ORIGINAL WORKS OF ART ON CANVAS BY LAURA SWINK
7 Steps to Harnessing the Power of Inspiration
WOW - you can do that in a few steps?
The short answer is NO - but read on, it’s not so esoteric that you can’t develop the skill behind real inspiration.
As an artist, I get asked two very common, seemingly easy questions. “Tell me about your process and from where do you get your inspiration?”
The easy way to get through these questions is to simply provide a quick list of tangible things that the listener can understand, but it really doesn’t give them the complete picture of what it is and how it happens.
To simplify it, I am going to make the proverbial “list” of how it works and hopefully, this is something that anyone can apply to become better at just about anything. Be prepared, however - this kind of thing takes commitment, so here we go:
1. Inspiration is NOT something that happens in a “Eureka” moment.
Yes, we all love these stories, but it just doesn’t happen this way. Chuck Close, a rather well known artist says “Inspiration is for amateurs, don’t wait around for it - show up and get to work.”
2. Show up and get to work!
Chuck Close was absolutely correct when he said this, I can’t tell you how happy I was when I read it because it supports my position that Inspiration is a skill that needs to be developed. The most important thing you can do is to show up and start working, if it’s going to be terrible work, then embrace and learn from it - burn it later if you have to, but work and work everyday.
3. Your understanding of “The Process”
Everyone has a different way of working, which is why artists are asked about their process all the time. You can harness inspiration and take advantage of it when you begin to understand the process of how you work. Break it down, turn it over in your head. Things happen as you work, glorious things and you need to be able to recognize them as they do. This is good because ____ this is not because ______ .
Get into the habit of working - to a point where you notice it missing when life forces you to be doing something else. I developed a time very early in the morning when I sit down with my work - some mornings I paint, some mornings I have lengthy conversations in my head (see #3) about my work. Maintaining a good work habit is essential to the skill of inspiration. Your mind needs to have some structure where it will use that to weave new things, and create new thoughts.
IN 1995 - Graduated with a degree in Fine Arts: Bachelor of Music, Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, Associates of Art and Design, Lakeland College.
IN 2007, 2008, 2009 - Publishied as a contributing designer in magazines such as: Bead Trends, and Bead and Button Magazine.
IN 2010 - Artist Interview for "Incisive Brain" e-magazine,
read the article at this link:
No one is in love with routine, but the reality is - having routine for all the boring stuff in your life will help you to purge the stress that comes along with it. This is important. I find that I cannot create when I am mentally drained, so I don’t even try. Get a hold of time management, place the boring things into quick routines and then it is easy to make blocks of time to set aside for creation - and then re-read #2 and #4.
6. Maximize your creative “downtime”
The reality is that we cannot always be working because sometimes you are sitting in a doctor’s office waiting to be called, or it’s evening and you are just too tired to do anything other than vegetate on the couch. It happens. Make the best of these times and find a way to still be “in the zone” when you are just at rest. I find that scanning art boards on Pinterest is very helpful - it allows me to see how other artists use shape, color and composition and videos, I love videos… I learn from them, I fill my brain with “things to chew on” when I’m not working. It will add up, but only if you make a habit out of it.
7. Lastly: write about your work.
Now this is very important if you happen to be a visual artist - being able to put your process into tangible words will help you pin down what it is that inspires you. It’s not just about “I used this paint with this brush and this medium.” It’s more about your thoughts as you worked, how did you internalize the subject? Why did you choose this over that? Write, and write often. Make your viewer understand what moves you, or what it is that you want them to see.
To quickly sum it all up: Inspiration happens as a result of developing your skills, learning to control your medium, and the effects of the processes on it. Working leads to habit, habit leads to the understanding of the process, understanding the process leads to discovery and DISCOVERY is the soul of Inspiration. Maximizing your downtime and writing about your work helps you to pull it all together. So forget waiting for “Eureka” show up and get to work.
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