What do you do when you feel like the muses have deserted you and your inspiration has left for parts unknown?
Someone wrote to me recently who was facing this problem. I’m not an expert, but it got me thinking about the subject.
What to do may depend a little on what’s behind the lack of inspiration.
There is an aphorism, ‘A person with a tooth ache cannot be in love’. It is true, if you are in pain, it is difficult to focus on other people or things. If you are going through a hard time and that is taking all your attention and energy away from the art you wish you were creating, it may be what you are facing will need to be dealt with before you can feel inspired again. Knowing this is temporary can help. Inspiration hasn’t deserted you, it is just giving you the space and time to focus and deal with other important issues.
Lack of inspiration could be a symptom of boredom. If that is the source, the solution would be to try something new. Create a challenge of some kind, perhaps to master a new technique or subject.
A fear of failure will also make the muses run and hide. If you have a thought at the back of your mind when you pick up a brush you should produce a work of art, something stunning every time, that’s a lot to live up to, impossible in fact. Put aside the major works for a while. Give yourself permission to play and have plan to have some fun with paint, without any expectations. Guaranteed, it won’t be long before your muse returns.
I suspect the muses need to be fed and nurtured too. Art books, visits to galleries and exhibitions, and time spent with other artists all help.
Great artists inspire by showing what’s possible and by their achievements set high standards to aim for. Artists whose work you don’t admire encourage by setting a standard that you know you can surpass. It’s comforting to think you are not the worst painter in the world.
When you’re feeling uninspired, what have you found that gets you moving and feeling creative again? Any ideas?