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Sara Midda: My Inspiration

Updated on April 29, 2016

My Number One Inspirational Source For Producing Art

I am wild over Sara Midda's work. In and Out of the Garden and Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook now sit proudly on my livingroom side table. These are two of the books that profile her whimsical line drawings, watercolour paintings, and masterful scans of collaged items.

My dream is to one-day produce books filled with my own works of art and whimsy. There is something so lighthearted about Sara's work, as you will see, and I can only hope to reflect that sense of wonder in the little things of the world. I believe it takes a special perspective to be able to see the quirky side of a pod of peas.

This image is from Workman Publishing. The rest of the images on this site are copyright by me - Teapixie! :)

Who Is Sara Midda?

Born in Brighton, East Sussex, England, Sara Midda published with Workman Publishing. An artist and author, she published In and Out of the Garden and Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook to best-seller acclaim.

She has put brush to paper since she was a wee tot of 2 years old, and her years of work have culminated in published books and stationery, gallery showings in London. Images that she has created even adorn products in Japan. Her work is mentioned alongside the work of Laura Stoddart, another renown British illustrator whose works you can see on Crabtree and Evelyn, and Kate Spade products.

My First Two Sara Midda Books

Do you want to join in my adventure into Sara Midda's quirky world? These books will help get you there.

In and Out of the Garden
In and Out of the Garden

This was my very first, ever, introduction to Sara Midda's work. In this book she presents an earthy sensibility that reflects a respect for the gems produced in a garden. It is from her work in this book that I first began to realize the close relationship between scientific observation and artistic observation. Pick this book up when you want to feel good.

 
Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook
Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook

I already wanted to go to France, before picking up this book. After I bought this book I wanted to go to France with all of my painting and drawing supplies. I want to rent a small space in a tiny village and have the opportunity to discover it's beauty and reflect it in my work. This is another feel-good publication.

 

How Has My Work Been Influnced?

One of the elements that I appreciate in Sara Midda's work is her light hand. What I mean by this is that she takes a very simple approach to producing her work. A combination of her simple drawings and the feather-light watercolour tints creates a sense of air in her work - it means that there is room for the viewer to breathe while also being slowly enveloped by the curiosity her tiny lines and carefully crafted typography evokes.

In my own work, a piece you can see above, I can say that I am now giving myself permission to create work that breathes. For many years I was only painting in acrylics, employing the Old Masters technique. While I produced paintings that I love and hang on my own walls, they feel very heavy to me now. Perhaps it is a combination of years of learning and years of living that have brought me to a place where I would like to produce lightness. It is Sara's work that inspires me to move further in this direction. I am still producing acrylic paintings, but my focus is on Air, Sky, Ocean, and Land.

Books & Stationery For New Parents

Lighthearted Words

Perhaps it is the combination of writing, typography, and artwork that Sara produces which drew me to her work. I have had a love for words and art since I was quite young. My Mom and I made up words, which turned into our own little language. I have to admit, it made many people crazy to converse with us because they couldn't stand the wonky words we made up. But Mom also introduced me to art. I remember her being asked to draw larger than life models on 8 foot high sheets for a local fashion show; she picked up charcoal and just began to draw. It was exceptional. She had always been creative and imaginative, but I had never seen her translate her skills into something so tangible. It inspired me to explore art.

I can see my work developing further to reflect my love of languages, my interest in typography, and my joy in creating art.

More Sara Midda!

I guess I just love her perspective.

Jewelry Design

The piece you see here is really quite simple. I developed it, and all of the other images in this article, for use in etching on metal to create bracelets. It was so exciting to take my very first etching class and to learn about the chemical processes involved to etch my hand drawn images onto metal. It feels so permanent to see my artwork transformed in this way.

Fun

I have the joy of painting and creating with others, and sometimes even sharing and receiving a piece of advice or two. What I think this little piece of work above represents is the idea that ANYONE can create art. The greatest gift I have given myself is the permission to create without limitations. There is no right or wrong, no good line or bad line. But there is the opportunity to express and communicate.

I believe that the real reason I am so inspired by Sara Midda is that her work represents the whimsical world of a child, where lines on paper happen because they just do, and art is not something that you learn - you just do. Many people do not understand just how simple it really is to create. Personal limitations are just that, personal, and we have the choice to let them slip away....

Do a Little Calligraphy Yourself

I am dedicated to my calligraphy pen. I used it to create all of the images in this article.

Travel Water Colour Paints: Find Your Special Colour

I travel everywhere with my water colour paints. There is nothing like being able to catch that incredible blue of the sky on your latest landscape. I have discovered that there are a wide variety of versions of water colour paints and I have yet to use one that was unsatisfactory.

If you have never painted with water colours, my first word of guidance is this: think about what does not need to be painted. White is drawn from the water colour paper, not from white paint, when painting with water colour paints. It took me a few years to really understand how to express the essence of air in a water colour painting and using the background to your advantage before you even start painting is crucial. Secondly, you can remove water colour paint from your paper using water and a dry paintbrush.

So many people tell me that they hate watercolours because they feel they are inflexible. I beg to differ. I have had enormous success with removing mountains of mistakes when using watercolours. Yes - lots of mistakes. And that is probably the third thing I want you to think about: how to use mistakes to your advantage. This is not a self-help note, although I suppose it could be, but an opportunity to give yourself permission to make mistakes and permission to turn those mistakes into opportunities on your canvas.

