How to Let Flashes of Inspiration Come

24 Sep 2012

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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