Seeking Artistic Inspiration

Country Road-watercolor by Ken Hosmer

A Journey Back in Time!

As artists we are always looking for new painting ideas—something to inspire, and get the creative juices flowing. In actuality new subject matter surrounds us each day, so to grasp inspiration and create, is actually more a state of mind than anything else.

Featured Painting:
'Country Road'—15" x 22" watercolor by Ken Hosmer

To foster excitement and tap into my creative spirit, I am revisiting the old home place, a cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico, originally acquired by my grandfather in 1938. I often visited Ruidoso as a child, then as an adult, lived there for many years. Also, I took summer art classes in Ruidoso during my late high school and early college years. Therefore many of my early paintings were done there; some still hang on the cabin walls.

      Cabin pictured today with an early pencil sketch of a snow scene, hanging on the wall.

Although many things have changed with time, today there are remnants of the old mixed in with the new. So the place is filled with ghosts; everywhere I turn are memories of the past.

Here I share with you, both the beginning evolution of a young artist and newly inspired ideas. As I proceed through the weeks, I plan to roam and photograph; then return to select places to sketch; and finally paint in my makeshift studio. However, the plan is very flexible as I am led on my adventure by the pleasure of each moment. I am on the hunt for new painting possibilities as I explore places thick with emotional response. What a great way to re-charge my artistic battery!

On Tuesday, I peek out the window and see the morning sun cascading over the hilltop. So I am up and out early to visit the center of town while all is quiet, as I know tourists will arrive when the weekend nears.

When I step out the door, I am surprised by a small herd of elk across the road, drinking in the shallow river. So with camera in hand, I slowly approach.

Later when I arrive in town, all is quiet and the sunlight brilliant. I am especially drawn to the beauty of the distant Sierra Blanca with patches of snow. I painted the town with mountain backdrop many years ago and might try it again.

Another surprise, I spot the old Thunderbird Curio shop. The building looks unchanged from when I was a small child. Back then it was Pack's Drugstore, where my dad might treat us to a scoop of homemade ice cream. I take photos of the front windows which are loaded with treasures for the tourists. But then I discover the real treasure. Around the side of the building, the old drive-up window remains with original lettering intact—window reflections, weathered wall, a future painting for sure.

The next morning, as I am doing the breakfast dishes, I notice the old Majestic wood cookstove in the corner. It brings delicious memories: art friends gathered around the kitchen table on a cool summer evening, the aroma of fresh popcorn hangs in the air as Carl Cogar (our art teacher and mentor) shakes a pan of roasting kernels over the open round "eye" of the wood stove—ahh the good old days. Today, beside the stove is a framed photograph of the old kitchen, as I remember it.

I take daily walks along the river trail, each time noticing something new: the old wood bridge; the walnut tree, where as children we played on the worn tire swing; evening light on the cliffs above; the undulating clear pools where I once caught trout. In fact I am fascinated by the water, as it cascades over rocks, swirling and splashing, in a wild dance as it tumbles down the stream. This will be my subject for a studio painting. I can easily revisit the site to study the ever changing water.


As the large studio painting progresses, I return to my favorite spot on the river at about 5pm each evening. This way the lighting is similar each time, while I study the moving water and take in the essence of the scene. I then paint from memory.

It is hard to believe that this splendid, narrow stream is actually considered a river—the Rio Ruidoso. The Spanish word "ruidoso" means "noisy."  So the town was named for the noisy river.

The new painting -  24" x 48" - Acrylic painting on canvas by Ken Hosmer.

While driving back to Nebraska, I realize the days have passed far too quickly. But my mind is spinning with ideas as I anticipate new paintings to come from my brief journey back in time.