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How I choose subjects to paint

In 2011 my partner and I celebrated his birthday in Sicily, this photo was taken not far from Palermo. It was the most magical time. May, and off-season, so lovely and empty of the normal crowds. I love this affirmation that I added to the photo “success is your ticket to a better place.”

Looking back now, I can see that it was more than just the potted geraniums by the studio door that inspired my painting, A Hopeful Heart, which I painted in 2023. Geraniums have always held a special place in my heart.

A Hopeful Heart

So many happy memories

I feel so blessed to meet so many people and hear and watch which of my paintings spark joy—their reactions inspire me to create new works and curb a tendency to paint over existing works! Sometimes people come for a wee peek and then decide to commission a bespoke artwork from me. What joy! I share more about the commission process here:

The images below were from my recent Sky Fall Exhibition. “SKYFALL: Messages From Water and The Universe“, shared Love and Gratitude Water-infused colour paintings inspired by Dr. Masaru Emoto’s pioneering studies into the energy of love. I loved everyone’s reactions to the work.

Look what fell from the sky l Art Exhibition Private views

Thank you to all the beautiful souls who came to visit me during my Sky Fall exhibition and during the garden trail.

I loved meeting you all, loved answering the questions you asked, loved your beautiful smiles and meeting your friends-regardless of whether you purchased my art or not. And, of course, I was so grateful and humbled when you adored my art enough to purchase it. Thank you❤️🖼️💕☔️☀️ I do appreciate you:)

“I love this one. And I love this one! And I love this one, too. I’m drawn to the pink. Oh my God, I love them so much. To be honest, I wasn’t drawn to the green one, but I love all the shapes coming through. Oh my God! I love them all.” ❤️💕🌸

In this video, I share the fun and joyous reaction of an interior designer and photographer who had come to select a painting to photograph for their 2024 calendar.

How I choose subjects to paint

I love to follow my current obsessions and passions. For example, for Sky Fall, it was an obsession with the spiritual properties of water.

Other times it has been the profound joy of discovering poppies in my garden.

lensbaby poppy in bloom

Sometimes it has been people approaching me to create something bespoke from them.

People often ask me, “How do you commission a painting from an artist? How can you be sure you’re going to get what you want? It must take a lot of trust.” I share some tips on my blog: https://www.thejoyfulartist.co.nz/how-to-commission-a-painting-youll-love/

One time, it was my partner bringing flowers to the studio

I bought you flowers, 2023, Cassandra Gaisford

I bought you flowers, 2023, Cassandra Gaisford

Staring at a blank wall?

Sometimes, I will create a painting to brighten a spot in my own home. Or I am commissioned to bring joy to a blank wall by a new collector.

Inside The Flower, Cassandra Gaisford, 2023

Inside The Flower, Cassandra Gaisford, 2023

The Flower Girl, Cassandra Gaisford, 2023, https://shop.thejoyfulartist.co.nz/product/the-flower-girl/

The Flower Girl, Cassandra Gaisford, 2023, https://shop.thejoyfulartist.co.nz/product/the-flower-girl/

One time, the subject chose me when I was painting with a child

Let it go abstract art work by Cassandra Gaisford

Let it Go, 2023, Cassandra Gaisford

I created this piece with fun visitors who came for a spontaneous playdate, Ella (6 yrs) and her grandmother. Ella introduced me to new music The Fun Squad… I loved the song “Never Grow Up” and “Let it Go.” I introduced Ella to dancing and singing while you paint and reintroduced her to finger painting.

Ella has a special relationship with her grandmother, which I did with mine, who taught me how to paint and it was a nice trip down memory lane, as I watched the two of them co-create together. This special piece oozes love, fun and play—just the high vibes.

there are so many sources of inspiration for artists

In summary, there are so many sources of inspiration for artists. Personally, I feel the most important quality is a willingness to let go, and play. Play with ideas. Play with composition. Play with feelings. For example in the large-scale beeswax below I was processing feelings of grief after my mother died.

Stardust, Cassandra Gaisford, 2022

Stardust, New Zealand Beeswax, Frankincense, Pure Pigment, Charcoal on board, Cassandra Gaisford, 2022

150 cm x 200 cm

It was such a shock to lose my mum this year. 2 days after I returned home to the Bay of Islands, after two weeks caring for her. Thankfully I can escape into creativity. I am loving the strength and beauty of black at the moment…black was my mum’s favourite colour.

I love this new piece. Would you have a wall that could do with the power and passion of this new piece?

“Beautiful and powerful.”

“Love the texture!”

Posted in: Blog

How I choose subjects to paint

The Joyful Artist

I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!

P: +64 (0) 21 873 833
E: hello@thejoyfulartist.co.nz


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