Odd ways to find your muse

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Dear Artist,

Almost everyone has heard about J.M.W. Turner getting himself strapped to a ship’s mast and taken out to sea in a wild storm. His rationale was the need for “authentic fear.” Evidence of painting naked and eating raw beets just prior to creative activity have also been reported, but are a little more difficult to analyze. New research into historical muse-hunting suggests we ought to indulge and embrace our oddest inclinations.

Dame Edith Sitwell liked to lie in a coffin before starting her day’s writing. Was it the feeling of privilege to be still above the grass, or was it something to do with the musky smell? The poet Friedrich Schiller kept rotten apples in his desk and inhaled them when he needed a shot of inspiration. In 1985, researchers at Yale University found that the smell of spiced apples empowered panicky people to stave off their panic attacks.

Amy Lowell and George Sand both smoked cigars in excess. The latter was also noted for going directly to her writing desk after making love. Coleridge without opium would have been a minor poet. No one can calculate the number of nicotine cigarettes that have been sucked into service. Balzac drank more than 50 cups of coffee a day, eventually dying unpleasantly from caffeine poisoning. Dr. Johnson, the dictionary writer, believed in drinking 25 cups of tea at a time. Voltaire used his lover’s bare back as a desk. Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain and Truman Capote claimed they wrote best while lying down.

Going for a walk may not be that odd, but it’s a muse-generator painters swear by. Music and muse are not an odd combination either, unless it be Cowboy in rotation. Mere repetition can be valuable — every time “Home on the Range” comes around it re-creates a mental state that gets the brush going.

“Whatever works” is more than the name of a Woody Allen movie. Artists need to canvas their history for habits, fetishes, peculiar activities or imbibings that worked in the past. Perhaps it’s just part of the business of claiming your own uniqueness. But more often than not there’s a genuine connection, perhaps going back to a dim childhood memory. Me? All I’m going to mention right now is my morning bathtub. Towel over my face, I ruminate the day ahead. Did I mention I like to be strapped in?

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “The man who arrives at the doors of artistic creation with none of the madness of the muses would be convinced that technical ability alone was enough to make an artist. What that man creates by means of reason will pale before the art of inspired beings.” (Plato)

Esoterica: A lot of muse-gathering has to do with one’s current state of self esteem. Feeling good about yourself can be generated by reviewing past winnings, uncovering and exploiting unrealized reference, diving in, or sometimes just feeling the close warmth of fellow travellers. One needs the quiet murmurings of admired artists’ books. Holding a great one in your hands, you can often fly.

 


The muse of meditation
by Natalie Italiano, Philadelphia, PA, USA
 

092209_natalie-italiano-artwork

“Jamie”
oil painting, 16 x 20 inches
by Natalie Italiano

I have found a really valuable “muse” in Zen meditation. It has brought a calm and clarity to my work that I have never had before. A regular meditation practice seems to clear away much of the mental clutter, and the often ridiculous interior dialog that I would prefer to do without! Worries about what others might think, is my work good enough, and similar ego-related nonsense seem to lose their grip when the mind becomes strong and clear from meditation. I also find the Zen Buddhist philosophy of “living one’s life as a benefit to others” to be a very liberating muse. It’s hard to ever feel isolated when you try to live from that perspective. This done not have to be thought of as a spiritual or religious muse, it’s simply an effective tool for living, and inspiring at the same time.

 


Surprise visit of the muse
by Warren Criswell, Benton, AR, USA
 

092209_warren-criswell-artwork

“The Departure of the Muse”
oil painting, 39 x 26 inches
by Warren Criswell

I haven’t found any reliable way to conjure up the muse. I haven’t tried opium or 50 cups of coffee a day, but back in the ’60s I sometimes abused Dexedrine, a sort of poor man’s speed. I was writing then, and I would stay up all night hammering the typewriter, turning out a continuous stream of conscious better than Kerouac or Joyce until the sun came up. But when I read these drug-driven masterpieces the next day, straight, I was always disappointed to find that they were no damn good and had to be destroyed. I can do things to prepare myself for painting — clean the studio, work on framing, look at art books, go to museums, etc. — but my muse is unimpressed by any of this and often abandons me when I need her most.

My muse seems to have her own life going on somewhere else and only occasionally takes notice of me — and usually at the oddest and most unexpected times. I may be at my lowest emotional state or at my highest, it seems to make no difference to her. It may be while I’m listening to music, or while looking at something I’ve seen a thousand times, while reading, or doing nothing at all. She seems to have her own schedule of ambushes, which is not synchronized at all with my own schedule. I understand that she is part of me, but it doesn’t seem that way. As Plato said, you can paint without the inspiration, turning out lots of technically correct and profitable work. But the great stuff only happens when the mad muse springs out of nowhere and impales you with her lightning bolt. The artist lives for these moments.



