Saturday 16 September 2023

The Inspiration Myth: How to be a Creative Conqueror

Have you ever found yourself waiting for that elusive moment of inspiration when a brilliant idea will strike like lightning? You may ask or even beg your muse, which possesses the power to awaken even the sleepiest of senses and set your creative soul on fire, to please pay a visit. Or, you quietly hope she'll just show up unannounced, infusing you with a surge of optimism and enthusiasm. Hmmm, you are not alone, and it can happen, but it's somewhat romantic.

Sure, there are those rare instances when inspiration does strike like a bolt of lightning, but these awe-inspiring moments of creative genius can be a bit like finding a unicorn.

The truth is, inspiration comes from doing. If we want to be prolific artists, we have to make lots of art, whether our creative bird is in residence or not. Most of the time, she'll flutter in once we start spreading those creative wings. Of course, there will be days when the muse has taken an extended vacation, and that's okay. It might be a sign to take a break, explore different avenues, or indulge in a Netflix binge. As we grow as artists, we learn to understand and listen to our own creative spirit and respect that the ebbs and flows are a necessary part of the process. 

Ask any seasoned artist, and they'll tell you that the act of creating is what generates ideas and inspiration. It's putting pen to paper, brush to canvas, or fingers to keyboard that opens the channel to creative flow.  

However, rest is also important. According to Writer and artist Tim Kreider, 'idleness is necessary for productivity. Taking a break and doing nothing gives our brains a chance to sift through data, make connections, and creatively problem-solve using our unconscious mind.' 

Neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman posted, well everywhere, 'Neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to change & learn, is a two-part process: 

  1. Learning is triggered by focused attention, especially to novel, emotionally laden or otherwise meaningful events. 
  2. Actual brain rewiring occurs during sleep, and other forms of deep rest.'

I'm not sure if Netflix counts as deep rest, but I think I will go with it. To get back to art and us creatives - inspiration is a byproduct of action and rest.  Every painting can't be a masterpiece, some you'll be super proud of, others, you'll want to disown.  Loads of my work ended up in the trash, some I even burned (I'm not advocating torching your work). Yet with persistence (and rest 😉) we hone our craft and learn to navigate the ups and downs of inspiration and lack of.   

Having said all that, we can nudge our inspiration along. Below are some of the places I find inspiration. I hope they will help you towards your own ideas. Making a list can be really helpful.

Inspirational Ideas

  • Nature: Flowers, leaves, and gnarly tree bark catch my eye and I take photos for reference
  • Movies: Especially those with psychological depth or moral dilemmas
  • Comedy: We all need a good laugh. Comedy inspires me to add humour and joy to my work
  • Humans: I'm fascinated by how we think and feel. I read a lot of psychology articles  
  • The Media: What’s going on in the world, socio-political issues and injustices that can fuel and infuriate 
  • Women: Inspiring women, activists, artists   
  • Stories: Fact, fiction fantasy
  • History: The tales of triumph and struggle 
  • Technology: The world of tech and AI both fascinates and terrifies

Where The Wild Things Grow 

The inspiration for the painting above came from my ongoing research into the psychology of self-worth and the symbolism found in nature. The message is to dream big, even if we're feeling small and the flowers represent feminity, growth and transformation.

Thanks for reading until the end. If this post has sparked your inspiration, please consider leaving a comment or sharing the love by clicking on one of the social buttons below.

Have an incredible weekend, filled with inspiration, or have an inspirational weekend, filled with the incredible.

Janee x 

Jane E Porter is a fine artist and illustrator from Scotland, dedicated to exploring and understanding the fascinating interplay between art, psychology and philosophy. As she navigates her own search for meaning, she shares insights and observations made over the past two decades with a delightful mix of wit and wisdom. Join her as she continues her journey, delving into these themes, offering you fresh perspectives and insights on art, identity and storytelling.


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