How to Let Flashes of Inspiration Come

Swimming in the ocean of life, so to speak, it sometimes feels as though we must use every bit of energy to keep our heads above the waves. Over many years we have developed some techniques that help us to shed the heavy seaweed and barnacles of the daily thoughts that occupy our minds, and step onto the shore where our creative minds can play.

Peace on the River by John Hulsey, oil painting.
Peace on the River by John Hulsey, oil painting.

I imagine that to most people, artists are able to simply tap into their creativity as one would turn on a tap for water–always available at a moment’s notice.  Anyone in the creative field knows that artistry must be cultivated, practiced, and exercised regularly if it is to thrive and prosper, much like an athlete must slowly build up ability in order to reach the Olympics. Art needs space and time to grow, and so, many of us have created spaces, little corners in the house or full-fledged studios where we can shut out the traffic of life and give voice to our inner worlds. We have found that these physical spaces, whether large or small, are absolutely essential to the practice of art-making.

Inspiration can come from simply diving into our work–whether pencil sketch drawing, writing or shaping clay. Many times, it is this intensely occupied conscious mind that allows the creative insights of the subconscious to bubble up to the surface. When that happens, it is often described as a “flash” of inspiration, but in reality is the natural result of creating the proper environment, both physically and mentally, for our creative minds to do their job.

So how does one make the mind quit worrying about bills or family and turn to peaceful, creative thoughts, just like that? Much like the practice of meditation, it takes a disciplined regular schedule and lots of practice. There are so many distractions and details of living to attend to that the mind can get overwhelmed by the clamoring thoughts that can easily drown out the quiet messages from deep within. We must develop a positive mental attitude towards ourselves and our work, and shut out those nagging thoughts of inadequacy or public indifference, maintaining at the same time, the ability to see our work clearly and objectively in order to grow as artists. As in all good things, balance seems to be the key.

Please join us on The Artist’s Road for more interesting articles, interviews and step-by-step painting demonstrations.

–John and Ann

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John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.