When it comes to what inspires Jean, some concepts are big, bold and obvious.

An example happened this summer when Jean's Linden tree, situated outside of her studio, was filled with humming bees, which then became a painting. Other times she is influenced in subtle ways. The story behind this painting of a "Warbler on an Oak Branch" originally came about because of a calendar and the letter 'W'.

Sleeping owl on branch woodblock print by Hiroshige 1830 copy (1)

Sometimes the suggestions and ideas appear from something we see every day, like this image from the beautiful Japanese woodblock print calendar (2020-2021) from the British Museum. Jean looked at the "Sleeping Owl on a Branch Against Full Moon" by Utagawa Hiroshige (from the 1830s) for the whole month of November and visions started forming.

The next step was imagining a different bird and a painting was created in Jean's mind.

When we were working on our children's book "The Wizards and the Whale" there was a theme of using as many words as possible that started with the letter 'w'. And that's how the warbler appeared in Jean's illustration "The Waterfall Wizard" (pictured) and it soon became a favourite bird to paint.

Inspiration is everywhere!

Waterfall Wizard by Jean Tori The Wizards and the Whale (1)