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Monday, April 28, 2014

Finding Inspiration and the Creative process

A few weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends as well as fellow alumnae issued a challenge looking for three people to write about their creative process by answering three questions. Her original post on the matter can be found here on her blog Writing, writing, writing...what else is there?

I have attempted to answer these questions as set forth here. 


Q1 What are you working on?

At the moment my attention has been given not so much to an individual work as to the actual process itself.  For those of you that don’t know me, I have been experiencing an ongoing health crisis for more than two years. Chronic, often severe pain has sapped a great deal of both my physical and my creative energy.  At the moment I am focusing on healing to the best extent possible, and finding alternative sources of inspiration. At one time I might have gone for a long walk in the woods in a secluded section behind my sister’s property before coming home and either painting or writing. This avenue for the moment is not an option. I am now looking to both my friends for inspiration, as well as books, magazines, the internet, anything that might help me reconnect with the creative flow that at one time made me an extremely prolific painter.  Additionally I am making it a goal to write at least three pages in my personal journal. I have kept journals for more than thirty years, and have them on my shelf. They also at times provide both inspiration, and perspective on my current situation. When I do work in the studio, it is often animals or landscapes, rendered in bright, sometimes even psychedelic colors.  I believe this is because I am trying to find a brighter, more cheerful place than where I have been emotionally.  My writing still suffers from my physical problems, but I am hoping to come to a place of healing, and finally acceptance that will allow me to once again work.  

A large oak along the path I often walked to find inspiration 

Q2 How does my work differ from others of its genre?

When I paint y art is colorful, often straying away from traditional colors. I paint many animals, often in pinks, blues and violets that are both technically accurate yet surreally colored.  Both the landscapes and animal paintings often are painted on the surface, lacking depth. My paintings are there, almost demanding to be seen. 

As far as my writing is concerned, I often write from the first person. I find this the easiest way to convey my character’s emotions, yet often my readers believe that I am referring to myself.  One time I shared the opening of a story of a woman who had lost her mother, and was preparing to leave to make arrangements. A friend asked me if I was depressed.  Despite the misunderstanding that occurs in separating self and the written character, this is my preferred way of writing, although I have noted that in many writing journals this method is often discouraged. It has worked for me, though it may not work for everyone. Ultimately you need to make the choice of voice, and make it your own.

Q3: Why do you write (and paint) what you do?

From the time I was very young, I often found it very difficult to verbally articulate what was on my mind. I was a very shy child, and this became a source of grief for me as it became great sport to bully me when I was young.  Despite my difficulty in speaking my mind, and the belief of the teachers that I had some sort of reading difficulty, which I didn’t as I was reading books well ahead of my grade level by the time I was in second grade, I felt that there must be some way to convey my feelings that didn’t involve speech.   At first drawing, then painting, and finally writing became both my creative outlet, and my voice. When my mouth let me down, the written word and paintings didn’t. They both conveyed what I otherwise could not.

Q4: How does your writing/painting process work?

When I decide to paint or write, I prefer to be in a place where there are few distractions, preferably my studio, or other quiet place where I won’t be interrupted.  I like to play music, oftentimes classical is the preferred, but occasionally I will put it on a classic rock station, but not turned up loud.  When I paint I may stare at the canvas for a bit until I have formulated what is to be put upon the canvas. I might start out prepping the canvas with a rag dampened with turpentine, and dipped in one of the colors, or if I have an idea of what I want to paint, I will sketch it out first with a charcoal stick.

 When I write it is a bit different. I have already hammered out in my head what I want to convey, what a character is going to say and how they are going to interact. Oftentimes I have a very good rough sketch in my mind of how the piece of writing will flow.

In either case I may work an hour or two, often feverishly until the mood escapes me. It is rare that I can sustain the creative will longer. 

My Painting Studio


I must say that I have not been able to find anyone to pass this challenge on to. I accepted it because I needed to shake the creative “me” up, yet I am surprisingly left holding the proverbial bag.  If anyone would like to take the creative challenge and answer these questions, please let me know. I am looking for three creative individuals to pass the challenge on to.

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