|Playing with carving my own print blocks|
I suppose we all have the occasional dry period when nothing seems exciting, when we just don't feel like picking up a brush, when we're tired or overwhelmed. And in fact I have a whole post in the pipeline that will be a follow-up to this one, addressing those things that kill creativity--or at least inhibit it to the point of entropy.
And honestly, when it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, what inspires us--what nurtures that mischievous and elusive muse--is as individual as we are.
Often, what works for me is to make a list--well, two of them really. One list of those things that feed my soul, and one of the things that definitely do NOT. I have done this little exercise time and again through the years...it helps me take compass readings and make sure I'm still on course, as well as where I need to jettison some cargo or turn the wheel a bit to starboard.
Who wouldn't wish to see a few more of those stars like silvery eyes in a velvet sky, eh? (And yes, of course my sailor husband would remind me that starboard isn't up--work with me here, all right? I'm sailing this imaginary sloop...)
I've been doing a lot of jettisoning, lately. Simplifying, getting rid of excess Stuff--belongings, ideas, occupations, imaginary or outworn obligations.
Making room for Creativity. For life.
For we ARE creative beings. That's what we do. Whether we create a piece of art, a symphony, a happy child, a balanced budget, a good meal or order out of chaos, we are fulfilling that urge. I once wrote an article suggesting that that is what we have most in common with the Creator; I still believe that, and I'm more grateful than ever, 25 years later.
|Dip pens cut from feathers or sticks|
So. What nurtures creativity? What inspires me?
Here's my list--this week. Make your own. They may be quite similar, they may be entirely different, but they must be honest, straight from the heart.
- An open mind
- Paying attention
- Listening to what really matters to me
- The light on my sleeping husband's face
- Joseph's hands
- New places
- Old ones...heart homes, near and far--places that have touched me
- A new tool--a new pigment, a fountain pen that's smooth of nib, a vegetable peeler, whatever!
- Paper I love to work on
- New ideas
- Reviving old ones that work
- Taking time for me (if I give it all away, I have nothing left for any of us)
- Friends who "get it" (Get what, you say? Well, that's as individual as we are, as well.)
- Art--seeing what others have done or are doing can spark a conflagration
- Rembrandt sketches, Vermeer's chiaroscuro, Winslow Homer's watercolors...
- A new direction (the stamps above were my balance from too many weeks of the same kind of thing)
- A different medium--almost but not quite the same as above
- The grace and antics of cats
- A quiet chat with an old friend
- A new discipline
- Old photos
- Time for memory
- Interaction with others...for me, sparingly, but still...
- A quote that speaks to me
- That One Perfect Word--you know, the one that strikes the ear and makes everything different
- The sure and certain knowledge that there is no one right way when it comes to creativity
|A friend's recent art on used teabags inspired these two...thank you, Palma.|
|My own technique was different...but her work let me take off from there!|
And once I have my list? I do more of that. Whatever it is, whatever I have time for. What bubbles to the top, what serendipity throws my way. What insists I pay attention.