The Wait for Inspiration

Do artists stay inspired all the time? Maybe some do. But my process resembles more of an ebb and flow. I have periods of great productivity followed by periods of contemplation. Below you will see the most recent palm frond painting I completed. I had been visualizing this painting for almost a year before I began it. Finally this past spring I was able to bring it into existence. The scale of it is rather large, at 3′ x 8′, and it could possibly be the most complex painting I’ve attempted.

Tangled Up in Blue is shown. It is an acrylic painting of abstracted blue, green, and white palm fronds.
Tangled Up in Blue, acrylic on canvas, 2023, by Elizabeth Barenis.

This project took so much concentration, and over an extended time period, that when it was finally complete, I needed to step back and gain some perspective before I knew what I would work on next. Ideally, I would jump right into another painting just like it and crank these out of the studio like a factory; but, it takes time for me to generate the energy needed to produce another one of this grandeur.

So, in the meantime, while I am waiting for the energy and inspiration to regenerate, I focus on other tasks such as marketing, networking, and applying to calls for art and murals. I attend music performances and art shows, appreciating the passion and talent of others. And, I spend time and effort to exhibit work that I’ve already created.


A dance performance, a portrait by a fiber artist, and a pastel-colored beach sunset are shown.
“Beacon” dance and music performance at the Palladium in St. Pete; a portrait created in thread by Cassia Kite at the current Dunedin Fine Arts Center exhibit; a sunset at Pass-a-Grille beach.


Recently, I had the opportunity to display some of my paintings at an artist “Meet and Greet.” My artist friend and colleague, Harriet Monzon-Aguirre of Bahia Studios, invited me to show alongside her at the Tides Market in Safety Harbor, Florida. Wine and charcuterie were provided to guests on a Sunday evening in early June, and together we presented our artwork in this warm and welcoming place.

Photos from the meet and greet with artists Elizabeth Barenis and Harriet Monzon-Aguirre at The Tides market in Safety Harbor, Florida.
Photos from the June 4th Meet-and-Greet.


Certainly time spent producing artwork in the studio is of utmost importance. But also, taking a moment to reflect, appreciate others’ artistic expression, and share my existing work is a vital part of continuing to embrace and fuel the passion of creativity.


“It takes a long time for an idea to strike. Then I have to think about it for a long time. I don’t start painting until I have it all worked out in my mind. I’m all right when I get to the easel.” – Edward Hopper




Become a Creative Pinellas Supporter