There are 2 comments for Surprise visit of the muse by Warren Criswell

From: Marie Louise Tesch — Sep 22, 2009

Great painting to accompany your thoughts! It is amusing and somewhat sinister at the same time. The light coming through the dog’s hair is technically splendid; the roll of toilet paper on the table makes my mind reel. The muse was good to you while it lasted.

From: Kathleen — Sep 22, 2009

When I saw the subject of the newsletter I immediately recalled your painting from an earlier newsletter — and I was delighted to see it again. Music, walks, mediation, just-doing-it, and studying nature all help me get into a receptive state. However I have been unable to predict or orchestrate visits from the muse — but know I live for those lightning-bolt moments.

 


Art and nudism
by Marco Bell, Sarasota, FL, USA
 

092209_marco-bell-artwork

“Mardi Gras Mantel”
acrylic painting
by Marco Bell

As a lifelong nudist, I can attest to the reality of awakening ‘the Muse’ amidst my surroundings simply by feeling the breeze around me. It is invigorating to paint plein air au naturel. Perhaps it’s less likely in northern climes, but here in the South one can enjoy it. My wife, Monica Spain, and I are long admirers of your contribution to the Arts as well as your paintings, and we look forward to every one of your letters. Keep up the great work.

 


Cooking up an omelette
by Margie Murray, Encino, CA, USA
 

092209_margie-murray-artwork

“Yellow cactus”
original painting
by Margie Murray

When painting alone, I will often take a short walk before getting in front of my easel. Lately, I have been painting with artist Otto Sturcke on a series of large floral paintings. He will arrive early and we will cook up a beautiful French omelette, sides of fruit, and Mexican coffee. We will sit and discuss our goals and future projects that we plan on creating. It has enormously helped my daily planning and commitments to reach my artistic goals. The added benefit is that I am getting a cooking lesson from a wonderful friend.

 

 

 

 


Glanced beauty of inspiration
by Roland Ford, Baltimore MD, USA
 

092209_roland-ford-artwork

“Mother and child”
oil painting, 12 x 14 inches
by Roland Ford

I remember reading about Dante’s muse, Beatrice, of whom he saw twice in his life and only met once. So enrapt with her beauty he was never able to forget her even after she died at an early age. She appears in his Divine Comedy as a means of securing her immortality in the physical realm. But sometimes this is how inspiration can be built upon. As for me, I, too, have my Beatrice in the name of Barbara Long. I never really got to know her very well and even if I did it wouldn’t have changed anything today. I did not love her in the conventional sense but knew her value as an inspiration to “try it” just one more day. That and listening to Stravinsky’s Petroushka, or parts of it, before tackling the artist’s task of the day. For over 20 years she has remained my muse, haven’t as much as seen even a glimpse of her in that time frame, and unless something better comes along she will continue to be my focus of the muse perfected.

 


Cross-breeding ideas with books
by Nikki Coulombe, Lewisville, TX, USA
 

092209_nikki-coulombe-artwork

“Will Sing For Feathers”
graphite/digital drawing
by Nikki Coulombe

Your very last suggestion, books are what call my muses forward. There’s no going back since the Home Computer Age, but nothing will ever substitute for an old fashioned book. The most unrelated things can inspire, usually before the last pages on the first book are flipped, but sometimes it takes trying a few books about different subjects. Lately a cartoon-creating muse has been hanging around me, and I’m grateful to have found an outlet to lighten up. Somehow linking serious thoughts that are mulling around (anti-muses?) with serious fun helps gain back a sense of balance, and then I can get on with my regular work. I don’t know if anyone else “gets it” when I write or draw, but it works for me.



There are 2 comments for Cross-breeding ideas with books by Nikki Coulombe

From: Virginia Wieringa — Sep 22, 2009

I TOTALLY get it, Nikki!

From: Jill Paris Rody — Sep 22, 2009

Love the painting! Great sense of humour… something I too am tapping into thanks to my own muse!

 


Song, dance and other muse routines
by Cathy Harville, Gambrills, MD, USA
 

092209_cathy-harville-artwork

“Layers of sunlight II”
acrylic painting
by Cathy Harville

I often listen to music while I work. Sometimes, I break out in singing, followed by a fake microphone performance, and then dancing. I find it loosens me up, helps me to think less, and enables me to put out more paint than I will ever need — which is a good thing! I never watch the clock.

