Well, we are two days into the new year. Have you made any changes to your routine? Do you have any ideas as to what you might like to change or take on as a challenge? It is so early in the year, that we have barely had the time to clean up from the New Year's Eve party, if we had one, that the only resolution we may have made is to not have a party next time, better to go out and celebrate and not have to do the clean up the next day. That is a valid thought and one that you seriously should consider if partying is your way of bringing in the New Year. Personally, I enjoyed a quiet evening watching a movie on my personal DVD player. I sat up in bed, cup of tea in hand (yes, I do drink a lot of tea!) and watched a movie that finished up around 12:30 a.m. and then shut off the DVD player and went to bed. Not very exciting, but it gave me time to think about what was at the back of my mind. Something was bothering me, but I could not put my finger on what it was.
It really annoys me when something is niggling at the back of my mind and I do not know just what it is or what it might mean to me. I cannot let it go until I identify it and develop a plan for dealing with whatever it is and how it might be of benefit to me. While I am not going to lose any sleep over it, I do realize that dealing with whatever it might be, straight on, would be in my best interest. After the movie finished, I sat back, eyes closed and let my mind reflect over the events of the past few days looking for anything that my subconscious mind might have grabbed onto and used as a means of getting my attention.
I have been looking at a lot of calendars lately to pick out a couple that best exemplify the image that I want to have of myself. I have picked two calendars, both very simple, both reflecting a very zen approach to life. That is where I want to take myself, down that very zen pathway and find out who and what I am and where I am supposed to be going. If I listen to one person, her approach, which she was trying very hard to impress upon me, was that by putting her office/studio in order, she would find so many ideas to use in her artwork that she would never be able to complete them all in the year's time. I see her tactic for what it is, a ploy to entice me to tidy up my studio/bedroom, and I reject that thought. By tidying up my worktable and shelving, I'm only putting away the pieces of my life from which my inspiration flows. This is not going to help me in finding new ideas, in being creative. While it may very well work for this person, it is not a method that will work at all for me. I will work the way that seems to get the best results for me and that is to have pieces of various types of inspiration spread out to capture my attention. My ways are vastly different, but that does not mean that they are wrong for me anymore than they would be right for her. Everyone has methods of accomplishing things, creative or otherwise, that work best for them. But, what they need to realize, promoting a method of finding creativity which in fact is only a way of their telling you that your work table needs a tidy up, is not authentic, it is not really a way of finding creativity, it is a way of doing just what it is supposed to do, telling you to tidy up a work space.
Finding my muse, takes a little more creative approach. It may involve a trip to the mall to look at some shops that carry strange or interesting things such as crystals, smudge sticks, incense and or candles. I am more of a new age persona than one might expect. I read different types of books on finding ways to lead you to your heart's desire. Being open to new ideas and where you might find these ideas. Looking over different sites on the internet may also lead me in a new direction to explore. While it may not lead to any new ideas with regards to painting, looking at these sites may lead me to a line of thoughts that could turn into a new idea for a post on my blog or perhaps something a tad longer, which in turn could turn into a book. I am open to any and all ideas from my muse. I sit quietly and let this wisp of a soul take me in directions that I may not have considered until this very moment. Maybe finding these thoughts at a particular time has a meaning that needs to be thought about for a while before the reason becomes apparent. I really do believe this.
So, this year, my journey is going to be more free spirited. It will be less of a directed journey and more of a thought each morning of where do I want to go today and what would I like to do. That may sound like there is no plan in place, and you are correct, there is no plan in place, nor should there be. An artistic journey is one in which the traveller/artist needs to be open to considering any and all ideas that come through the wisps of ideas floating around in their mind. You see something that appeals to you, you grab it and run with the idea to see where it takes you. Maybe, it will not take you anywhere too special or so you think, but the little exercise that you completed while working on this possible lead, may be the prep work for an idea that is soon to come in which you will be extremely involved and need the background work to be done in order for you to know where you are ultimately going with an idea. There is no such thing as wasted time in an artistic journey. All those little bits of sketches, colour tests, ideas jotted down and fleshed out, all these need to be saved in a binder, book or box to be looked at later in the process to see where they fit into the scheme of things. Do not ever toss away half completed works, scraps of paper that you wrote obscure words upon, or the collection or weird little doodles you do while waiting for an appointment. These little pieces are ideas waiting to be worked upon, fleshed out until they become a full story, a painting waiting to be painted on one, two or even three panels of canvas. You just never know where a thought or strange little doodle will take you. That is the fun in being creative, you find creativity in the most unlikely places. But, you have to be open to receiving those ideas and not rejecting them because they seem too mundane or too weird for even you to consider.
This year, I plan to try anything and everything that interests me. I may very well get some strange looks when I go into my art supply shop and purchase some items that seem out of the norm for a middle aged mixed media artist, but I am not going to let that bother me. I am going to run with my ideas, have some fun, devote some time and energy to creating something that will hopefully be of interest to others. But, as long as I am having fun and learning something about myself in the process, then the time is well spent. That is what is important and that is the message my muse has been trying to get through to me for the past year. I finally got it loud and clear, more importantly, I am going to listen to and heed the message. Maybe there is something deeper in it that I need to see or hear. I am willing to invest the time to find out what the message is and how it will relate to what I do. My artistic journey is one in which I learn a lot, get to work with different colours, textures, ideas. Every path I travel is a new adventure waiting to show me something important. I love this journey! I love that it is teaching me patience, perseverance and that trying something new is not always about it being successful the first time, that having to work on something two, three or even four times is not a waste of time, but time well spent learning what works and just as importantly, what does not work and hopefully why. Something that did not work may in turn lead me to discover something new to try in another piece of artwork. That is what is important in my journey, I am always learning something new. That is what makes my journey so enjoyable and so important to me. It definitely is not a waste of time, not even for a moment would I consider that and I hope that you do not think that either.
Let us make a deal - we shall both go down the pathway that our muse wants us to travel, try out what it is wanting us to try and then we can compare notes. It is my guess that we will be more than satisfied with what we try and may even get it to evolve into a very interesting piece of artwork. I am willing to give it a serious try for the entire year. And you my friend, will you join me on this adventure?