Our artist days apart always begin with breakfast and a challenge. This month our artist challenge concerned inspiration.
I started by asking God’s artists to give me a definition of inspiration:
“That which brings out the best in us.”– Ken Knowlton
John Ortberg ,who is not a part of C.cada 🙂 writes “We were made to respond to inspiration. Everybody wears an unseen sign that reads: ‘ Inspire me. Remind me that my life matters; call me to be my best self; appeal to whatever in me is most noble and honorable. Don’t let me go down the path of least resistance. Challenge me to make my life about something more that the acquisition of money or success.”
Inspiration comes from lots of places: prayer, Bible study, church, friends, never settling for the status quo, and life experience both the good and the bad. Inspiration comes from who we are in connection with our world.
Watchmen Nee reminds us that we cannot preach what we have not walked. I would go on to say, we cannot paint, sing, play or write what we have not walked. There has to be something of ourselves in our artwork; That is the spark. There should be something of us and God in our artwork; That is the divine spark.
Sometimes as artists we shy away from including too much of ourselves in our work because that makes us vulnerable. I had a conversation with a writer the other day who has been asked to give a speech. She was stuck on the topic. We got to talking about inspiration in her life and the conversation turned to her what she had been through.
I looked at her and said “It sounds like you know what you have to speak about.”
She began to cry, not because she was happy for having discovered her topic but because she was afraid.
She replied, “I know that is what I have to speak about but I don’t like it. It makes me vulnerable.”
Art is all about vulnerability. Inspiration and vulnerability go together because the topics that inspire us are dear to our hearts. Opening up those areas to possible criticism is hard but that is where the best work lies.
This is the still life for March. I asked all of our artist’s to begin their day by writing a Tanka about the piece to jump-start their creativity. It’s what we do when we get together.
What do you do to get your creativity juices flowing?