Where do these beautiful images come from?
A special friend of mine, referring to my latest collage piece entitled “Your Guardian Angel”, asked me this. Her questions are sincere and thought-provoking, as she is typically deep in thought. I find her perspective rather unique, as well. After thinking on it for a week, I’ve realized I can’t answer without exploring my muses and inspiration.
So here I find myself musing over inspiration.
My art and writing, the personally critical act of creating, is about feeling. It isn’t about the cutting sword of thought or intellect, which is why I’m convinced creating is so important to our emotional health. It is as essential as breathing. My creativity starts with a feeling, seeks to convey feelings, and, I hope, provokes feelings. It is my utmost hope that when someone looks at an image I’ve created, they feel something. I don’t care if it’s adoration or discomfort, as long as they feel. Concurrently, if I let my emotional energy get drained by stress or fatigue, I just don’t have the juice. And if the juice isn’t there, the feeling isn’t either and so no drawings or collage work gets done.
Our greatest goal should be to create without concern for the outcome. And I am aware this is easy for some and hard for others. In other words, don’t think “will my art make me money?” or “will people like me more because of this?”. Don’t worry about things like, “oh, no one will like this” or “what would anyone want this for?”
No. No. No.
There is nothing we can do to control the reactions of others.
Worries about acceptance, failure or reward are expectations we tag to the outcome of our creativity, and if that expectation exists, the creative spark is dampened. When we create for the sake of creating, and we do it enthusiastically and courageously, people will respond to what moves them. What matters, the only thing that matters, is that we create.
The rest happens on its own.
Say that we’re into photography, cooking or sewing; or acting, singing, writing or underwater basket weaving, for that matter. We do more, and we get better at it. Perhaps one day when we’re feeling more confident, we get it out there a bit on-line or at a craft show. We give a gift to someone special. We take a chance and share more of ourselves to see what happens.
So, where does it start?
For me, it starts with a muse and with inspiration. What happens thereafter is built on a feeling and then fertilized with plenty of my plus-sized, over-active imagination.
A muse is someone or something that inspires an artist to create. I have a few. First, there is that very insistent voice inside of me that I’ve named Francine. Francine is all about defiance, rage and loving without boundaries. She rails against the societal norm and wants to do things her way! There is a distinct difference between feeling the urge to draw and feeling Francine shake the cage I have her in. She can be very persistent.
There are people in my life who inspire me, and these are my muses. I’m not always sure why, but these individuals rile me up in a way I must outwardly express. Maybe it’s chemistry or tension. Perhaps it’s passion in one of its many guises. I go with the flow, remaining grateful for these people and the magic they bring into my life. I have a number of celebrity muses, the most prominent of which are Dolly Parton, whom I’ve adored since before I was a teenager, and Catherine Deneauve, who I find absolutely stunning.
From the muse springs inspiration, arousal of the emotions to a special activity or creativity. It manifests differently with each of my favorite mediums.
When approaching pen and ink, I may look to one of the many, many pictures I’ve pulled from magazines. Now and again these images inspire me alone, no muse required. I might begin with an image as a reference knowing the end product will take on a life of its own. I rarely have a preconceived image but rather let the imagine work itself out, which at times can be a struggle. My “Queen of Wands”, for example, is an example of this.
In this creative process, my eyes, hands, and mind work in tandem, but the piece itself is mistress, and I am its servant.
Collage work, which I love, is very different from creating with pen and ink. A pen and ink portrait is a commitment that requires time and endurance. Collage work can be quick, with free artistic flow and immediate gratification Often, I begin with a picture in my head. This is my destination. The pre-made stickers and embellishments, all those marvelous little pictures, textures, and sizes become stepping stones on the path. I know where I want the creative journey to lead, what the end result should look like, but the embellishments and I work hand-in-hand to get there. I feel like I’m leading the charge, but there is a compromise between me, the artist, and the materials. It all happens rather quickly, and the process requires a less intense focus.
So, my friend asked “where do these beautiful images come from?”, and my answer would have to be they come from many places. They come from inspiration, from pictures, from the world around me, or from the way I feel. They come from people, places and things, and all the different parts of me working in concert to put what I feel into a picture or portrait.
They come from breathing … because to me, creating is breathing.
written by PayneArtandParisDreams, June 28, 2011