Plus some scenes from around the studio.
I spent most of the weekend in the studio – painting, writing, creating. Completely engrossed in the paintings and projects before me. Flowing between paintings and projects and journaling and enquiry.
Not every weekend is like this, though I wish it was! Not every painting session goes so beautifully. And that got me to wondering.
Where do our ideas come from?
I was listening to one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talks last week, where she spoke on a similar topic. On artists and writers and creatives and the pressure they feel when it comes to finding their creative ideas. Their creative genius.
After the mega success of her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert went looking for models and ideas that different cultures and societies use to help creatives manage the inherent emotional risks of creativity.
And what she found was that:
“People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons. The Greeks famously called these divine attendant spirits of creativity “daemons.” Socrates, famously, believed that he had a daemon who spoke wisdom to him from afar.
The Romans had the same idea, but they called that sort of disembodied creative spirit a genius. Which is great, because the Romans did not actually think that a genius was a particularly clever individual. They believed that a genius was this, sort of magical divine entity, who was believed to literally live in the walls of an artist’s studio, kind of like Dobby the house elf, and who would come out and sort of invisibly assist the artist with their work and would shape the outcome of that work.” (Source: Ted.com)
This is an idea she’s alluded to in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear as well. And it’s an idea that does seem to make a lot of sense, you know?
Click on the image to view the story 😉
Dancing with The Muse
Think about it. As creatives, most of us do believe in The Muse. Writers and singers often wait for inspiration from their muse, artists find their muse in people and places.
All of these are outside of the self – outside of the artist. A person or a place that inspires the artist to pick up her paints and create; an idea that seems to come into our head, fully formed, and if we aren’t quick enough to catch it, disappears like the mists of Avalon.
I should know. It’s happened to me more times than I can count. Fully formed paragraphs of luminous beauty that disappear if I’m not quick enough to catch them.
So why, then, do we put all the pressure of creativity on ourselves?
Maybe all that we need to do is show up. To put butt in chair and work. Some days will be disastrous. Some days we may wrangle something beautiful. And then, one day, our genius….our Muse…our daemon….may catch us while we are working, and we may dance together!
Have you ever danced with The Muse?