Painting for Inspiration

I recently completed a small (20x20cm) black and white oil portrait of Jeff Buckley. You can see it below, alongside two other small portraits of John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix (I also did one of Bob Marley, which was given away to a lucky winner).

Inspirations by Dan Johnson
John Lennon, Jeff Buckley and Jimi Hendrix by Dan Johnson

I’m calling this series of paintings ‘Inspirations’, which I may add to in future.

An interesting point to note – I didn’t intend this when I started these paintings (maybe subconsciously I did), but all three were exceptionally talented musicians who died before their time in consecutive decades. Hendrix died in 1970, aged 27. John Lennon was killed in 1980, aged 40. And Jeff Buckley sadly drowned in 1997, aged 30.

I was thinking recently about why I paint, what my motivation is, and what I get from it. I’ve always primarily painted portraits of well-known figures, and I mainly paint people who have inspired me in some way, or whom I admire for their work or just the way they come across.

So I suppose inspiration itself is what inspires me to paint. The inspiration I get from others who have done great things in their life, and which I hope to pass on in some way. I guess I try to capture some of that inspiration in my portraits, in an attempt to inspire others.

I think it’s important from time to time to take a step back from the work, and think about why we want to do it in the first place. Inspiring others is a big motivation for me, and something I try to do for other artists through my Right Brain Rockstar blog.

Now I’ve had enough of these small black and white portraits for a while. I’m going to be going bigger and more colourful for the next painting. Watch this space!






  1. Angie Avatar

    Amazing work! I thought the John Lennon piece was a photograph!

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