'Mountain Haven', An Oil Painting by Heather Carnegie Inspired by 'Mountain Waterfall'
Mike Grandmaison, June 15, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Inspiration for art can come from any number of places: from the written word, from an experience that touched one deeply, from the natural world, from an urban setting, from one's own imagination and of course, from the works of other artists -  be they painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, photographers, textile artists, etc. Personally, I derive much of my inspiration from the natural world. 'Mother Nature' is the ultimate creator and offers me continued and limitless opportunities to see beauty throughout its kingdom. Over the years, I have also been inspired by artists from all walks of life. It's interesting to consider how each artist can touch you so deeply in such different ways; sometimes it's the way the artist uses a particular palette of subtle colours, sometimes it's the way an artist uses space or how boldly he positions his main subject in the artwork. A wide range of artists have left their mark on my own work, including the likes of Albrecht Dürer, Emily Carr, Tom Thompson, Lawren Harris, A.Y Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald, Robert Bateman, Toni Onley, Andrew Wyeth, Ian Tamblyn, Brett Weston, Freeman Patterson, Ernst Haas, Franco Fontana as well as a host of contemporary photographers, too many to mention. Each has influenced me in some significant way on how I approach or produce my own art.


Below, artist Heather Carnegie, discusses inspiration and describes her own process of creating art.


"Paul Chapman, a mutual friend and husband of artist Avery Ascher, introduced me to Mike Grandmaison's amazing photography around 15 to 20 years ago. He proudly displayed one or two of Mike's photographs in his office.  In 2012 when I started painting, I picked up a book of landscape photography because I loved the vibrancy and diversity of the pictures.  I didn't realize until I got it home that it was Mike's 'Canada' book. When I came across the 'Mountain Waterfall' photograph I knew I had to try to paint it.  It looked like a place I would like to go just to relax and I loved the colored rocks in the stream in the foreground of the picture.

My process for oil painting is to draw the picture first (typically in great detail) and to then transfer the pencil drawing to the canvas or board.  In this case, I prepped the 30" x 20" canvas with black gesso and was alarmed to find out my drawing didn't transfer well.  I'm sure it was there, but I couldn't see it against the black.  Feeling a little intimidated, I started to paint it freestyle.  On my first day, I tried to rough in the waterfalls.  My husband came by to see what I was up to and quickly skidaddled.  He is of the belief that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  As I continued to work on the rocks and the flow of water over them (a process spanning many days), it started to come together.  The calm of the photo helped to keep me in a calm and patient place as I pulled it  together. By the time I got to the detail work, I was happy with the results and significantly more confident.  When it was finished, my husband, having had a complete change of heart, laid claim to the finished painting and has jealously guarded it against family and friends who have requested it.  By this time, I had contacted Mike regarding his photography and sent him a picture of the finished work.  I am very honored that a photographer/artist of his caliber wishes to display my work alongside his. "

Heather Carnegie

Posted In:Inspiration