Sunday, 9 August 2009

My Muse - inspiration trois

Following on the theme of my inspirations, let's have a chat about the creative Muse.

I promise that this will be the last post in which I mention her for a while. It’s just that she is so narcissistic at the moment and, having been commented on favourably once this week, just wants all the attention. In another moment of serendipity (and they seem to be happening all over the place at the moment), I found this amazing YouTube link on Hybrid J’s blog. It’s well worth 20 minutes of your time.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert recounts her own experiences of creative block and the pressure that artists and writers put themselves under to create their next masterpiece.

She ponders the eternal question: Where does creativity come from? Is it a gift? Is a part of you or a mystic being that visits you from time to time, but only when it feels like it?

Fasten up your sandals and take a step back in time to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They believed that the spark was outside of you – and even named it. The Greeks referred to their creativity as a Daemon and the Romans, most interestingly, a Genius! She doesn’t mention the Geni in the lamp but surely this is linked too – after all it is the granter of wishes the creator of dreams come true.

Sometimes when I return to something I’ve written or created I almost don’t recognise it as something that came from me. Does that sound strange? I internally marvel at where the idea came from, the sentence structure, the ideas. I admit I only think this when it’s something I am particularly proud of. When it’s a pile of old pants I always seem only to willing to take ownership! Am I just not believing in myself or is there really a Daemon that takes over at the keyboard or picks up the paintbrush through me? What defines creativity? What makes one person say “I’m not creative” and yet gives another the freedom to take materials or words and just let go with them?

We’re all born with the survival instinct, but what about creativity? Does everyone have it but it just lies dormant? I heard another amazing quote here today - it went something along the lines of : If you give a four-year-old paper and crayons, you never hear them say 'I can't... I don't have any talent'. How true. To a child creativity=fun. This is something I have had to teach myself again as a grown up. A little reminder of youthful pleasures.
We are so afraid of embarassing ourselves. Putting our work on show. I don't care anymore though. I just blame my Muse now - she can bear the brunt of criticism and take the praise; my half of the deal is that I get all the fun! I entreat you all to do the same - go invite a Daemon or Genius into your lives and let them show you how it's done.

As Elizabeth Gilbert says: Just do your job. Turn up (and hope the Muse does too).

I’ve ordered a few books on the subject from those nice folk in the Amazon so no doubt I will be sharing a few more thoughts on the subject soon. Providing they ever arrive… seems like they are being paddled down the winding river, rather than employing a faster mode of transport. Ooh the frustration…

Illustration: My Muse posed for me here (or was she just perhaps painting a self portrait?). She's another of my 'colouring in' experiments from the pages of Vogue - mixed media and spot of smudging in Photoshop. I really should save the 'before' picture as well as the 'after'. You'd never guess she was once encumbered by a pile of over-sized soap lying atop of her. Remember kiddies - this technique is easy and fun. Just paint over your subject with gesso, then acrylic and oil pastel on top (other mediums are available!).


  1. I have always believed that we as humans are born with the creative urge. After all we are made in the image of the Great Creater. It is so sad that once we as childern are told how things are supposed to be. The sky is blue, grass is green, squirrels are brown.
    I remember angering a grade school "teacher" because I painted my sky red, the grass blue, and my squirrel was purple. She called my mother in for a conferance about my "problems". I was a deviant and refused to follow the "art rules".
    If our kids were left alone to develope their own style of creativity there would more art in the world and less stressed out people.
    Sometimes my art is from my Muse, and sometimes from My Daemon, but it is still all mine.
    Looking forward to hearing more on this from you.

  2. You muse is so seductive ... Well Done!

    I did a 6 months class at The School of Philosophy years ago. And one thing I learn from Indian Philosophy is this:

    One of the reasons why we are here is to witness "Creation".

    I'll be very interested to know what fantastic books you got from Amazon. :)

  3. Oh .... I've missed out below.

    Thanks for mentioning my blog in this post. ;)


Thank you for your comments - I always love to hear what you think :)

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