Julia Cameron makes the statement “Art is a spiritual transaction.” In fact, it is the very first sentence in the introduction to the 10th anniversary edition of The Artist’s Way. I suppose that belief depends on one’s outlook, as do many things. She points out that artists throughout the centuries have spoken of inspiration coming through God or the angels. Steven Pressfield has some really cool things to say about this topic in The War of Art. He quotes Xenophon, an ancient Greek historian, soldier and mercenary, and a student of Socrates: “The first duty is to sacrifice to the gods and pray them to grant you the thoughts, words, and deeds likely to render your command most pleasing to the gods and to bring yourself, your friends, and your city the fullest measure of affection and glory and advantage.”
Sometimes I feel as if I am missing the boat when it comes to endowment with some sort of spiritual guidance for my artistic endeavors. How does one go about receiving this type of inspiration? It seems more often than not, it is a matter of “I have to get this (fill in the blank) thing finished by such and such date” or “Gee, I haven’t designed, cartooned, sewn or written anything in two months, maybe I’ll do something.”
Both of the above mentioned authors/artists stress the importance of sitting down (standing up? lying on one’s back just below the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?) and doing the work, diligently. It is then that we will be blessed by our muse.
I am prepared to get back to work and trust that the inspiration will come. To this end I visited one of the best shops I know (United Art & Education) with a twofold purpose. I got some really great things for my little niece, who is about to turn 6, and I got a project book for myself: Artrageous by Jennifer McCully.
This book is geared towards “easy” projects that one can do with a child. I’m thinking these might be the types of projects to put me in a relaxed, no-pressure, frame of mind. Following is a partial list of the projects in the book and some photos illustrating individual steps.
These projects look like a lot of fun to me. I did one of them – the top photo shows my efforts. This was done with watercolor paint, gouache, colored sharpies and sigma micron pens. The right side was photo edited to get the black background. Kinda cool!
I am also revisiting my own completed projects, which serves to remind me that I can do it. Below, a quilt-in-progress for my niece, completed a few years ago.
Maybe my creative mojo is coming back, after all.