The very act of putting on my painting apron gets me going. Working in a series also gets my adrenaline rushing. Lately, I have been painting petals on glass, and scraping them off to make layered sunflowers. Between using too much gel, stepping in my painting, and not waiting for things to dry, I have learned a lot! The mistakes I make throw me into high gear, to correct or start over fresh. Either way, my muse is laughing up a storm, as I frenetically make more petals, and paint over gel-whitened areas. Sometimes, my muse throws a temper tantrum when I try to do laundry. I often listen to it, and just let the clothes stay in the washer. I know it’s time to get back to reality when I have no clean underwear!

 


The long wait
by Elaine Fraser, Australia
 

092209_elaine-fraser-artwork

“After James Peale”
acrylic painting, 18 x 16 inches
by Elaine Fraser

I lost my muse since moving countries a few months ago. I put it down to the settling in process and the need for part-time work which takes me away from my brushes. I miss the place I was before, my studio there, the peace there, the muse that came so swiftly and stayed so long.

I think what’s needed is a period of quiet where my mind can drain itself of the business of life just for a while. We moved from a quiet town in one country to a big city in another, and I think perhaps there is a need to deal with the speed of life here.

I read art books and magazines, and spend hours online looking at art sites, in particular Painter’s Keys. This weekend I will spend wandering around local galleries, and I am entering a painting (completed last year) into a local Art Award show next month in order to help stir up inspiration by being among other artists and their work.

I know my muse will return, and I feel it won’t be long now. Perhaps my muse is just around the corner. If you see him, tell him I am waiting!

 


The muse is called ‘Start’
by Ed Pointer, Afghanistan
 

092209_ed-pointer-artwork

“Early Morning in the Park”
acrylic painting
by Ed Pointer

Regarding Odd ways to find your muse, I didn’t realize there was such a thing. I’ve read the morning muse in the paper and see the evening muse on TV but never realized I could actually have one of my own. Of course I jest but I’ve really never thought about a muse. Seems like I get to the easel, not as often as I’d like, and there’s that blank canvas challenging me, telling me it’s stronger than I am; I cannot touch or even threaten it with a brush lest it attack me with a poor value scheme — or worse, a failed painting; the canvas is a tyrant on some days! So how do I overcome that tyrannical canvas? If I have a muse it is the muse called “Start!” I remember an interview Edward R. Murrow did with Salvador Dali. Murrow asked Dali, “I notice your umbrella stand (which was beside Dali’s easel) is full of tree branches (switches actually), what are they for?” Dali responded by grabbing a switch from the stand and intensely beating the canvas from top to bottom. Murrow was obviously undone by Dali’s performance and asked him why he did that; to which Dali replied, “It is how I subdue the canvas before I paint!” I think sometimes the muse is more a wrestling partner than a creative influence, at least in my case and most particularly for Dali. BUT, muses are great things and it looks like mine likes to check my daily painting endeavors, however I have proven, so far to be stronger than he is, now if I only knew how to paint….



There are 2 comments for The muse is called ‘Start’ by Ed Pointer

From: Marti Meyer, Terrebonne OR — Sep 22, 2009

Ed,

Totally love your take on lif and your sense of humor……….your painting is great also. I did not know that about Dali………sounds like so much fun, I think I will have to go cut some willow switches…..GBYD!

From: Betty — May 21, 2012

I think you know how to paint. We are often our own worst enemy! I know I am! Hmm, I think maybe I should use switches on myself! WHAM! Stop being negative! WHAM! Stop procrastinating! WHAM! Stop being so gosh darn LAZY & self defeatist!

I like that painting very much. Is that, by any chance, Whiteface Mountain? It certainly looks like it!

Thank you for sharing.

 


The muse in illness
by Hazel Robinson, CA, USA
 

About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with b cell lymphoma. This is my second bout with lymphoma and the first time around I was “cured” within a couple of years, so the word “cancer” didn’t scare me as much as it might have. BUT this time the lymphoma was actually killing me by killing off red blood cells faster than the bone marrow could replace them. The cancer is now under control, though I might never be cured this time. The point of this preface is to point out that a changed life could be really a changed life. My paintings have changed completely.

When I can’t sleep at two in the morning I get out of bed and paint. I am considering teaching a free class for non painters who need an outlet for depression or have uncontrollable feelings of being a victim. The object would be to teach a means of expression that doesn’t need a “listener” but would still be communication. Artists are entertainers. It seems to me that people who find life too difficult to deal with, and no one understands them, might be able to siphon off some of the helplessness into paintings. My muse ? sleeplessness? anger? being very tired? I don’t know, but I enjoy painting again and am producing paintings in my own unique style that look professional and are currently hanging in the only two galleries I’ve taken them to. I am an artist, NOT a cancer victim.



