January 24, 2012

Inspiration Eludes Me

I've landed, once again, with both feet firmly planted in the Land of Doing Nothing.  I don't like it here.  This week I happily signed on to a fun project, committing to making and delivering a handcrafted something to five people in 2012.  Creativity continues to elude me as my brain swims with half ideas, partial ideas, or the sound track from an annoying television commercial I can't get out of my head.  Searching for inspiration, I cruised through some of my studio books, I looked through my old sketch books, fumbled through a pile of fabric, and even stooped to Googling for art/creativity prompts.

In my fruitless search for a miraculous prod to my imagination, I found a blog quote that proved to offer yet another smack of reality and good food for thought.  The comment was attributed by the blogger to painter Chuck Close.  The message was that artists shouldn't sit around waiting for inspiration, but just get going.  "Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.  If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.  All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.  Things occur to you.  If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens.  But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.  Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case."

Will I ever make progress?  Do prolific artists just get in there, get their hands dirty and make art?  Clearly I am failing at the most basic level.  I still find myself mopping and vacuuming instead of sewing or painting.  I promise myself I'm going to schedule studio time, then I don't do it.  I just sit with brain freeze, something I've fussed about too many times.  I've grown weary of my own complaints.

Tonight, I paused while writing to put studio time on the calendar, blocking noon to 3 p.m. on every week day.  I have to be flexible when school lets out early and disrupts the schedule, but I'm going to give it a try.  If I don't start taking serious steps to make art a priority, it will never, ever be a priority and I'll spend the rest of my life voicing the same complaints.  I should make myself the ugliest hat on the planet and force myself to wear it in public every time I fuss about not making art.  Ouch.  OK, never mind.  Maybe I'll start with wearing mismatched socks ;-)