Thursday, July 26, 2012

Inspiration All Around

I find inspiration everywhere, usually in small details- a casual comment, a spiderweb, a patch of chartreuse weeds on dark brown dirt. There is so much inspiration available if only I have the presence to see it. The trouble is that sometimes I. JUST. CAN. NOT. SEE. IT. So keeping myself present and open to receiving the inspiration that is all around me at all times, is my main job, before all else. 
I’m a mom of 2 young kids and I can tell you it is hard work to woo the muse in the midst  of the hectic activity of family life (or work life, or whatever life challenge is yours), and even harder to do something with the inspiration, but,- it is possible. 
These are some things that help me: 
Basic Self Care. Eat decently, sleep adequately. Exercise. Quiet time.  Lately I’ve been swimming laps, and find that I’m very creative when I sit at my desk after a swim. 

Be Where You Are. I spent a lot of time inwardly fighting my outer circumstances and it has been nothing but fruitless. Trust that inspiration will find you if you don't struggle too much.

For instance, on recent evenings, my husband and kids started watching the comic series TinTin by illustrator Hergé. (The illustrations accompanying this text are by Hergé). A little Netflix in the evenings is our habit, but my work was not going smoothly, so I slipped away to grab some desk time.  I sat there, tired and feeling sorry for myself.  Still, I doggedly stayed at my desk and would beat myself up for not being more productive. After a month or so of this, I finally just sat with the family. What a pleasant surprise. I find I adore TinTin. I'm inspired by the clear- line (ligne claire) illustration style for which Hergé was known, and his sophisticated color palette. My creative juices were flowing again.

In the end,  trying to be productive at the wrong time was not where my muse was...she was relaxing with her family and watching TinTin. 

Entertain Your Little Mind. By far the most useful tool I have to keep myself at my desk once I have some inspiration to work with, is audiobooks. When I’m first fleshing out an idea, or writing, nothing but silence will do, but once an idea has some shape, I’m on looking for a good book. The audiobooks trick my little mind, -a.k.a. Lil’ Miss, which is what I call the part of my mind that wants to do ANYTHING but settle down and draw.  A good audiobook keeps Lil’ Miss distracted and happy, and I plug away at the drawing board. I just completed Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed, which Lil’ Miss and I  thoroughly enjoyed. And, happily, my painting is progressing nicely.

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