Let’s start with this painting:
“Destinations”. Acrylic & Latex on Canvas. 12 x 12 inches.
You like it? I like it too. I like it a lot actually – but I’ll let you in on a secret, when I started this painting, not only did it look nothing like this, but I had no idea what it was going to look like at all. Sometimes you just need to get something started, and do it!
It can be so easy to fall into a creativity trap, waiting on the inspiration fairy to give you an idea to guide your way. However, during the times she doesn’t show up for you, there are a few ways you can engage your mind in the practice of seeking out inspiration for yourself.
Inspiration comes from the boundless variety of input you encounter every day – your life experiences – all of the things you see and hear and read about, the moments that touch your soul, the juicy stuff, the stuff that you remember, the stuff that calls you to action.
Inspiration can be found in any number of things; for me… it’s Mother Earth’s natural patterns, it’s the subtle design in the leather on my backpack, the layout in my latest copy of Rolling Stone, Beyonce’s Lemonade.
The painting I just showed you, started here:
I love starting with composition. I will often cut little compositions out of larger imagery that’s inspired me or peaked my interest, and paste them into my sketchbook for later. Saving your inspiration and ideas when they come to you is so key – you can always revisit those thoughts later, and even later still. They are yours, always.
FUN FACT: I have kept, dated and titled every sketch book I’ve had since I started art school in 2009.
So I kept these little ideas, and I came back to them later. I didn’t have an end result in mind, but I had a canvas, these “sketches” and a green wash. I was staying consistent with my studio practice, even though I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired that day… and I came up with this:
I didn’t know what to create, so I just created something.
This gave me something new to go off of the next time I sat down with this piece. “Maybe next time, I will know exactly how this should look, right?”
Next, I got this:
Eh. Ehhhhhh. Okay. I wasn’t sold, I wasn’t there yet.
A few people complimented the piece at this point – but it wasn’t what I had in mind.
I wasn’t there yet.
Interesting changes. Totally different tone. More likes still. And yet… I still wasn’t sold.
When you’re making – creating something from the core of your being – it doesn’t matter what the world thinks. Listen to yourself, trust your own instinct – your work is done when it feels done for you.
And this wasn’t done. Not for me.
I spent two more sessions with this work before “Destinations” was realized.
So don’t avoid starting because you’re not feeling inspired. Don’t stop just because your idea hasn’t fully formed yet. Be patient. Create. Respond. Respond to the input, to the last thing you did, to the feeling in your heart – today, tomorrow, yesterday. Keep creating because you’ll get there. Creating begets more creating, it fosters more ideas, new vibes, all kinds of feelings. Play. If you want to know what would happen if you used the stick end of the brush – use it. Want to see what orange looks like smudged up into cerulean? Smudge it.
Creating is not necessarily about seeking answers, so much as it about asking many questions until you find an answer you had not yet come to understand.
I had not yet come to see the final product until I got there – and there, I found my little creation speaking back to me – Destination.
How appropriately titled ❤
Love & Light,