waiting for my muse

My Journal

Here is a peek into my creative process. Recently, I was asked to come up with an idea for artwork for a boutique in a new hospital I am a doing a major installation in.  That installation is almost 70 feet long and is an urban landscape built from all recycled business signs.  This new commission would be a 3 feet by 4 feet piece for a mother/child boutique on the same floor.  It would be on canvas or paper. I am told to create something that draws people in and if it has a blue bird in the design somewhere, great.

I let this idea swirl in my head for a few days.  I think about it each day and I read books that inspire me each night before I go to sleep. I start sketching out ideas.  Then I head out and get supplies. I get bits of colored paper, special markers and large sheets of fine white paper that I can sew on.  I find out the exact color of the wall where the artwork will hang and then paint  mat boards that same color so I can present my ideas and realistically show how my art will look in the space.

waiting for my muse

Next stop is the grocery store.  I stock my studio fridge with fresh cherries, blueberries, strawberries and cheeses.  I buy chilled green tea, coffee and Fiji water.  Of course I buy chocolate.

Now back at my studio, I play Suzanne Vega, light a few candles and start to play with the materials before me.  I bring out sketches I have done.  Then I just start “making”.  And waiting.  Waiting for my inner muse to show herself and take over my hands that are drawing, painting, ripping layering and sewing.

I trust this process.  I push through self-doubt and second guesses.  If I design something I do not like, I rip it up.  Then I look at all the ripped pieces in front of me and turn them into something new.  I always like these “pieces” best, because they are a special part of how I design. I love to reuse. It is my willingness to push through the parts that I do not like that brings me to the pieces that I love.  My inner muse is present and busy.  I am not really thinking at all; I am just playing.

waiting for my muse

This process goes on for a few days…until I create the piece that is perfect for this space. I paint a tree and begin to sew and tie paper, cloth, beads and found objects into the artwork.  It is whimsical but also true to my "repurposed" way of making art. Now I stop “making”.  I feel calm and lighter.  I expected my creative muse to show up.  She did.  She always does.  And I am always grateful. And inspired.

A few days later I present my ideas for this space to Lin Swensson.  She calls the next day.  Out of the four ideas I put together, the piece I knew was "the one" was unanimously selected.  Now the true fun of creating begins.

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