Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #160: Your Inspiration

(Inspiration) is an untroubled state of mind. Of course, we know that an untroubled state of mind cannot last, so we say that inspiration comes and goes, but it is there all the time waiting for us to be untroubled again.~Agnes Martin

This week, the Lens-Artists return from their summer break and pick up the gauntlet again with a new photo challenge. But first , we’d like to take a moment to extend a special thanks to our 5 guest hosts who led the challenges so wonderfully and skillfully in our absence–John Steiner of Journeys With Johnbo, Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed, Rusha Sams of Oh The Places We See, Beth Smith of Wandering Dawgs, and Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery. Your themes inspired some terrific photographic fun.

As we move ahead to LAPC #160, we are inviting you to share photos of your inspiration. What does your inspiration look like? It can be a place, a subject, a person, or a book, for example. Actually, it can be just about anything that inspires you.

To get your creative “wheels” spinning, I’d like to share a small gallery of images which illustrate my inspiration. Throughout this post, I’m including quotes from the artist Agnes Martin, who wrote beautifully and thoughtfully about inspiration. Her insights have given me a valuable “window” on the creative process.

Like Agnes Martin, inspiration “finds” me when my mind is untroubled and I am “in the moment.” This can happen spontaneously on my daily walks, or during a visit to a special place—like the Pemaquid Lighthouse in Maine.

When I lived in New Hampshire, I was inspired by the iconic lighthouses guarding the rocky New England coast. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was inspired by them!

‘The light was extraordinary, the feeling was extraordinary’ is the way in which many adults describe moments of inspiration. Although they have had them all their lives they never really recall them and are always taken by surprise. Adults are very busy, taught to run all the time. You cannot run and be very aware of your inspirations. ~Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin pinpoints two key elements of inspiration–the quality of light in a place and our feelings at that moment.

As many of you know, I’ve been inspired by Wallis Sands Beach during the pandemic. The light and beauty of the beach are breathtaking. I always end my walk feeling happier than when I started. No wonder it’s inspiring!

Beauty illustrates happiness; the wind in the grass, the glistening waves following each other, the flight of birds, all speak of happiness.~Agnes Martin

For Martin, happiness and beauty are interconnected. Both are conduits of inspiration. I totally agree. When I’m out exploring with my camera and I notice something beautiful, I am deeply happy. In those moments, even a “simple” sheaf of corn is revealed as a stunning example of nature’s exquisite design and intricate beauty. This visual gift gives me incredible joy.

The clear blue sky illustrates a different kind of happiness and soft dark night a different kind.~ Agnes Martin

A moment of inspiration captured on camera generates a mood–both in the photographer and the viewer. For me, this photo shot on a trip to Osoyoos with my husband and son, reflects a joyful calm at the end of a day of exploring.

That which takes us by surprise-moments of happiness-that is inspiration.~Agnes Martin

One last thought on inspiration….

It always takes me by surprise…like this moment on a recent walk in New York City. I stopped for a light on the corner of Central Park West and 59th Street and looked up, startled by the skyscrapers emerging from the clouds.

This week, we invite you to join us for LAPC #160 Your Inspiration. Please include a link to my original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find you in the WP Reader. Your creativity is always inspiring and your continued support means so much to us.

Looking back, Ana’s Postcards theme inspired you to share samples of old postcards from your collections or create new ones of your own with captions! What a treat for all of us. I’m always looking for antique postcards which I use as visual inspiration when I’m working on a historical novel.

Looking ahead to August 14, Ann-Christine will lead LAPC #161. In the meantime, have a wonderful creative week and please stay safe.

175 replies »

  1. I always feel photographers like you can find inspiration anywhere – even in a bucket and mop perhaps. But these are lovely examples of when the less mundane has tickled your imagination and produced lovely results.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, inspiring shots, Patti. Agnes Martin’s quotes are perfect for this theme. I can feel the joyfulness of your trip to Osoyoos with you and your son. The skyscrapers of NYC is stunning!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aren’t her ideas wonderful? I read an article about her and decided to use her quotes for that reason. I am certainly very happy when I’m with my two favorite guys–Rich and Alex!! Thanks so much, Amy. I’m looking forward to your post.


    • Hi, John. The new “cigarette towers” are amazing, but very controversial. I was struck by their height that morning when I took the shot. They literally are in the clouds!! Looking forward to your post, too.


    • Hi, Sue. Wonderful!! I love those moments when inspiration strikes. I loved the intricate design of the corn husks. So beautiful! I am so glad I switched the image to black and white. I am delighted that you shared your inspiration, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jo. Wow! The skyscrapers! Are you missing the city? Somehow I don’t think you are!! I hope all’s well and you are enjoying your walks this summer. Hopefully, it isn’t too hot.


