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Author Topic: Looking for Inspiration?  (Read 1821 times)


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on: April 17, 2012, 10:23:27 AM
I regularly receive a newsletter from the artist Robert Genn and just felt lead to share this with you.
You can get him on his website Robert Genn

No fish today?
April 17, 2012
Dear Dennis,
Last Friday I was pacing the studio, bumping into doors and walls, tripping on canvases, knocking over cups of pre-mixed acrylic. "What to do?" I was asking myself. In my panic I briefly impaled myself on a brush I had forgotten to wash the day before. Like my head, it was hard and thick but still held a good point. Some days there ain't no fish.
I had a look in my near-gridlocked inbox. I searched "what to do" and got 14 returns from recent incoming emails. They were asking the same question, and I, in my flimsy guruness, was stuck for answers.
I decided to consult the Brotherhood and Sisterhood via the Resource of Art Quotations on our site. It's a place like no other--enriched by the great artists including our own subscribers. My eyes caught on the words of New Zealand painter Beverly Claridge: "Inspiration is a byproduct of discipline."
I realized I had fallen prey to my own fatal error. The day before I'd finished a painting--even signed it before I went to bed. Big mistake. There was nothing left to do on it. I knew it all along. It's always best to sign things early in the day. Then I dug up a faintly remembered quote from Ernest Hemingway: "I learned never to empty the well, but always to stop when there was still something in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it."
The quotes were getting me as hot as a firecracker. "Inspiration," said Henri Matisse, "comes while one is working." "I write only when inspiration strikes--fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp," said Somerset Maugham. "Inspiration exists," said Pablo Picasso, "but it has to find you working.
That's when my line started bobbing up and down. Up until then I had been looking for fish in the sky. My line hadn't even been in the water.
Best regards,
PS: "When inspiration doesn't come, I go to meet it." (Sigmund Freud) "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it." (Jack London)
Esoterica: I put the previous day's effort to the wall, went quietly to my workstation, set a virginal canvas on the easel and squeezed paint. I turned up the music, breathed deeply and settled into my routine. "Routine," said Twyla Tharp, "is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more." It was a serene rebirth--a happenstance event loaded with calm desire and gentle optimism. "Inspiration is not born of 'the eureka moment,'" said subscriber Sharon Knettell, "but in the quiet spaces we allow ourselves to be in--whether in a beautiful part of nature or in a peaceful meditative state of mind." My enthusiastic and energetic stroking came later in the project. It builds up. It's the action itself that generates the inspiration.
You are what you THINK about - Napoleon Hill


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Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 12:16:52 PM
 :thankyou: I haven't seemed to be able to  find the energy or "heart" to pick up my paintbrushes.....Your post makes perfect sense! Inspiration always does strike at 9am sharp, while I am at work and unable to do anything with it!  I paint the most beautiful things in my mind at that time.  Unfortunately, those lovely paintings haven't been getting onto canvas.  Hopefully you have given me the bump in the bum I needed to get started again. Cheers!
Pitter :)
Happily going about my business, not a care in the world!


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Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 02:21:18 PM
Smack in the head!!!  :D  Brilliant Dennis, thanks for that.   O0  I do find if I haven't really done anything for a day or three, it is difficult to get rolling again. Once again its the sketchbook to the rescue! Doesn't matter what it is, just start to sketch...what you might ask?  What's in front of you this minute...a subject is always at hand.

 :bigwelcome:  Pitter.  I understand that .... if only I could stop and just sketch/paint this right now ... sometimes inspiration strikes at the most inconvenient moments. Jot a note, make a stick picture just to remind you later. It really helps.
I hope we see you often on the forum with a flourishing gallery to inspire us.   O0


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Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 08:04:59 PM
:bigwelcome: to the family Pitter, tell us a bit more about what medium you paint in etc.

Sometimes you also need to walk away before inspiration strikes. Do something else, go for a walk, read a book, etc. so that your mind not on the painting side of things. Before you know it you are rushing to the studio with an aha idea and heaps of enthusiasm to boot


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Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 09:21:47 PM
 :welcome: to Paintbasket, Pitter!  I'm sure that if you stick around this Paintbasket site, you'll have plenty of inspiration.  I've enjoyed being here and I've learned a lot.

I hope you post some of your paintings.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you do.
"The way to be happy," said Winston Churchill, "is to find something that requires the kind of perfection that's impossible to achieve and spend the rest of your life trying to achieve it."


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Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 09:28:45 PM
Re inspiration --

I have a large filing cabinet drawer full of reference photos, old calendars, pictures from magazines, etc.

I've been collecting these for years, waiting for a time when I can pull them out and let my imagination run wild using a subject from a file or two, maybe a mountain from my file labelled "mountains", trees from my file labelled "trees", waterways..., etc., etc.

I definitely don't lack inspiration.  It's time and energy I lack.   ::)

Right now, I feel I'm getting a base knowledge with the basics, here on Paintbasket and I appreciate it so much.

However, I'd like to know, at what point should I stop taking lessons and start being creative and independent?

Only one life to live, only so many hours in a day!   :-\
"The way to be happy," said Winston Churchill, "is to find something that requires the kind of perfection that's impossible to achieve and spend the rest of your life trying to achieve it."