Julia Cameron, in her book THE ARTIST'S WAY, suggests that we have periods of reading deprivation to become more creative. This, I have not been able to do with any degree of success. Why do we read so much? Why are the opinions and ideas of others so important to us? Why do we need to know how others feel about writing and painting or any other activity?

Do we read to justify, by comparison, our own way of looking at things. Is our own creative life so boring or uninteresting? Are we searching for answers in all the wrong places?

Escape or a thirst for knowledge? In my case, it's a little of both. I can lose myself in a good book, whether a novel, an art book, particularly art books; they take me to another time and place. I may be thirsting for something new to learn, new ways to do things. Or am I comparing my work to others? Do my paintings get an A or an F compared to what is published? Had I spent all the hours painting that I have spent reading and studying what other artists have done, would I be a better artist today? Maybe - maybe not. We do learn from each other and from those who have gone before us, but are we losing some of our own creativity by doing so?

I was taught early in my painting life to copy the old masters. Could this have instilled in me the idea that works of others were more important and better executed than anything I could do on my own? I wonder if this happens to other artists and performers who are insecure about their own abilities? Some continue to copy their entire lives.

Perhaps it's time to stop comparing what we do with others. We are all unique. We have our own song to sing, our own story to tell. Who knows, our song might be more melodious or our story better told than the ones we are imitasting. We can march to a different drummer. We can do our own thing, and our lives can be richer because of it.

I would like to believe that I have a "self" to express. Let's look inside ourselves for inspirsation. Let's not be an imitation of life. Let's strive to be a life to imitate.

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Comment by Lyndon Baxter on November 25, 2010 at 0:01
Something that people often forget is that the "old masters" were at some time in the same position as we are ... they weren't born "old masters" and suffered from the same insecurities that we mere mortals have and had to rise above their limitations, self-imposed or otherwise.
I'm with you Marie, let our selves shine out and ignore what other people may think.
Comment by Bernadett Budavári on September 5, 2010 at 20:46
Dear Peni, I also did Morning pages for a while during a difficult time of my life. It was very therapeutic. Just have to make sure that your inner censor keeps his mouth shut :-) and you just write whatever comes to mind with no holding back about anything. Paralell with writing, I found some good spiritual writings as well that helped me lot.
Comment by Peni Baker on September 5, 2010 at 3:13
Boy do I need all of that advise. I havn't really had control of my own life for a good 4 yrs now. Others did that for me. (Long unessasary story). I've been painting beautiful paintings so that I could stay busy filling this big deep dark hole of lonelyness. Great paintings but for the wrong reason. I know that it will all work out in my best interest at some point. And I think that this knowledge of "The Morning Pages" sounds like a really "get back to myself" idea. Thank you very much. I just posted a painting called "Early Morning" The morning pages sounds like a name for a painting also.
Comment by Marie Pinschmidt on September 5, 2010 at 2:57
Carole, I'm not doing it as religiously as I used to, but I'm doing a lot of "other" writing. Now you've encouraged me to get back into the routine. I have less frustration to put on the pages since my life is more stress free. As an aside - it's much cheaper than psychiatric fees! Let me know how it works for you.
Comment by Marie Pinschmidt on September 5, 2010 at 2:51
Absolutely, Peni. If possible, when you first get up in the morning, before doing anything else, write three pages in a "cheap" notebook about whatever comes into your mind - your random thoughts - don't hold back, just write to free your mind. Let off steam on the page! Don't let anyone see what you've written. After a period of time go back and read what you've written and you will see the things that have been interfering with your creativity. Then tear up your notes if you feel it is unwise to keep them. This really works. After I started doing this, I found myself being more creative in every part of my life. I suppose you could say it's a cleansing way to free up your creativity. It also helps you let go of the things you can't change - past hurts, mistakes, etc.
Good luck to you. (If you can't do it in the early morning before you start your day, find your next best time.)
Comment by Peni Baker on September 5, 2010 at 2:30
can someone tell me what the "morning pages" are
Comment by Carole Russell on September 5, 2010 at 2:19
Wow - 3 books - blimey - just got me painting but hey - however it get you! I too wrote the morning pages for a long time - haven't done it for ages -- maybe I should return to it and read it again
:):)
Thank you for the paintings critique too
Comment by Marie Pinschmidt on September 5, 2010 at 1:15
Carole, thanks for writing. The Artists Way has changed many lives. The most useful tip for me was writing the morning pages which led to the publishing of my three novels and many essays. BTW I love your paintings. Keep those brushes dancing!
Comment by Carole Russell on September 4, 2010 at 21:02
I have read this book - I found the most useful tip (I can remember) is to fill up your well - i.e. see and experience new things to stimulate your creatvity on a regular basis - a trip to a gallery, a day in the country etc
Comment by Marie Pinschmidt on August 14, 2010 at 0:20
Thanks, Bernadett, for your comments. You sound like a true artist. Keep those juices flowing.

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