Thursday, June 2, 2016

Finding the Muse

Let's discuss what inspires us to make art. I will call this segment Finding the Muse and hopefully do a post each Thursday on finding inspiration.

As far back as my memories go, I have loved the written word. I read.

Books are little adventures and teachers, carrying me off to new places. The library is one of my favorite places.

At any given time I have a novel (often a cozy mystery) for bedtime reading, and non fiction for daytime reading. Today I finished the book...
I plan to further explore writing this year. I am already writing every day, either a short story or a personal glimpse into my life.

This book on writing was so well done, that I wanted to stop reading every few pages and go write a story. So I did. Then I ordered the book from Amazon, as it may be one of my go-to inspirations.
I love going to the library as it's like shopping for free, but sometimes one wants to have the book always at the ready, no?

One day while on a walk with my wee family of three, I saw a scene that prompted an oral story that had dh chuckling.
It didn't come out quite so funny days later but here it is:
     The Tree had a Splinter
As we passed a massive Oak tree on our walk, I swear I heard it call to me.  It's people had pushed a large metal rod into it's side, and hung a planter full of flowers from it.
Pretty I suppose.
I felt sorry for the tree. I imagined it saying...
"Hey! I think I have a splinter. Something hurts. Could one of you other trees reach a limb over here and pull it out?"
"Sorry man! Can't reach you but you do have something in there" said the elm
"In that case could you send a squirrel over? They have great hands and I've seen them chew through many a garbage can. Thanks!" 

I tell you that story because that's the way I think.
My imagination is always on.
 It entertains me, and often my husband.
So where do I find the Muse? I think she's always there.

Back to reading. One of the things I like a lot is a magazine. I love Country Living for one.  One day my husband said he got an offer for $5 subscriptions to magazines, so I ordered four and now I feel rich. Every month I get little written gifts in the mail! As I look through a magazine, I pull out what speaks to me
 (as directed by the Muse, lol)
such as, these clippings, the sofa pic for color (coral and yellow with dabs of blue) and the composition.

This one is just lovely.
It called to me first because of the intense red and sort of turquoise blue. I pull pics that speak to me quickly without thinking too much of why.
After I am finished with the magazine I look thru the pulled images to see why they interested me, and make a notation.
I wanted to remember the mix of blues and greens that made up this background. That can be used with paint or fabric later.

Look closer, the proportions of color are lovely too. Mostly the blue/green, but also red, dark brown, and white. Can't you see it in a quilt? Choosing a block where you mostly use a mix of blues/ greens with little accents of the other colors?
The horoscope told me I'd be writing more this year. Amazing! After I decided to spend the year writing I have gotten at least three messages about that from other sources.

I pulled the jewelry page because it gave me an idea for beading on fabric. The one on the right was for composition and well, magic. It's enchanting isn't it? I love the line, I see the dog, travel up each suitcase to the high heel, kicked back foot, to the kiss then stop at the Eiffel Tower. I may not do a painting of a kiss but I might stack something.
Two other books on the table. I'm kind of excited to do the exercises in both the Lettering and Faces books from our library. Better get to it as the library lends them for just a short time!
Mr Not Afraid of Color and I were discussing color while having coffee one morning. He got his Ph.d. in something related but distilled down to molecules of light and color. I asked him to share something of how he views color theory.
And I thought I understood colors! And I do... for the way I use color.
He checked out this book from the library, (my scientist guy!) so he could build a bridge from his concepts to mine.

So that's it for today. Reading and writing are very inspirational to me. What have you read that inspired you to make art?


  1. I love the written word too and libraries and booksstores and a lovely written note. An interesting book you might like about writing is by Stephen King (yes! him!) called On Writing. It is a fascinating glimpse into his life as a writer, I could not put it down. He talks about grammar and good and bad writing. Check it out!

    1. Oh My, don't get me started on grammar. I studied under a teacher who threw erasers if you got it wrong!

  2. You!!!

    I love books, magazines, reading, writing. I think of all those people whose lives have been changed by reading. Years ago a friend told me she never finished high school, that she left at 10th grade because she was rebelling against everything. And to this day doesn't even have a GED. I was really surprised, she is so well read, so smart, so successful in her career. Her explanation is that she reads everything she can find.

    true, I have known that she checks out 6 books in a variety of topics each week from the library and reads them cover to cover!

    That is how much difference it can make.

    That is sort of an answer to your question......

  3. What a cool post. Retired librarian here (public library). I love to hear that people still use and appreciate libraries. But, yes, there are some books you just want to own. I also read mysteries, but nothing too violent.
    I'm going to recommend Dancing on the head of a pen to my daughter who is into writing.
    And that whimsical lettering book is one I read about somewhere but haven't seen. Our library system doesn't own it. Let me know what you think of it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I've been thinking about doing a series of posts on where my inspiration has come from, but I was thinking along the lines of quilters who have inspired me. You've gone even deeper than that!

  5. I have been a huge Anne Lamott reader for some time, rereading "Bird by Bird" awaiting her next book. mostly i feel the *muse* or whatever creative motion speaks to you can occasionally be primed by the actual motion of makinging something from what is in front of me. That would be mostly fabric, paint, ideas and household stuff with a longer life of usefulness that originally intended always looking eager to SEE here! Great post!!

  6. Oh man, magazines are my downfall. I've had to go on a moratorium until I can unbury myself with the accumulated stacks. Lately I've found Pinterest has been an interesting muse and is much less invasive unless you count the time suck as digital clutter. 😆

  7. Quilting is the only art I do anymore but in the past I did a lot of pen and ink drawing and pencil sketching. Color tends to be my inspiration for quilting. And I am definitely a magazine junky. I love to read cooking, quilting, and decorating magazines - although I don't do much cooking or decorating. Just love to read and look.

  8. Ohhh I'm looking forward to this series of postings. Reading doesn't inspire me as much as life does.

  9. Me too! Looking forward to more about the muse!
    Looks like you have a great Library near by!

  10. Enjoyed your post very muvh, as a avid reader and magazine lover I too feel my muse when flipping through the glossy pages, pulling out what moves me. I have a folder full of pages from as far back as 1970 often an image or two will make its way into a collage or card. Lately I have the urge to paint but instead of the acrylics I know I want to try watercolors.

  11. Great idea for a series of posts, especially as your way of thinking is so original and interesting. I like to read too: novels or history when I've got lots of time and energy; crime,magazines or poetry when I'm more stretched.

  12. You are extremely lucky to have a well stocked library. Mine has the latest fiction but as far as art and creative books they haven't added anything in 15 years :-/
    Sometimes I go to Barnes and Noble just to browse the latest in creative books. You are woman of many talents - you go girl!

  13. What a great post! I hadn't heard of Dancing on the Head of a Pen, but I will definitely be checking it out. I love reading and writing too and I thoroughly enjoyed your story about the tree with the splinter!

  14. One of the reasons I got into quilting was that it accommodated my life long addictions to fabrics, books and magazines. While I mostly read quilting books nowadays, I also love to read books, articles or blogs by artists in other mediums about the creative process and what inspires them. Writing (blogging and project journaling) are also a big part of my quilt "process" and reflecting on the journey of one project often inspires paths to new ones. I look forward to your upcoming posts on where you find inspiration.

  15. Very inspiring post! I am looking forward to read more about where you get your inspiration for quilting and other art forms! Thanks for sharing your readings, I struggle finding time to read recently but I've always loved to read!

  16. As a former reference librarian, you can understand why I love books, always looking into one. Lately, I've noticed that pictures in books intrigue me with their color or subject.