art & inspiration
“Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found. It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signals the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own.”
- Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
I admire really creative people. Christoph Niemann’s book, Abstract City came in the mail the other day and brightened my whole week. And Amy Krouse Rosenthal, you had me at
hello the yellow umbrella. Somehow she makes book promotion look fun. I love The Jealous Curator blog for her byline: “A collection of art that inspires and depresses me. I know it’s good when I’m thinking DAMN I WISH I’D THOUGHT OF THAT.” She isn’t afraid to use the word jealous over and over. And she’s introduced me to artists like Kate Pugsly. Pugsly reminds me a little of another artist I love, Maira Kalman. I wish I could capture the world the way she does. I envy the energy that artists and creative thinkers seem to have. My only muse these days is strong coffee.
I’m feeling a little short on creativity this month. Maybe it has to do with going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. Now that I think of it, January is usually when I start compulsively painting color over white walls or jabbing at the dimmer switches, convinced the light bulbs aren’t shining at full strength. This week I’ve been trying to think up ways to spark inspiration. So far, searching terms like sunshine, Matisse, lemons, and Italy on Pinterest hasn’t really worked. It did lead me to Femke , though, a blogger in Amsterdam with an aesthetic I love. This form of procrastination, I mean, research, is problematic because basking in someone else’s brilliant productivity is generally followed by envy. I’m jealous of anyone making the time to make art. But even if I had a room of my own to fill with color and images of travel and beauty, I wouldn’t have much time to sit alone being inspired. My laptop bag is so heavy it sets the passenger seat belt siren off every time I drive, and yet I haul it around everywhere, like Gollum, hoping for a few minutes alone with it. That’s my current reality, along with work and winter and a messy house. If I’m honest with myself, all my Internet searches for inspiration are just a pleasant way of robbing myself of writing time. I’d be better off to quit searching for beauty and admit that creating something of beauty takes work and time and the only way I’m going to get it is to take it when I can. In a section about reasons for writing in Dinty Moore’s book, The Mindful Writer, he quotes Stephen King: