A few weeks ago, after completing “One Note,” I discovered that there wasn’t a painting in the queue anxiously awaiting to be released. My artistic muse had hit a crossroads. This was a new phenomenon for me because there has always been a visual idea sitting in my mind’s eye wanting to be expressed. It was not the classic ‘painter’s block,’ because it did not feel like that, yet I knew something was different.
I also did not want to push the river or just paint for the sake of painting. Listening, writing, observing, researching and reflecting became my mode of operation. The universe seemed to want to tell me something and I didn’t want to miss the message.
Has your artistic muse ever stumbled? What have you done?
To be more specific, here is a list of some of the things I have been doing:
- Listening to ideas and questions from others;
- Researching images on the internet;
- Printing off some of these images and then spreading them out on a table like a deck of cards – noticing patterns, moving the images around, musing;
- Painting a small study or two;
- Journaling – writing down insights and ideas the pop up otherwise they fly away;
- Talking to those who understand the artistic process and its evolution;
- Talking with hubby who has a close yet more objective view of my career and has valuable insights;
- Spending quiet time with just me and my paintings (how often do we actually do this?);
- Sketching a few random ideas and see if anything lights a fire;
- Hiking in the quiet of the woods with my dog;
- Combing through some of my favorite artists books, such as M.C. Escher and Remedios Varo;
Then some other activities started to happen and I believe these are important.
- I have completely cleaned up my office (this is HUGE!) and tossed or refiled all paper piles and those irritating little pieces of paper with notes on them;
- I realized I really had to get serious about getting my act together with some organization systems. Hence, I started using Evernote and I listened to David Allen’s CD on “Getting Things Done.” He has helped me acquire a language around organization that makes sense;
- I learned that those piles left unattended are negative energy drainers — they reminded me of what I had not done and created a message of letting myself down;
- After my office, I then tackled my email inbox. I am one of those that uses the inbox for reminders and filing. I have gone from 750 emails to keeping it under 50. I also emptied the DELETED EMAIL box which had thousands of emails sitting there;
- I have even started cleaning out my clothes closet, which is not in bad shape, though I had clothes that needed to find their next life;
One big CLEARING seemed to be in order and that is one of the messages that I received. This cleaning and clearing allows for the new or different creative energy to find room to explore and my artistic muse to play. My blank canvas is awaiting with patience.
I almost forgot… I have gone down memory lane and visited work I completed years ago and have enjoyed this retrospective journey. Here is my first watercolor from 1987.
And below is one of the paintings I completed for a large body of work I created commemorating the women of the 1800’s entitled, “No Time for Idle Hands.” This is “A Golden Gathering,” 19×26 watercolor, 1998.
To date, there have been no ‘answers,’ and that is okay with me. I do have an itch to paint something and will do so soon. Perhaps this will nudge my artistic muse along.
The clearing, along with some serious gardening, has been comforting. I sense that incubation is happening.
Share this post with those who may be interested or in the sites listed below.
Also, let me know your suggestions and/or experiences that have happened during your artistic evolution. How do you talk to your artistic muse?