You don’t make art, you find it. -Pablo Picasso

682_blogWe all have places that inspire us. For some, it may be a park where we can sit on a bench and watch people, children, and dogs pass us by, or others may find solace near water at a lake or beach. Inspiration may be as simple as a room in our house where we feel most comfortable. For Phillip Bowman, one of his main sources of inspiration was Long Island.

Growing up in Long Island, Phillip often spent time on the North Fork in a rustic cabin overlooking a small creek. The cabin was a snapshot from a simpler time: a skeleton key opened the front lock, the kitchen had dishes from various garage sales and a stove with tape over the buttons that no longer worked, and, if you went into the bathroom, you’d see antique chrome hot and cold knobs on the sink. It was a summer and autumn escape for him and his family, a tradition he continued each year with his own wife and children.

As time went on, Phillip and his family moved on to another, similarly modest cabin in Greenport, NY. The view from the back deck of the Greenport cabin looks like a painting—a grassy yard with mature trees that leads to a sandy beach and water. The main living room has wood paneled walls and orange and green carpet. The kitchen is filled with old white cabinets and yellow Formica countertops. The cabin is probably a lot different from a hotel or condo you may stay in when going on vacation, but that is the point. Sometimes, it is the simplest of places that inspire us.

The simplicity of life in Long Island was a main source of inspiration for both Phillip’s art and the artist himself. He felt at home there. He would often sit on the back deck in a rocking chair, smoking his cigar and looking out over the water. He would bring his black case of colored pens and blank paper and sketch the large tree in front of the cottage, the creek that ran along the property, or whatever came to his mind—simply being there prompted creativity.

I35_blogThroughout his life and career, Phillip was always most inspired by the everyday, simple things around him. He could create from an expression on someone’s face, a mood, or a scene.

This time of year, as we reflect on our lives and what we are thankful for, it’s a good time to take a step back and notice the simple things in our life that make us feel inspired.

What inspires you?