They Say Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere . . . How About America?

Posted: July 17, 2011 in Art and Creativity, Featured Content
Tags: , , , , ,

My painting “In the Sea,” in progress.

My inspiration for this painting is actually the band “America.” You may have no clue who that is, but that’s okay. (Sister Golden Hair? A Horse With No Name? Anyone…?)

When I was a kid, I had a huge obsession with one movie.

It was a cartoon called “The Last Unicorn,” and it was based on a novel by Peter S. Beagle.I must have watched this 100 times as a kid, plus I recorded the songs onto a cassette tape once while the movie was playing, so I had a really terrible version of the soundtrack, too. The 1980’s were awesome.

In the movie, a unicorn discovers she is the last unicorn on Earth, and she sets out to find out what happened to the others. She meets an incompetent sideshow wizard, Schmendrick, who actually has powers, and they leave together to search out The Red Bull, who is supposed to be holding the other unicorns captive. They are joined by Molly Grue, a lady traveling with a band of outlaws, and they invite her on their journey to King Lear’s castle. When the bull finds the unicorn, Schmendrick saves her by using his magic to turn her into a human girl. They then have to talk King Lear into letting them stay while they search for the bull’s lair, and before the unicorn becomes human forever.

The entire movie is accompanied by a soundtrack by 70’s band extraordinaire, America. I love all the songs, but the song “In the Sea” seemed to be a good basis for a painting. In case you want to hear it, here’s the song:

In the Sea by America

When I listen to it, I get a mental picture of swirling water, and flying fish. I went online and found some old line illustrations of flying fish. Then I got to do my favorite part of starting a painting: dig through my collection of junk to see what I could use. I had some shells and starfish, some netting, sea glass, and some rope-like string. I also printed out some of the words to the song.

Those were glued onto the canvas along with three of the flying fish I had found, and I started layering on blue, black, white and silver paint, along with some structure paste to mimic waves. Then I added the net, shells, and glass, plus a quote I printed out, “May your joys be as deep as the ocean, your sorrows as light as its foam!”

It’s why I love making mixed media collages so much. I can just get lost in paint and treasures and words and try to somehow make it all fit together to make a painting that tells a story. In this case, it combines two things I love: the ocean, and my favorite childhood movie.

The best part was after I finished the painting, and I was at a discount store and came across a picture framed in old weathered wood (like barn siding). I took it home, took the picture out and glued the frame to my canvas, adding a rope I painted black as a border between the painting and frame.

It’s so awesome when things come together in reality like I saw them in my head.

The finished painting:

Painting by Jaime Leigh Hebert, 2011

Painting by Jaime Leigh Hebert, 2011



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