Week End Inspiration–Get Physical

Screen shot 2013-12-07 at 9.41.03 AM

“Stop talking.  Start walking.”  L.M. Heroux  (from Skinnyartist.com)

New research is proving that the best way to get the creative juices flowing is regular participation in exercise.  Making time for a regular walk may be just the ticket to new inspiration.  Walking clears the head and starts the flow of endorphins.  Everybody loves endorphins.   Endorphins are those hormones that people dream of having more of.  Endorphins are happy hormones!  For more endorphins, get up and get moving.

The Telegraph has the story (here).  Research recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience reveals people who exercise regularly are able to perform better on cognitive tests.  However, the findings also showed that going for a onetime bout of strenuous exercise won’t do it and may actually make things worse.  The point is to exercise on a regular basis.  The researchers recommend regular exercise at least four times a week.

Taking a look at what other artists are doing for inspiration will likely reveal that many participate in regular exercise.  If not into regular exercise, now is a good time to start.  Just don’t overdo it in the beginning.  Make a plan to get into the habit of walking or running regularly.  If already into walking or running and not finding inspiration it may be time to mix it up a bit.   If the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor walk or run and the treadmill is the only option, go to the beach in the imagination.

Hanging a photo of the beach up in front of the treadmill can enable the mind to go there.  Each step on the treadmill can be imagined as sinking into the sand along the water’s edge. Feel the water on bare feet.  Smell the salt in the air. Hear the waves as they crash bringing fresh inspiration on the tide.  Every crash of the wave is new inspiration flowing into the soul.  With each step along the imagined beach, more endorphins will flow.  As the endorphins flow, so do the creative juices.  So what are you waiting for?  Get walking!

The Breathing Heart

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”  William Wordsworth (from Becoming Minimalist.com)Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 10.27.02 AM

Why do we start blogs?  Ask that question and many answers will pop up.  The most popular are to make money or to promote a business.  But a funny thing happens along the way.  The heart starts to get into it.  The people that become a part of the community interacting with a blog start to become personally meaningful. The blog content begins to focus on who these people are and why.

A popular blogger, Cristian Mihai, answers the questions of his popularity on a post for The Daily Post at WordPress.  Mihai says he began his blog to gain audience for his books and was determined to make a go of it.  Along the way he made some discoveries. Of one such discovery, he states, “If every post you write means something to you, it’ll undoubtedly mean something to other people, too.”  And secondly, he believes consistency is vital.  Make a regular post and stay with it.  But follow the heart.

Penny Howe in her blog, The Why About This, has a post entitled, “What do we do next, we bloggers, we artists, we people?’  When the heart has begun the process of making a daily foray into the blog post, what next?  Howe says make a plan of action.  Plan the next moves based on what the heart has revealed.  If the goals from the blog’s beginning have changed, take a look at the new goals and arrange the plan of action around the new goals.  But first determine what those goals are.

“The best recommendations are still found in the personal realization that blogging changes you,” writes Joshua Becker in Becoming Minimalist.  Becker says blogging not only changes your life, it changes the life of the reader as well.  He believes writing a blog will inspire others, and the writer in the process.

In making the plan of action, advocated by Penny Howe, perhaps a look at the heart of the matter is at hand.  Self- promotion or business promotion may have been the initial reason but as the heart began to speak more openly and coherently, the reason possibly changed.  As the heart begins to breath, encourage it to continue.  Breathing is a good thing.

Panic Aversion

“The object isn’t to make art, but to be in that wonderful state that makes art inevitable.”-Robert Henri (from Skinnyartist)Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 10.50.59 AM

The search for inspiration can be a never- ending battle.   Nothing is working.  The feeling can range from confusion to panic.  What if you never get your inspiration back?  Where do you turn?  Listening to what other artists say from their own experiences is frequently helpful.

Artist Issac Julien is quoted in The Guardian as saying “It is important for inspiration to go elsewhere.”  He further goes on to suggest getting out of the city, going to places of tranquility.   Being out in nature and away from the bombardment of the over stimulation of the city gives the brain a chance to think without the constant backdrop of the cacophony of traffic, people, hustle and bustle.  In the peace and quiet of being out in nature, it is easier to hear what your brain is telling you.

For people who already live and work outside cities, the opposite action may be of benefit.  Go into a city.  Listen to the sights and sounds.  Watch the people.  Absorb the energy of the constantly moving atmosphere of city life.  Artist, Susan Phillipsz from the same Guardian article, states “always have something to write with.”  Taking notes or sketching what you see may bring on renewed energy.

And if these ideas don’t work, Artpromotivate has an article “20 Creative Ideas for Art Inspiration.”   I have written quite a bit about this subject lately because it happens to me and I have a tendency to go off in too many directions at once to try to get that inspiration back.  I go into an inspiration panic instead of following the wisdom of other artists who have also been there.  At times I have followed both directions suggested by these two artists, going into the city and going into nature.  Nature seems to work better for me but I have occasionally found the city helpful as well.  The point is to stop the panic and seek a change in scenery.

A Heart Falls in the Woods

“Art is Literacy of the heart”—Elliot Eisner

The heart speaks through art as any artist can attest but do others always hear?  Does it matter as long as the heart speaks?  Artists are driven to continue to speak whether anyone is listening or not.  Does it matter to the artist whether or not his/her heart is heard?  Is the point to give voice to the heart and not worry about whom, if anyone, is listening? No.

As long as an artist can make art, that is vital.  However, when you have worked so hard to give the heart a voice, it becomes important to follow through and also make a way for that voice to be heard.  The art is not complete until its voice has been heard.  Frequently, for whatever reason, we neglect this part of the art equation.  The heart is speaking.  We must see that it gets heard.

Photographer Tom Kostas states, “Art and poetry have revealed more to me than any other field of study I have encountered, including philosophy, in my life.”  What is revealed from the heart through art is important to pass on, to share.

Helping the heart get heard can be difficult for some artists, especially if introverted.  Perhaps that makes it even more important to find a way to get heard.  Does the heart break if we don’t carry the work all the way through to the end result of being heard?  Art made in isolation and not put out for others to experience is like the tree that falls in the woods.  Does it make a sound if no one is listening?  Thoughts anyone??

Hear more from Dr. Elliot Eisner:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h12MGuhQH9E