Creating WorkLife of an Artist

A Touch of Inspiration and a Pinch of Creation

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from? Variations on those questions are familiar to all artists. They’re also incredibly difficult to answer as it’s rare that you can point to something as the one and only definitive source which fed your creativity.

Notebooks of Ideas
I keep notebooks of ideas and I’ve a lot more than I should admit to.

The mind is a wonderful, complex and fascinating thing, but it can also be puzzling and obscure. I have created work that I have no idea where the idea came from. Honestly not a clue. Zip. Nadda. Drawing a complete blank. I’m not alone in this either. Some people say that there are no original ideas (usually academics in my experience) but if you honestly can’t work out where it came from then surely there is an argument for it be original.

Or perhaps its a case of most of the idea might not be original but the way you do it is? I mean Van Gogh certainly wasn’t the first painter to paint sunflowers, but he was the first to do it exactly in that way.

There is also the aspect of the creation of the work beyond the initial idea. This is where your artistry and skill comes into play in the creation of the idea, the vision. Essentially having the idea is often the easy bit, the starting point of hours, weeks, month or even years of work before you reach the ‘end project’. Personally, I like that part, working out how to move from something living purely in your mind to a finished project. The more adventurous the project the bigger the puzzle I need to solve to get me from the idea to the end.

Princess Pebbles on one of our 'working out problems by walking in the woods' trips.
Princess Pebbles on one of our ‘working out problems by walking in the woods’ trips.

Different artists have different working practices for this. Mine? Hmm… it varies but inevitably it involves experimentation, new skills and long conversations with Princess Pebbles (also know as Madame Woof) about just about every aspect. Fortunately for me, she’s a good listener, happy to listen to ramblings for hours, everything from the grand concept to the nitty-gritty details. I do believe my husband is also happy about her listening skills as it means he doesn’t have to listen to my mad ideas quite so much. Perhaps I should credit her as a collaborative partner? Maybe pay her in doggie treats, she’d like that.

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