I’m always staying tuned for ideas (see my post “Where my Ideas Come From” ) but sometimes they pursue me- relentlessly. Think about wild birds flapping in your head endlessly or like someone tugging on your apron strings constantly. Yes, the ruckus will go away eventually, but not entirely. The inspiration will just go to someone else to be manifested and then pretty soon your muse will give up on you all together and you will be very lonely.
There is a magic in the creative process. When I am totally in the “zone,“ it seems as though some divine force plants a seed of inspiration into my psyche & leads me on a journey to bring from the ethos something new & different into the world. Generally I need to be in a space where I am fully present- at least with my own thoughts. I don’t necessarily have to be in my studio. Often inspiration comes on a walk or doing something as innocuous as washing dishes or weeding the garden. At this point it is important for me to get the idea either in process immediately or at least written down, for inspiration can be as ephemeral as fairy dust in a breeze.
Sometimes I must plant a seed myself if nothing has been offered from above. I keep a list of concepts that fascinate me. For example, a few of my favorites are migration, germination, metamorphosis & salmon. I will make a list of every sub-concept I can think of that has to do with that topic, pick a few & then tie them together into a piece. The Illustrations that are shown in this post are from a triptych titled “The Spirit of Ghost Ranch.” In these mixed media pieces, my goal was to embody different aspects of Ghost Ranch Retreat Center in Northern New Mexico where I visit to take art classes & spiritually recharge most summers.
Then there are times I must “prime the pump” for ideas. One of my favorite hunting grounds is “Pinterest.” I can get inspiration from other artists & pin them to my own “board” for reference https://www.pinterest.com/wildntotions/. One of the beauties of the Pinterest algorithm is that it will suggests similar pins that may be of interest to you, leading you down a rabbit hole of endless possibilities. I can also prowl about blogs, and storefront galleries as well. My go to guide when I am in a rut is the book, “Steal Like an Artist,” By Austin Kleon. It’s maybe an hour read and so very encouraging
and inspirational. If you need a tow truck, this is your go to guide. I refer to it over and over again.
For the most part I work intuitively. I just start putting down a scrap of paper, a stencil, a swish of paint, sentence , or start to work a lump of clay as bait for my muse. Once I start down the creative path, I follow the breadcrumbs that she has left to tell me where to go next. I know that if I am tired or stressed it not the right time for creative work- just like you don’t plant tender seedlings in bad weather. Now it’s time to do something mindless & let my subconscious work in the background.
It’s all a mesmerizing journey of faith but it works- if you give yourself permission to let go & play.