Artful Inspiration

Artful Inspiration

This winter was hard.

It was great, but it was also the hardest I've worked in a long time.

I bit off way more than I could chew with a couple large commissions and a short deadline. I jumped, and built my wings on the way down, as they say. I learned so much, and I was happy with the result, but the time crunch and relative lack of creative freedom depleted my well. I have so many ideas I need to express, but I wasn't able to make the art that *I* wanted to make for almost three months, and that part was a bit soul-sucking. It's all part of the learning process this first year - what it all takes, and where I need to give myself some leeway next time!

Before I jump back into painting, my therapist suggested I "fill up my bucket." So I've been contemplating the non-painting aspects of being an artist and replenishing my creative spirit this week.

Being outside is invaluable for me. So I spent a lot of time outside this week. This time of year is my favorite, when the air is crisp and clean and the landscape is stark. I love being able to see little juncos and wrens hopping around in the skeletal cages of leafless bushes. I enjoy prodding through damp leaf litter, searching for earthworms and roly polies. When most of the green is gone, it makes the rest of the "boring" colors so much richer. There's a host of chestnuts and rusts and ochres and umbers that make themselves known in the hedgerows and ditches. Hidden details come forward: spiky rosehips and round white berries, or gooey orange witch's butter fungus.

I also spent some time out among people. Usually I'm not into crowds, but after weeks of hunching over paintings by myself in my studio, I needed some face time. There's nothing quite like having some fancy avocado toast and a cappuccino in the window of a busy cafe, is there? I spent a day in one of my favorite seaside towns, and it was pretty much perfect. It was a typical NW winter day -- if a bit unseasonably warm -- it rained, it shone, the wind blew. I walked along the little beach and picked up pretty rocks. I found a batch of squid eggs - one of my best tidal finds! I window shopped, and bought art supplies and books and plants. I watched people going about their days.

Even though I'm not necessarily going to paint about these things, they take my mind off of what needs to be done and provide experiences and feelings to hearken back to when I need them.

 How do you get artful inspiration or refill your bucket? Let me know in the comments below!

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