Finding Inspiration in the Grind

As an artist, I am asked questions about inspiration all the time. What inspires you? Are you inspired all the time? What happens if you are not inspired? I will use this post to talk about two different kinds of inspiration.

Inspiration can come like a bolt of lightning. Its those moments when an idea is crystal clear and so fantastic that it can easily be transferred to canvas – or whatever your medium is. These moments are genius and can feel especially great. We all love these moments because everything flows. It all comes together perfectly.Waiting in Vain

Waiting in Vain, 2016

But inspiration does not work that way all the time. Inspiration can also be found within the grind. In the lightning bolt scenario, inspiration comes, then you create. With the grind, you must do the work for inspiration to appear.

If you do not have that bolt every time you want to create a work of art, what will you do? I cannot sit and wait for the next bolt to come or I would have significantly fewer pieces in my portfolio. What I do in times when lightning does not strike, is approach the canvas, my paints, my brushes, my thoughts. I stand face to face with my creative nemesis, I sketch, I design, I begin painting to see what comes, struggling through. In the process of creating, I am also chasing inspiration and I know that I will find it. The evidence will be in the finished product.

Finding inspiration in the grind is not just about artists or creative people, its for anyone who wants to accomplish anything. I am a creative so I use creative references. If you are a writer, you will have to sit down in front of a computer even if you have no clue what you will write. You will have to hit those keys. Write a line. Delete it. Write another. Starting your process is an invitation to inspiration to come in. It wants to come in. Sometimes it is reluctant but if you stick with the process long enough it will come.

Today I wish for you all the lightning bolts of inspiration you can get. However, when those fade, I wish for you the patience and tenacity to sit down and start working so that inspiration may come.

Experiencing Art

Will be on show at the Ben Navaee Gallery September 20 - 29, 2013

Will be on show at the Ben Navaee Gallery September 20 – 29, 2013

Many people do not feel that they understand art. They feel intimidated by it and do not know how to interpret a piece that they come across. They also feel intimidated by most galleries with their highfalutin prices and unapproachable atmosphere. I wish people did not feel this way because art is fun and much of it is left up to your own interpretation. Art is an engaging activity that requires you to really look and experience a short story that is told in a composed, colourful and conceptual way. All of us can experience this.

I am going to use a piece that I did called “Shrouded” to explain my thoughts while I was doing it and to demonstrate that the viewer can have a totally different interpretation that is as good, if not better than what the artist intended.

The piece, shown above, depicts a woman, wearing a head scarf, who is hidden behind what appears to be bars. My thoughts as I was doing the piece was that there are a lot of us who are hidden behind something. This thing that we are hidden behind can bring us a sense of comfort, security and escape. We can have a feeling of protection and a sense of belonging within this shroud.

Paradoxically, we can also feel trapped, imprisoned and stifled by this very thing. All we want to do is escape from it.

That was the dichotomy present in my mind while creating this piece. I showed a picture of this painting to my friend Himanshu. He told me that the woman is a mystery woman who many have tried to get to know but cannot because of the impenetrable walls that she has put up. I thought that was a very insightful comment and interpretation. It was never something that I the artist had thought of but it fits right into the shrouded theme. How cool is that?

This ability to look, see, experience and interpret is not out of anyone’s reach. Take some time to experience a piece of art. When you get right down to it art is really an experience. You might be surprised to find that you can figure out more than you think you would all because you took the time to look.

 

 

Journaling About A Favourite Month

We all have favourite seasons. For many people the most popular season is summer. The sun brings about a feeling of warmth, literally and figuratively, and brings with it the thought of sea, sandals and skin. But what about a favourite month? We all have those too.

One of my favourite months is October. The trees and the ground are usually filled with colourful leaves that remind me of a vibrant artist palette. There is also a sense of expectancy in the air because the leaves are shedding themselves from the trees. This calls to mind a certain kind of death, not only of leaves, but also of autumn. It says that winter is around the corner. This is worth writing down because the duality is so stark – the simultaneous sense of beauty and the sense of death. Many times life is like this, filled with dualities.

So what is your favourite month? What is it about this month that gets to you? It could be April/May because it’s time to plant and you get to watch things grow, it could be a month in winter where you get to ski or partake in other winter sport, or it could be a month in summer where you get to go hiking and camping. Whatever the month and for whatever reason, this is something that you can journal about. These seemingly mundane pieces of information give us opportunities to learn more about ourselves. What we like and why we like them can be a window through which we look at the choices we make and help us to make more informed choices.

Go ahead, write about your favourite month.

Remember there is nothing like words in black and white to help you see where you are and where you are going.

Sheryl Keen
Author “Journal According to John.”
www.sherylkeen.com
http://personaljournaling.wordpress.com