Gathering Inspiration - detail

Gathering Inspiration - detail

That's what I'm interested in: the space in between, the moment of imagining what is possible and yet not knowing what that is. Artist, Julie Mehretu

Currently I am in between creative projects and experiencing inspirational emptiness. My memoir is done (Painting Life) and will be published in November. I have also finished a series of drawings that I thoroughly enjoyed doing, but now my inspiration has dried up.

The Buddhists say it is important to sit with the emptiness, but for me, that’s the hardest thing to do. I become impatient with myself.  I crave for inspirations to arise out of nothing.

Often I look at the process of designing a painting to provide symbolic lessons.  When I do a painting, I know that the negative spaces are often the most powerful -- even though at first glance they don’t appear significant. Yet, these empty spaces contain important subtle information. For example, in a landscape painting, the background, which is called the negative space, informs us of the context of the subject matter.  In Van Gogh’s “Cypresses”, the negative space lets us know that it is a cloudy day, and probably morning or early evening, because we can see the crescent moon.  Thus, the “empty” space gives the cypress trees a context. 

It is much the same way in life. The negative spaces, or the emptiness in between projects, provides us with the time and energy to fill up with information. I liken it to the spiritual process, for as the author Anne Lamott says, “I go to church every Sunday, which is like going to the gas station once a week and really, really filling up.” 

We need to find our own gas stations to refuel our creative juices.

I believe it was Picasso, who described the process of making art, as filling up, digesting and then purging information. 

When we feel blocked we must do something to re-energize our imagination. Think of this space as a time to refuel yourself.  One way to achieve this is by shifting mediums.

Try this:

If you paint, then write.

If you write then, dance.

If you dance, then take photographs with your cell phone.

If you are a photographer, splash paint onto newsprint. 

If you are a painter, then draw with chalk on the sidewalk. 

If none of those work, go for a walk and pretend you are a four years old.  What would you see?  What would you hear? Then, use one of the creative processes listed above – not your usual process – and express what you just experienced.

You get the idea.  Let me know how it goes. Contact me at: