Anyone in the field of art or design will tell you that there are days when they don’t feel very creative. That can be scary.
If your rent relies on you churning out new work, it can be very stressful to go through times where you just don’t want to even think about your art, never mind actually make anything. Especially if those days stretch into weeks!
Even for those who practice art solely for their own pleasure will begin to feel the drag on their life without the joy of “making” in it.
I had a teacher once who told his students never to let a day go by without practicing your art. Does that sound exhausting? What if it’s just sketching your ideas – big, loose, messy sketches? Too much? Maybe it’s just scrolling though the many color palettes on the Pantone site?
There have been some days where scrolling has been all the creative energy I could muster. But then something in the purple and green color combination was plucked from the pages and stored in some small compartment in my tiny brain to be retrieved one day in the work studio.
Maybe recharging your muse could be as simple as keeping an open journal when you travel. By “open” journaling I mean keeping a notebook for little drawings and all those great inspirational thoughts that can happen spontaneously when we’re relaxed. My notebook is mostly written thoughts with only a few drawings, but it works for me.
My husband and I moved to Israel in 2010 for three short years. When I disembarked and had my first long look at Tel Aviv I was delighted to find that the sky appeared pink. The color permeated the air and gave it a mystical, magical feeling. We arrived mid-summer and the air was damp; the heat was so palpable it was as though you’d opened an oven door to check the roast. I didn’t mind.
I loved the pink desert sand air and the brilliant sun and the broad expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. I loved the ancient history that was evident everywhere I looked. I loved the many colors and spicy smells of the Arab market and the incessant song of the Bedouin boy as he tried to entice passers-by to his display of tandoori pots or many scarves.
I began to incorporate the magic into my work. I bought strands of pinkish purpled spiny oyster and weaved those bits of sea shell amongst my glass beads. The rods of glass that I was adding to my (already large) supply ran to the blues of the sea and sky and the ambers of the sand.
Israel had begun to feed my muse.
I’ve always filled my work space with things that inspire me. Photos of places I love, pictures ripped from magazines for the color combinations or the image itself. Bits of quotes – even just things that make me feel good by looking at them. Here is one of my many work spaces.
Oddly, keeping your muse satisfied sometimes comes in the form of commiseration. It can alleviate pressure to perform if you realize that you’re in good company. It helps to know that other artists/writers have experienced precisely what you are going through.
Do some research and find those same souls. Find out what they do to ease their way over the bump. Will it work for you as well?
In the end, it all feeds our Muse. For the creative person, everything is to be studied, turned over, tasted, digested and ruminated over until it has been completely processed. That may take hours, or it may feel like a dry spell and take weeks. It’s all a matter of time.
Relax, pour yourself a cup of tea and go through the latest issue of Quilts. Your next masterpiece may just be in there somewhere.
Where do you go to connect with your creative Muse? Do you keep a journal or bulletin board? Is there a workspace you dedicate to your art? What crafts do you love to do? Please share in the comments.
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