‘What we are doing by making art is creating nesting places’ – Hyland Moon (2002)
This article is for your whimsical thoughts, dreams and aspirations: For generating ideas for a project, a new idea, developing a new technique. Finding inspiration is the beginning of your artist journey, or a wonderful refresher!
My studies in Art Psychotherapy have helped my approach to my art practice immensely; it has taught me to be patient and really think about what pleases me to make, rather than other people’s critique. This is a winning formulation for the early stages of developing an idea and finding inspiration.
The Blank Fog
If you hit a blank fog that you just feel you are unable to get through, pause. Now wouldn’t it be handy if you could reach for a kit of some kind, a trusty emergency box of things to inspire a burst of creative energy inside? Enter ‘The Shoe Box of Inspiration’: I read about this idea in a book, by the Art Therapist Pat B Allen. She writes about capturing inspiration in such a unique way, that I think we should all take a slice of it and keep it for ourselves:
“Ready your space with an empty shoe box without a lid. This is your reference file. A good way to ease into the image process or to participate in it when you have little time, is to feed your reference box. This means simply to collect images that interest you.” – Allen, P.B. (1995)
Capture the moment
We have all been there; when inspiration strikes, it is often at an inopportune moment. It could be whilst making a journey, in the middle of a conversation, at work, picking the children up from school… Every time you are inspired, or have that feeling of creativity – don’t loose it – capture it:
- Carry a small sketchbook/notebook around with you
- Tear out the magazine/newspaper page that has you so inspired
- Take a photo on your mobile phone
- Cut out/draw and keep a pattern or slice of fabric/object you have found
Collect, Collect, Collect
Whether it is an image of something you aspire to make or sketches you have made that you only like a tiny bit of, keep them all and add them to your box. Eventually they will all contribute to those moments when we need inspiration. Our memories can only hold so much, and it is wonderful to be able to revisit these pieces of inspiration.
Buy or Borrow A New Art Book
An old art tutor of mine gave me a wonderful piece of advice 14 years ago, that I have followed to this day: Treat yourself to a new art book once a month. To avoid the costly nature of this advice, I take myself of to a book shop, library or gallery once a month, accompanied by a hot cup of coffee and I sit and delve through art books/installations for an hour or so.
I make small sketches, notes or if in the library photocopies of images I like. It really helps to keep the imagination going. Don’t forget to include these in your box! The beauty of these processes are that they can be private, and there is something quite freeing about knowing that.
What Inspires You?
Creating a box of inspiration sounds like such a simple thing to do, but it really helps to identify what you like about art and your own personal making process. What inspires you? Feel free to email us with suggestions and we will share them on our Facebook page! Remember we are all unique, so is our art and that is something to be celebrated.
As always, wishing you creativity and wonder!
Author: Becca Scofield