Recently, in one of our little free libraries, the book fairy left a copy of Julia Cameron's Inspirations: Meditations From The Artist's Way. Small (4x6) but mighty, this little book is full of inspirational gems. I randomly opened the book this morning to see what was calling me.
"Life is what we make of it. Whether we conceive of an inner God force or another, outer God, doesn't matter. Relying on that force does. "Ask and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened to you..." These words are among the more challenging ones ascribed to Jesus Christ. They suggest the possibility of scientific method: ask (experiment) and see what happens (record the results). This can be done with our art.
I'm sure I'm not alone as an artist who struggles with getting started. No matter what your chosen vehicle of art, we all hit those dreaded pot holes. For me, I've got the Boston Marathon of ideas running through my head pretty much every day. The challenge comes when I keep the ideas in my head instead of translating them in to viable projects. I admit that fear of making mistakes prevents me from moving forward much of the time. What am I afraid of really? Not being perfect according to the vision in my head? What if I feel like I wasted my time with an end result that turns out completely aweful? After reading the above quote, I was reinforced with the truth that no great art was ever created without experimentation and action. So what if my experimenting doesn't turn out so well? I can start over again or maybe I'll stumble upon a fantastic technique through a mistake.
This morning I allowed myself to play again. I pulled out all of my bits and pieces of found objects and ephemera. What's the use in having mason jars stuffed with quirky goodness and drawers filled with fantastic scraps of old sheet music and odd finds if I don't ever use any of it? I let myself experiment without any preconceived notions of how it should turn out. I am recording my resuts. My studio room is messy but I'm happy and I can't wait to get to the next piece.