      • I’m about to spend a couple of weeks in the city, Patti – Leeds and Nottingham to visit the youngsters. Not my preferred venue but you can see the attraction. 🤗💕💕 I just really like the drama of that shot.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m thinking the rest of us are inspired by your post this week Patti! Your quotes are wonderful and work perfectly with your images. Like Amy, I loved the image you made with your husband and son. Somehow it comes through with a sense of joy. Also loved your painter – so very New England!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Tina. I really enjoyed your thoughts on inspiration. I’m delighted you found this post inspiring! I was inspired by Agnes Miller, so it’s my pleasure to pass her thoughts along to everyone! And yes, the iconic New England lighthouses! I’ll continue my quest to photograph more of them when we come back to NH. Take care and enjoy the weekend.


  4. Hi, Anne. I agree with you ,and we both agree with Agnes Martin! I was thinking of you when I was watching the Olympics dressage competition earlier today! I hope all’s well with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved watching the dressage. What a gift it was to see those amazing riders and horses. I wrote a post on how it had inspired me and posted it yesterday but the photos are not mine they are professionals’ photos so not right for LAPC. We are all well here and I hope the same for you. Great Challenge Patti!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Patti

    I hope your July time off was replenishing! Welcome back. I really like your lead quote from Agnes Martin. The photo of the painter doing art from the scene en plein air is an inspiration. I admire artists who can work that way. Your joyful calm at the end of the day was perfect – it really is imbued with calm

    Here’s my submission this week:

    Beautiful Great Blue Heron on a Misty Morning

    Best, Babsje


    • I enjoyed your post, Sofia! Lovely images. I was also delighted that you liked Agnes Martin’s quote about an untroubled state of mind. It’s so necessary for me, too. When I’m preoccupied or worried or upset, inspiration flies out the window!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A great post again, Patti – and inspirational! I can see the inspiration having your family and being together – and that special image there is my favourite. I so loved the quotes woven into your post/images, that I had to refer to them in my own post. They are simply brillant and so fitting. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and the whole challenge idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, AC. I’m delighted that you liked this one. I just happened to read an article about Agnes Martin a few days ago and thought her ideas were inspiring. I’m glad you agree! She was a quirky, brilliant artist who spent years in the New Mexico desert, living and working in isolation, so she knew a lot about her own creativity. It’s so true what she wrote about inspiration. I have found the same thing to be true. Now, today, I’ve got to clear my mind and get back to writing or shooting photos. I hope you have many inspiring moments this week, AC, with your friends and family.


  7. You’ve picked a hard topic for me, Patti. I will be giving some thought to what inspires me when taking images. I must say, though, your images are inspirational in composition. I especially like the story that’s being told by the image of the artist and the lighthouse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems to me that landscapes and nature inspire you, John. I think you also love documenting places you’ve visited and using new technology. Maybe that’s what inspires you?? I’m delighted that you found the lighthouse image inspiring!! Wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to agree with Martin’s quote and how simple things inspire us. Your photos demonstrate the countless ways we are inspired, especially as photographers! It helps to have a feature for weekly inspiration, but I agree that just walking around in our favorite places inspires us when the mood strikes. It happens my Sunday Stills feature used song lyrics or poetry as inspiration this week. Thanks for hosting, Patti! https://secondwindleisure.com/2021/08/08/sunday-stills-song-lyric-photo-challenge-summers-of-my-dreams/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful travel post, Sarah. I really enjoyed learning about your sources of inspiration. Glad you liked my inspiration, too! That skyscraper “moment” was wonderful. I love how NYC always inspires me!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your wonderful photos illustrate your argument very well. Inspiration is always the outside world striking your mind, whether it is the calm and quiet of long afternoon shadows, a beach or a lighthouse, skyscrapers scraping the sky, or the superb stacking of grains in a head of grass. Beautiful photos all, and a topic that does exactly what it asks us to write about.

    A few minutes

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful post!!! I liked it very much, I think I will read it more than once, to see if I can find my inspiration in your wise words and beautiful images.
    I’m on holiday in the Pyrenees, so if I can find that inspiration and get something done with the laptop, I’ll try to prepare my answer during the week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful, Ana. I’m delighted you’re visiting your favorite, restful place in the Pyrenees. I’m sure you’ll find some inspiration there! And thanks for your kind words about my post!! Agnes Martin inspired me!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Patti,
    I’m so happy to be able to post again. It’s been awhile.
    I enjoyed viewing your photos. The sheath of corn has a quiet feel when viewed.
    The NY skyscraper is awe inspiring. The clouds surrounding thw top speaks of how
    Mother Nature can create a beautiful painting in a city of hustle and bustle. Great capture …
    Hope you are well and staying safe … 😷
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Florin. I’m delighted this theme inspired you! It does reveal a bit of ourselves…what makes our creative minds leap with joy! I enjoyed your inspiration, too. Thanks for joining us.


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