august FEATURED artist
An Artist's Reflection: Finding Inspiration
I am an artist. I paint. During this time of Covid, plus the political and social unrest, processing events in the world around me is a challenge. Rethinking becomes habit. Finding inspiration is not as simple as it was a few months ago. Deciding how to move forward with awareness and action is something for which I must dig deeply.
“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” – Marc Chagall
For weeks to months, my "art-making" energy changed and was redirected to "gardening therapy" rather than to creating paintings. Energy was directed to giving back by selling paintings to benefit Saint Vincent de Paul's food bank. Energy went into other business strategies to help move in a reasonable direction while weathering this storm. Little energy was left for inspiration, but all of this "processing" was necessary to realign and find inspiration.
"Art is not a thing, it is a way." Elbert Hubbard
I own an artist's studio collective with nine working studios and a gallery space in Exeter, NH. We have been open to the public since the beginning of 2017. Most of that time we have had both growth and change. Now, as we reassemble a few threads of "normalcy", I am acutely aware of the art support systems I am so fortunate to have in my life. The collective of artists here at the studio is a micro-community that never stops providing inspiration. In our little collective, thoughts are shared, ideas bounced around, new art processes explored. We learn from each other. Bit by bit we share creativity which, in turn, reminds us why we make things. Basically... we create because we have to. It is like breathing.
When I run low on inspiration, I turn to my colleagues. The importance of the ebb and flow of creative dialogues, the next project or the next process can not be overstated. Taking the time to allow the inspiration back in is necessary.
I think back to a time years ago when I "taught" toddlers and preschool art from my home studio. (I say "taught", but in actuality I "provided" art opportunities to them and THEY taught me.) Without fail, the mark-making process at this age was the most important part for them. I watched young artists day after day ...and learned. I saw the joy in their faces as the brush or crayon or modeling material left a trail of color, a mark, or a smudge. No regard for what the art "should be". No regard for a warning from a parent who said "wait! that could drip.... or make a mess". The purity of heart with which they created, was total process immersion.
That freedom in mark-making that children easily possess is what I seek in my process while painting. I am inspired when I am lost in the work, mesmerized by the color that is coming from the brush... almost as if it is the brush that leads and then I follow.
“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” — Isadora Duncan.