Copper-Banded Butterfly Fish by Cortney North

What inspired me this week

As I type this post, the weakened clouds and wind – and eventually rain – from Hurricane Harvey are sitting overhead in Ohio. On my drive into work this morning I heard from people in charge of relief efforts in Houston saying they are overstocked with volunteers. Instead of more hands, they would prefer financial and goods donations. That made my heart feel good that so many people collected together to help. For everything that has inspired me this past week, this hope inspired me the most. I love seeing visual evidence of the collective heart of people.

This week started out like a speeding train then trailed off like a flittering butterfly. It always amazes me when this happens: same amount of hours and yet they feel different whoosing by! When I noticed it was Wednesday, I was convinced it was Tuesday and wondered into what abyss a whole day of my life disappeared.

I’m reading a book that helped clarify this phenomenon of time speeding up and slowing down. The idea is best summarized in this way: new experiences or places = more processing for my brain = time seemingly stretching out as I process and interpret the new information. Interesting!

As I considered what I wanted to share with you, a few items popped out and a list was formed. I’ve been very inspired by these specific items over the past week. They’ve provided me a lot of joy and happiness!


Inspired by Books


150 Best New Eco Home Ideas
150 Best New Eco Home Ideas

I picked up this book from the library yesterday. My full intent was to pick up my reserved items, but alas, I find books about architecture irresistible.

Don’t let the ‘eco’ word in the title scare you away. Sometimes I get turned off by things that seem too ‘hippie dippie’ and too ‘out there’ in regards to saving the environment. This book isn’t hippie dippie. It features innovative, modern and intriguing designs mixed with environmental updates.

That idea just seems smart.

Cheaper electric bills? Ok! Using rain water to water plants? Ok! Not sacrificing aesthetics? Yes! The publisher’s website gave a very generous sampling of this large book. If you’re into modern designs, you should check it out!



Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
Another book I’ve been reading is “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin.

This book is an adventure and I have no idea where I’m being led. I’m almost at the halfway point and have enjoyed the journey thus far.

Initially I didn’t think this book would be for me. Someone mentioned time travel and fantasy, and fantasy is NOT my genre, but it doesn’t seem to have that many fantastical elements to push me away.

Since January of this year, I’ve been purposefully not reading book summaries because I was saying ‘no’ to far too many books. With this book, I’m glad I made that decision because it’s an unusual pick for me yet just what I need right now.

It’s famous for being hated or loved on Goodreads. When I’m finished, I wonder what my opinion will be.


Inspired by Art


Elaine Burge artist
An artist who is inspiring me right now: Elaine Burge

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this artist, but I’m so glad I did. Her paintings are colorful and whimsical with the added bonus of emitting joyful and happy vibes. My favorite works are the animal portraits, which capture so much life and personality. Her use of conceptual colors is inspiring and encourages me to push my limits.

At the point when I discovered her paintings, I had established my painting style using paint drips, blocking in the chaotic under-painting, and using brighter colors. It was very interesting to view another artist’s work who used similar techniques, but in a very different way.

You can view her work on her own website:

or at Gregg Irby Gallery’s website:

(Her Instagram account is fun too!)


That’s about it for this week! I’m putting on finishing touches to the ‘Three Blue Tangs’ painting (it has a signature and may just need to be photographed!) and starting on a new painting. The first abstract background layer is up and waiting for another 10-15 layers. Here’s my Photoshop sketch of where it will be heading:


Copper banded Butterfly Fish sketch by Cortney North

Wishing you a good Labor Day weekend!