Journey of Inspired Thought
As 2015 drew to a close, I was in a whirl of crafting and baking for Christmas. Creative painting, on the other hand, was neglected. An empty canvas, which sat on my easel staring out at me usually was enough to spark my imagination. Yet, inspiration was giving me the silent treatment. Then, a photo taken on a whale watching trip in June came into clear focus as painting potential…but “can I do it?” still nagged me into inaction.
In Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way Every Day”, she writes this excerpt for February 7th: “Out of the notion “I Can” comes the next thought: “I think I will.” The impulse is playful. It is an impulse born of pure faith. The artist has a vision and that vision includes the successful completion of the art he has in mind.”
So I moved into the “I think I will” mode. The photo was of my brother watching dolphins at a ship’s rail, which I playfully dubbed “Old Man and The Sea”. On January 5, 2016, he turned 75 and the desire to honor this milestone was enough to finally turn an idea into action and restore the “I can” to my psyche. I don’t really do portraits of people I know – if I do paint any faces, they are mostly made up out of my imagination in other-worldly, fairy-like or visionary images. I was due for a good challenge and rather pleased with the results–at least everyone knew it was him without a doubt!
Slow Start Firing Up The Passion in 2016
Julia Cameron states: “Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back.” And…“A creative recovery is a healing process.”
2016 – My desire was to start this new year off in a whirl of inspiration, but instead I seemed to have muddled through all of January, not producing much or finding that the ideas sifting themselves in my brain fizzled before they had a chance to blossom. Then seemingly out of the blue, I plunged into producing three challenging paintings in a clump of creativity that just burst out of the inner me. I love it when that happens! In the process I am inspired back to this blog, which I have woefully neglected. (I still have plans to revamp this website. I hope to make that a reality in the next few months.)
Recently I had picked up “Cezanne, His Life and Works in 500 Images” at the library, absorbing the feeling of his work. I am drawn to how he portrays serenity and strength. I often look to masters of his era to inspire me and teach when I feel stuck. All artists have dry periods. Try to see it not as a detriment, but a fertile void filled with potential. Many times, journal writing jump starts the process. When I feel a restlessness within the void, I know some creative potential is about to be born – that intuitive spark that fires us up again.
Three of the paintings that grew out of my January void reflect what pulled me at the moment in February. The first of these is an adaption of a photo of Cali & Co dance team called “Emergence into HERE”, inspired by their production of “Be Here Now”. My intent is to portray the surprise of emerging from the cosmos into consciousness of HERE.
This meditative scene from a walk along the Russian River with my daughter, is inspired by two photos strung together to show a bucolic stretch of river. My personal challenge was to portray the feeling of serenity in nature we both experienced.
Sometimes even a fashion magazine inspires a theme for a painting, especially if you don’t have access to a live model. The inspiration for “Study in Blue” came from an ad for artistic tile. A few months back, I took a 3-day workshop on fashion drawing to help improve my skills in figures. This painting was a fun challenge for me to capture a pose, muscles and skeletal structure of the model. The blue skin makes her unique and I love the drama of it.
I have given myself enough successful challenges to keep wanting to push for more. Each painting allows growth into more. Painting in joy and a sense of playfulness brings the best results. If I find myself struggling with a painting, I leave it until I find that inner flow again.
May your creative path for 2016 lead you on an exciting path of self-discovery and expression. Take the road less traveled and see what it reveals to you.
© Maria Doglio, February 2016
References and thanks to the authors and artists:
- The Artist’s Way Every Day, by Julia Cameron
- Cezanne, by Susie Hodge
- Cali & CO dance/Matt EL, collaborative modern dance and music; www.calidance.info