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.
During a little informal open studio I had last weekend at my home I found myself growing increasingly uncomfortable with the accolades some wonderful friends were heaping upon me. “You’re so creative!” “I could never do that”. or “I’m not creative at all.” There was no large boulder I could crawl under so I found myself getting increasingly self-deprecating to deflect the praise. Granted, it’s lovely to be recognized, but this is just what I do. Everyone is creative. You just need to pay attention to your muse. Here is my advice to the self-described “non-artist”…
No matter what rut you’re in, creative or otherwise, the only way to escape is by momentum. Whether it be a running start with or without an external assist (think tow truck) as in a class. Here is a free tow truck- watch the Mel Robbins’ Ted Talk. She is a good motivator.
After a bit of a dry spell this summer (literally and figuratively), I decided to take the sage wisdom of other creatives and just SHOW-UP. Anything is better than being miserable. So I have been just showing up to my studio with no great inspiration, choosing to do whatever caught my fancy. “Junk collage” started me off, then I joined an informal mosaic group on Monday mornings that a friend of mine started. Then there is nothing like SIGNING UP. I have a couple of holiday shows now I need to create for. Deadlines are a great motivator. I bought a new bag of clay and I’m ready to go.
Creative dry spells are no fun. There is a certain desperation and despair about these times. But just like being physically out of shape, the only way to get in creative shape is to start moving. It’s uncomfortable at first and discouraging to begin again. Creative muscles get sore too. That means baby steps. Show up 10 minutes a day if that’s all you have in you and work up to more.
I’m not making masterpieces here, but I am making, and making is when I’m happiest.
No matter how much the terrorists, the despots, (& our president) try to steal the show, nature wins hands down. What a magnificent sight it was to gaze up at the sky & witness such a celestial event among friends. It was a great morning in Oregon!
The sun & the moon
met each other in the freshness of an August morning
Just when you thought the world couldn’t get nuttier, the next day brings even more crazy- especially here in the USA. Being the sensitive type, I have had to develop strategies to keep a healthy level of sanity & stay creative. It’s still there- the good, the beauty, the hope. One just has to turn off the noise of all the negativity and reach for happy……
It happens sometimes to creatives- your head is filled with a party of ideas & inspirations and then all of a sudden the party is over. You’re left with a bunch of rubble, an empty room, and a creative hangover. That’s where I am at. I’ve been here before and it’s not fun. You feel lost, lonely & a sense of despair. The one thing I do know “This too shall pass” (but not without some effort).
Parties can’t go on indefinitely. At some point, you need to rest & recharge. The first step is to clean up after the party- literally. I am doing a total cleanup of my studio. On Saturday I swept down my cement floor, got rid of unnecessary items that lined the walls and occupied the floor and then hosed down the entire thing. Afterward, it smelled fresh and sweet. Today I am cleaning and organizing my table surfaces. For some reason cleaning my physical space also cleans my mental space. It’s not a cure-all but sure is a positive start to make room for new ideas. Best of all- It’s something I can do now and feel good about.
I wrote the following poem at my low point (also posted on “Poet’s Corner”). I look forward to hearing the songs of birds again.
Some of my favorite art is the cave paintings from Paleolithic times or the rock paintings from ancient Native Americans & Australian Aborigines. There is an ongoing debate about the purpose of this primitive type of art. I believe it was about story telling or merely leaving evidence of their existence, much like tracks. These images were made to be viewed by other people. A simple hand print on a wall is powerful. It says “I was here.”
When I ask the question to myself, will my art have a lasting impact on the world? The fact that I wrote or made is enough. It proves that I
was here. It tells part of my story, of my experience on this earth. Fame is not in my destiny but evidence will be. It is part of me I leave. If someone happens to connect with my work, I am most fulfilled.
I got this off Austin Kleon’s blog that inspired this post. His take on the subject is worth a visit. Keep on keeping on…….