13/05/2013 14:13 BST | Updated 11/07/2013 06:12 BST

The Garden of Inspiration

Ana's Thought: "All art disciplines inspire one another."

As a visual artist, I find great inspiration in the varied disciplines of creativity. When I was first introduced to the renowned cellist Jacqueline du Pré, my soul was electrified by her virtuosity and sensitivity. She performed the same way I paint--using the energy of her whole body, immersed deeply in the act, as though the world around her ceased to exist. Jacqueline left us far too soon, and her passing moved me to paint the cellists and dancers found in my Dreaming series. In this way, I know that her gift will live on.


Even in my youth, I could feel the tremendous power of art moving within me, urging me to create and share my appreciation for all the beauty in this world. When I was 15 years old, I attended a performance of Puccini's opus Madame Butterfly, and my life was instantly changed. So magnificent was this opera that I was thrown into a whirlwind of emotion - I wept, touched by the stirring songs and performances, and was utterly entranced by the fantastic costumes. My fascination with Japan's culture took shape in this moment, engendering a thirst for learning all I could about the art, language, and people of this remarkable nation. I first visited Japan 20 years later, and through the wealth of experiences I was blessed to have there, the paintings of my Art of Japan series came to life. The memory of that first encounter through opera remains in my mind, clear as glass, to this day.


History is rich with examples of this artistic dialogue, as no creator exists in isolation--it is a cross-pollination of ideas and achievements spanning centuries. Composers, librettists, and choreographers inspire each other to orchestrate beauty as they strive toward producing ballets and operas. Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest among these composers, took elements from classical opera and brought them into his score for Swan Lake. The brightest point of Degas's career was his studies of pirouetting dancers, whose poise brought him so much delight. Further in this chain of cross-pollination, one of his dancer sculptures has recently inspired the production of a musical!

Mankind's drive to create is an endless and fascinating mystery. To produce something from nothing is to embrace your higher self, the part of your being that is a direct descendent of the Maker of all things. To appreciate the creations of others is equally important, as reveling in wonder is the purest way to give thanks.

No soul can claim that a crescendo of strings, a dancer's precision and grace, or a cascade of colour across a canvas fails to ignite them. When we observe a masterpiece, we are reminded of our vast potential to reinterpret the world around us in our own unique way. The next time the art of another sings out to your soul, do not keep your feelings to yourself--sing back with passion!