Moving the muse.


What do you do when you feel like the muses have deserted you and your inspiration has left for parts unknown?


Someone wrote to me recently who was facing this problem. I’m not an expert, but it got me thinking about the subject.


What to do may depend a little on what’s behind the lack of inspiration.


There is an aphorism, ‘A person with a tooth ache cannot be in love’. It is true, if you are in pain, it is difficult to focus on other people or things.  If you are going through a hard time and that is taking all your attention and energy away from the art you wish you were creating, it may be what you are facing will need to be dealt with before you can feel inspired again.  Knowing this is temporary can help. Inspiration hasn’t deserted you, it is just giving you the space and time to focus and deal with other important issues.


Lack of inspiration could be a symptom of boredom. If that is the source, the solution would be to try something new. Create a challenge of some kind, perhaps to master a new technique or subject.


A fear of failure will also make the muses run and hide. If you have a thought at the back of your mind when you pick up a brush you should produce a work of art, something stunning every time, that’s a lot to live up to, impossible in fact.  Put aside the major works for a while. Give yourself permission to play and have plan to have some fun with paint, without any expectations. Guaranteed, it won’t be long before your muse returns.


I suspect the muses need to be fed and nurtured too. Art books, visits to galleries and exhibitions, and time spent with other artists all help.


Great artists inspire by showing what’s possible and by their achievements set high standards to aim for. Artists whose work you don’t admire encourage by setting a standard that you know you can surpass.  It’s comforting to think you are not the worst painter in the world.


 When you’re feeling uninspired, what have you found that gets you moving and feeling creative again? Any ideas?



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Comment by Richard Rogers on March 3, 2014 at 2:37

Good plan Ann. We're so fortunate to have so much good food available, with what's on line, books, DVDs and workshop. By the way, I liked both versions of your sunlit cliffs. I thought it was pretty good even before you 'fixed' it


Comment by Ann Turner on March 2, 2014 at 21:34

Thank you for posting Richard. I've been in a discouraged place concerning my painting. I guess I'll just have to feed my muse something nice and fattening.

Comment by Richard Rogers on February 21, 2014 at 22:45

Thanks for your thoughts Jon. 

Comment by Jon Main on February 21, 2014 at 8:05

Hi, Richard, my take on it is that, once you get into the habot of painting regularly, you just do it, because even when you're not inspired you get pleasure out of translating what you're seeing into a graphic interpretation - and the bottom line is that neither the amateur (who must be motivated to keep going to learn and improve), or ther professional (who must keep going to earn a living) can 'afford' to stop - except when you need a well-deserved break, of course :)


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