the beauty in the ordinary.

  5. Just the inspiration I needed to try out something new. Thank you


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