Inspiration is for Amateurs…

original oil painting on canvas in progress

Healing Heart, oil painting on canvas, 12 x 12', work in progress

I hope the title of this blog doesn’t sound mean, but it’s true! I wish I could remember who originally said this. I heard the quote in an interview with Mos Def and he quoted someone else as saying it. Of course, now I cannot find the interview at all.

This quote resonated with me quite loudly. When I started out as an artist, I would go months at a time without making a single piece of art. My reasoning was pretty straight forward, “I haven’t had any inspiration”. As the years went on, I realized that if I was serious about being a professional artist, I was going to have to create new work with or without inspiration. I couldn’t just coast along for 6 months to a year without creating something new. That was no way to make a living as an artist.

original needlepoint design painting

Heart Love needlepoint design, work in progress

Now I know, whether or not I am inspired, I have to treat my art making like a job. This is my career after all. There is a work schedule I follow. I must spend time painting everyday. I will be the first to admit, I don’t always follow my own rule! Some days other things get in the way of creating. Most often it has nothing to do with inspiration, it has to do with business. Blogging, updating my website, posting new photos, packing up orders, shipping, framing. There are a lot of things involved in being an artist that have nothing to do with painting. I can still have periods of up to 6 months with no inspiration in sight. But this doesn’t mean I don’t still show up in my studio to work! What most often happens, I will start working on a painting and inspiration will strike in the middle of it all. Action is the best instigator of inspiration. Some days nothing good comes out of these sessions, some days my best work comes out!

My advice for artists who are struggling with a lack of inspiration, get the paints out and work anyway! You never know what might just trigger a new idea, sometimes just a blob of paint on a white canvas can do it for you!

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3 responses to “Inspiration is for Amateurs…

  1. Such great advice Paula! I wouldn’t be surprised if Mos Def was quoting Chuck Close as I said on your facebook page – “Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work.” Chuck AND Mos Def are mos def pretty amazing creators. I would pay attention to advice from either of them when it comes to living a creative life! And yours, of course. 😉

  2. Pingback: Practically painted itself! | Paula Manning-Lewis

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