New Experiences 

How To Stay Inspired 


I think the biggest part of keeping my inspiration going is having new experiences. 


Whether that is seeing or making new art, new music, new books… The list is endless as to what inspires me and what gives me the energy to create. 


This winter I took several art classes online. (It’s so easy now) and it really changed my perspective.


The definition of inspiration is “the process of being mentally stimulated or feel something, especially to do something creative.”


I deliberately chose classes that were absolutely not in my main area of experience (which is plein air and traditional impressionistic painting.) I looked outside of that box and took a class on color theory, another from a very abstract artist, one on using acrylics for plein air painting, and one on composition and design theory. All were leaps from my “norm”  of plein air painting but I found that approaching them with an open mind and a free spirit to experiment led me to greater learning and freedom in my approach. 


At first when I was taking Peggi Kroll Roberts' Class on color theory it felt odd, a bit like doodling in a childlike manner, which really doesn’t agree with my work ethic (get it done, get it done now). But I found many ways in her 3 class series to let go, try things on paper (inexpensive) that I never would have thought about. I came away with many ideas that led to the analogous color scheme paintings below. I had gotten in the habit of using 6 colors (2 reds, 2 blues, 2 yellows + white) and had not worked in such a limited color scheme (as 3 colors that are beside each other on the color wheel, in the analogous theme) in a long time. It was freeing and taught me a lot. 


Louise Fletcher's class is way way out of my area but some of the simple 30 minute exercises using masking tape and 3 colors really gave me some new ideas and permission to “play”. 


I’m still digesting Larry Moore’s Creativity Course – Larry puts forth the challenge to think about composition in many different ways. He has a rich background in design and has many helpful theories to consider. 

Anne Blair Brown's class on Using Acrylics in Plein Air answered a burning question. I am considering her ideas on how she accomplishes such beauty with such a quick drying medium as acrylics. Acrylics would be easier to travel with in some ways – I’m interested in trying her techniques. I’ll let you know how it feels when I try it.


Keeping my artist brain stimulated is key for me. Taking classes, seeing new shows, going to see music in small venues, pretending I'm a child (why not?)  while painting, and doodling by the coffeemaker while my coffee perks each mornning have been really helpful. 


I’m wishing you inspiration and I love hearing about what you’re learning. I’m headed to Italy soon to teach a class in Plein Air Painting in San Giovanni de’Asso in the Tuscan hills. I’m so excited to work with the students in such an awe inspiring location. 


If you want to follow me on FB or Instagram at Karen Hewitt Hagan – you can tune into see what we are seeing and what we are painting in Italy. 



Next Year’s Italy trip and the Fall Charleston one day workshop are in the planning - dates will be announced soon. Email us for the date announcemts here: Info@HaganFineArt (Subject line: Workshops) 

These are the artist’s I studied with (online) this winter:

Louise Fletcher – Abstract Thinking

Peggi Kroll Roberts – Color Theory

Larry Moore – Compositional Theory

Anne Blair Brown – How to use acrylics en Plein Air

This is one of my recent paintings: I enjoyed working large in drippy acrylics in a (sort of) analogous color scheme with no agenda. 


"Whisper and Stripes"  36 x 48 Original Acrylic by Karen Hewitt Hagan (2024)  


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