Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finding Your Artistic Muse






Bid On This Painting
This will take you over to Ebay
“Moose, Opus 1”
Those who know me know that painting landscapes on location in nature is one of my greatest passions. The Grand View television show features my experiences on location in the national parks. What many people don’t know about me is that I also have a deep passion for painting wildlife. I have returned from time to time to visit my artistic muse as I paint animals, and this week, sketches that I made when I hiked and painted in the Teton National Park inspired me. As I searched through my sketchbooks, my senses filled with the memories of that trip, and I recalled the feelings of awe that I felt when I personally encountered so many magnificent animals that exist in America. Those memories served as my source of inspiration as I painted, “Moose, Opus1.”

Finding one’s muse refers to the unintentional and unplanned burst of inspiration that beckons us to create. Many artists say the experience of finding their muse moves through them like the “breath of god.” They do not feel in control the process, but they feel compelled to “go with it” while they are transported beyond their own abilities to see and express their experience on canvas, paper, sound, or movement. The muse seems to be the connection between the inner soul or the unconscious mind and the artist who creates with paints, pens, musical instruments, or dance.

When you cannot find your muse, it feels like you can’t seem to get started with your work or that you just can’t get it right. You can work on a project for hours, and then, wipe it all off, or toss it into a pile of paintings in your garage. You know that you want to create, but you can’t imagine what to paint. There can be a great sense of frustration and unhappiness as an artist struggles to find his way back to feeling inspired again. Often artists will look for inspiration by searching outside of themselves and will look through pictures in books and magazines. Musicians spend hours exercising their connection with the keyboard hoping to hear a pattern, beat, or melody that inspires their creativity. The following ideas may help you to connect creatively within yourself in preparation for your muse’s return.

#1: Ask yourself, “Why did I want to be in artist in the first place?” When you create, you choose many paths, and occasionally you may find yourself feeling lost. Being in touch with why you began creating art is the first step in finding the way to your artistic muse.

#2: Take a long and relaxing walk. Do something that is physically active to clear your mind. It will calm any frustrations, and give you time to have fresh ideas or new approaches that may come to mind when you are away from your studio.

#3: Don’t do anything at all! Don’t even look or think about your painting, Inspiration will come to you when the time is right. Instead, watch TV, go out with friends, or go to bed. Just do something to separate yourself from your art. Sit back and enjoy being creative in other ways.

#4: Think of a book or movie that moves you to feel your emotions and paint a picture about something in the story that touches you. Every great work of art is inspired by connecting to life in some way.

#5: Listen to some inspirational or unusual music. I prefer tribal music, Classical music or movie soundtracks. Few things are as artistically stimulating as a great symphony by Beethoven. Let the music guide your art. Allow yourself to let loose and go with the sounds. Leonardo daVinci felt that he painted better when he listened to music.

#6: And go outside of yourself for ideas and inspiration. Browse through books to see and experience other artists’ work. Sometimes, we are so concerned that all of our work has to be original, and we forget that other artists have had huge breakthroughs after losing their muses, too. Visit a museum or surf the internet to see what other artists are creating, because it can be insightful, inspiring, and can connect us with the ups and downs that others in our special group of human beings known as artists experience.
If you are interested in experiencing a breakthrough weekend that will take your art to the next level, visit our new website at http://www.thegrandview.com/, and you can download my FREE BOOK where I share “Everything I know About Painting.”I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.

I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues. If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime.

I welcome your feedback. Stefan_Baumann@yahoo.com

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with what you said about the artisic muse and how to find it...i know from my own experiance, driving home from work it will hit and i find myself speeding to get home to my canvas and paints... i find the sky and the clouds are a lot of my inspiration and then i find my daughter in a reflective mood and i have to draw ... yes, i've been bitten or rather knocked out by the artistic muse a lot lately. but your GrandView and daily painting has kept me inspired to do more. Thank you.

6:24 AM  
Blogger The Whole Picture said...

I've been painting for over 20 years (boy does that make me feel "old") and have taught for half that time. However, I didn't find my artistic voice or even know what it meant to "find my muse" until this year.

I find that there are a lot of things that provide inspiration -- memories of landscapes I loved as a child, sunsets I see today and even napkins I see at a local store where the palette is what I love but never seem to get into a painting because they are too loud.

It only took me 24 years to realize I am a landscape artist -- after being trained by Russians for years in floral painting. Living in the Northwest, I have many scenes to inspire me. However I knew in my soul that I needed to mix texture and landscape.

It took a trip to Laguna Beach, CA this past January where I found the work of 2 artists who are painting landscapes with underlying texture. Seeing those pieces was like being hit in the gut. I then knew exactly what I needed, not wanted, but needed to do just as much as taking my next breath.

This act of getting out and seeking out art being created somewhat in the direction I want to go was my muse. Everything else has been "inspiration". This muse makes the creative part of my brain open to the point that I can't get designs down in my sketchbook fast enough and has compelled me to take risks with texture and now oils that I never would have tried before.

Your comments about a muse "beconing us" and putting us in a place where we "don't feel in control of the process" is so true. I wish every artist could experience this.

Kelly
Washington State

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