Thursday, September 8, 2011

Working Through It

Reader Leslie recently sent the following - Thanks Leslie!Link
When I was first learning to paint, my biggest block was finding something inspiring that wasn't too overwhelming a challenge to face. Boy! That was a small universe to choose from! One day I scoured the net for the secret key to finding the perfect inspiring subject... knowing it was out there somewhere, because so many other artists were finding endless inspiration. When I hit on this, the search ended. The truth of what this person says just resonated and stuck in my bones.

Unfortunately, it was an anonymous post in response to an anonymous question on some message board I could never find again, so I don't know to whom it could be attributed. But truth is truth, and I can't help but believe the original poster wouldn't mind it being passed along. -- Leslie

How do you find your artistic inspiration?

What a wonderful question. I know this is true because I drift in and out of disillusionment and inspiration on nearly a daily basis. I think after all these years I have discovered what works for me. And apparently from reading about the struggles of people with similar difficulties, what works for others as well.


Wait for it….

It’s the WORK! Yes that’s right, it’s the work. It is not some muse which guides me here and there within my artistic self and then abandons me. It is the understanding that if I do the work within my own heart and soul, and head, and actually produce a product based upon that effort, then whatever I am artistically is seen by me and others. Thereby my art is produced. And often when I am so blocked by all those named and unnamed things which I consider to be in my way (and they number in the thousands) which can stop me writing, or photographing or painting, or doing whatever it is I can do artistically at that moment, I know that if I just DO IT – write word upon word (nonsensically if necessary), or photograph a bug, or sketch a subject, or whatever, anything, my ability will all of a sudden reemerge. I know HOW to take pictures. I KNOW how to write. When I feel blocked and unable to create I have a thousand excuses why I cannot create. I can set a thousand barriers in front of me to disallow progress. And I have gone years using those impediments as excuse.

But the truth is that no one cares if I write or take pictures or draw or paint. I mean they say they do, but in the scheme of things, in comparison to world hunger, war, illness, poverty my artistic output is of little import. It is only in the RESULT of whatever art I can actually produce that people can find something to feel about my work. I can talk about my art. I can boast about it and promise it and lament its incompleteness. But only if I actually produce something can it be called art. And even then it may be bad art and I may find eventually, and sooner rather than later, that I suck as an artist. But if I don’t produce something, anything, if I only remain one of those who TALKS art, well then I am just another sap who let the barriers and blockage get in the way of that which I must do to be an artist. Actually make art.

So with all that said, my suggestion to you is just do the work. Put word to paper, pen to ink, brush to canvas. Eventually the blocks will fall and the breaks will unsieze. If you are really an artist, your art will get you going again.

Wow - powerful stuff indeed. A good dose of plain speaking too. And I have to agree - in my own experiences I fight it, blame outside events, claim my muse is MIA, but when I just get the brush wet and start pushing the paint around, I find that I can paint still. And the more I work, the more easily it comes. Like a river being undammed. -- Robin

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