In the end, it is just paint on paper. Why beat yourself up so much? Water colour paints are quite easy to use - just add water - and just remove your self-criticism. In the end, you cannot link your self-esteem to paint on paper. It just isn't fair! Instead, look at painting with water colours as a form of exploration, exploration of the freedom to express without limits. Imagine - painting with a cheap, tiny palette of paints can give you insight into stress-free living!

Paper, Paper, Paper

It's no good to have pen and paints if you don't have any paper. I like taking along small books of great paper. I end up writing notes, making grocery lists, and even doing calligraphy and painting. Go figure? :)

The world of water colour paper can seem intimidating, when standing in front of shelves of paper of different sizes, different weights, and created using different processes. Do you use hot or cold? Do you buy small in your pocket or massive books? Does the poundage really matter? If you are really worried about all those things, I suggest you get involved in a water colour painting course - there are many different courses, at different levels, available at community centres. If you just want to get your paint on paper...buy the cheapest stuff available. I am not picky about my paper, unless I am aiming to create a particular type of feel to my painting. I will even create my own paper - it's pretty easy:

  1. Rip up a mix of old paper - news paper, writing paper, computer paper, tissue, etc.
  2. Put it into a blender (one that you will never use for food) with twice as much water as paper
  3. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch to 7 cups of water/paper mush
  4. Blend
  5. Once it has been blended, consider adding things like flower petals, fine threads - actually, at this point, add anything that won't go bad, so don't add food!
  6. Pour the mush into a wide, flat bucket
  7. Add additional water
  8. Make a screen using a fine mesh (like the stuff for screen doors) stapled to a picture frame that is smaller than the flat bucket. Run the screen through the water, picking up an even amount of paper mush.
  9. Place the frame on a tea towel and soak out the water
  10. Once the paper has had about 70% of the water removed, lift it off of the screen and hang it to dry using clothes pegs on a line.
  11. It is best to do this outside on a sunny day!

Tell us all about your passion and where it comes from. I'd love to hear about it - maybe it will be a new influence in my life or in the lives of others who will read what you write. Thank you so much for dropping by.

What inspires you?

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    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      @CoeGurl: Ahhhhh, kindred spirits are we. :) How lovely. Sigh.

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 4 years ago from USA

      Long ago I bought Sara Midda's "South of France: A Sketchbook" because of the charming illustraions. I know why you're wild about her because I am, too!

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      @CoolFool83: Thank you! I appreciate that you stopped in for a read. :-))

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 4 years ago

      This is a very thoughtful lense.

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Ah, yes, "The Internet." It's really our global village for inspiration. The contributors on squidoo are amazingly influential. davespeed, thank you so much for stopping to leave a comment.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great question! I am inspired by the wisdom that I find on the Internet each day. An example is the wisdom that I find daily reading Seth Godin's blog. (The first thing that I do each morning is to make a pot of coffee; the second thing I do is to read Seth's blog.) There are a gazillion people posting wise, creative words on the Internet each day to insure us to make art...whatever our art may be.

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @A-Bary LM: Thank you. :)

    • A-Bary LM profile image

      A-Bary LM 5 years ago

      I love these amazing pieces of art here! very nice lens

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @indigoj: Ahhhh, yes. Cats. I love them and they make me crazy. Maybe that's all part of the love. :) If you take a look at https://hubpages.com/holidays/best-pixie-atelier-a you'll see a painting of a cat. Thank you so much for stopping to look. :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      I think similar things inspire us: art, words, cats (I spied a cute cat face up there!) Sara's work looks beautiful -- as does yours.

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      dream1983 5 years ago

      Interesting lens, well done! Thumbs up

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @Melissa Miotke: Thank you, melissamio!

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      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      I like how whimsical her work is. Great lens!

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @aesta1: Yes - I really have been lucky that way. I have often reflected on how amazing she is. Thank you so much for your blessing. :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What an enjoyable lens. You are lucky to have your Mom open up possibilities for you.

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @MJsConsignments: Thank you, MJ. Life is about being inspired by others and being an inspiration for others. It is easy to understand that it is difficult to identify one, specfic influence. :)

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      A very nicely done tribute to one who inspires you. I'm inspired by many but not one I can put a finger on quite as specifically as you have.

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @flycatcherrr: How wonderful! I'm guessing they are available at local libraries. I have found that I return to my copies pretty regularly. Thank you so much for your praise. :)

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      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Thank you for the introduction to Sara Midda and her work! My passion is learning something new about this fantabulous world every day, and you've fed that passion with this page. I'll be looking up Sara Midda's books.

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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @DrBillSmithWriter: Thank you Dr. Bill! I am confused over your confusion. ;)

    • Teapixie LM profile image
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      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      @designsbyharriet: A great teacher is incredibly valuable. You have made me reflect on the wonderful teacher I had in high school who introduced me to the Group of Seven. I will never forget. I hope you can contact your teacher online - I have heard so many stories about people who find their old friends that way. Thank you for contributing. :)

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      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      Nature inspires my jewelry. I had on one teacher that I thought was a great inspiration. Unfortunately, she lives too far away to take advantage of her classes.