There are 2 comments for The muse in illness by Hazel Robinson

From: Nancy Gonzalez — Sep 21, 2009

A VERY BIG AMEN to this writer/artist..I understand her as I went though the cancer bit also… breast cancer…2 surgeries, chemo and radiation to beat the curse, and 5 yrs of meds to lower estrogen… painting and artist friends was my solace..a great positive attitude helps.. but delving into producing a painting was such an accomplishment…just do it.. it works..and a strong belief in our Creator

From: suzanne jensen — Sep 22, 2009

That magical chemistry between our brush and our heart and soul is what lifts the spirit.I have been in that place you describe. I sincerely agree that the energy to create is all encompassing and healing. Here’s to many days of joy in your path.

 

 

woa
 
091809_marie-martin-artwork

Illume

acrylic painting, 42 x 42 inches
by Marie Martin

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Kathy Legg of Lethbridge, AB, Canada, who wrote, “Delightful bit of research whimsy, Robert. One question: DO you put water in the tub? Just curious.”

(RG note) Thanks, Kathy. Nope. Linseed oil (boiled).

And also Ann Hardy of Colleyville, TX, USA, who wrote, “You are gonna get some wild responses on this letter. I am at my best when I paint up in a treehouse. You are too cute. Laughed out loud at picturing you and Turner both strapped in to your individual vehicles.

(RG note) Thanks, Ann. Yes we did. Your treehouse idea is mentioned among many other odd muses in an article in the New York Times by Diane Ackerman.
 

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Odd ways to find your muse

 

 

From: D F Gray — Sep 18, 2009

my muse finds me, once or twice a year she appears when I am working hard, then she rewards me for working, mostly its a subject that is provided but she has given me a gold ring while

working!

From: Salome Ridgeway — Sep 18, 2009

I tell my lover that hours of wild monkey sex provides my interface with the painting muse. He tells me that it appears to increase my indolence. I’m just sublimating, I tell him, just wait until I have the strength to walk and hold a brush again.

From: Philip Steenbergen — Sep 18, 2009

I prefer the elevated thought and emotion of the great poets. They increase the fervor and devotion I feel for the effort. But these usually lead to a frustrated pomposity that is an unfortunate, but minor, quality of my character. I usually produce better work after reading the newspaper and a chapter or two of a genre novel and swilling coffee. Can’t make a silk purse, as they say.

From: James R Vondrasek — Sep 19, 2009

As a young man I use to climb to the top of an old oak tree to the highest branches some 70 feet of so.and then tie my self to them. I would sway from the wind from side to side, the view was great it gave me a different perspective on life.

Often I would fall asleep there. The feeling that i got was so deeply ingrained into me that I can still feel the sensations from it years later with some concentration, A place I often go to get away from things,and get a invigorating start for the hours to follow when I start a new work.

From: Arnold Reinholdt — Sep 21, 2009

Not requiring a muse, I find that sufficient sleep, nutritious food, and brisk exercise, provide a sound basis for full days of sculpting and photography. I recommend maintaining a serious health regimen to my staff. When I find young people dragging themselves to the studio after late evenings of debauchery, it’s time to cut them loose. It’s a tough lesson for some aspiring sculptors to learn, but they will eventually find that good personal habits will be the sound foundation of their career.

From: Isabel Cohen Issyco Omaha, NE — Sep 21, 2009

Creativity for me comes in fits and starts. Waking up and being thankful first thing is important. Outlining my day is helpful as well. Trying to stay positive and reinforcing feelings of loving and approving of myself help at lot, but are difficult at times.

First things first. My husband and I take the dogs for a walk. Then if it’s a paint day, I usually set up outside if it’s nice. We live on a large park so it’s beautiful among the old and huge trees. Since I am an abstract artist, I lay out my colors and just start right in.

Everyone is talking about our new president and all the money he is spending and trying to spend. These are hard times for many of us and my art tends to reflect these things. I am deeply concerned about the state of our natural world and my work also reflects this.

At the end of the day, I am thankful again for being able to create something meaningful and for all the good things in my life.

“I love and approve of myself” is my mantra. It bring the good to me, in whatever way I need it. Visualizing what I want to happen works well for all of life’s issues. Whether it’s a visit to the dentist or a day of painting.

From: Miss L Campbell — Sep 21, 2009

My muse is most active after a massage. Not right after, because then I am too relaxed, but after a couple of hours I gain energy and go to work and often do so happily for some time, even several days.

From: Julia McLernon, painter San Antonio, Tx. — Sep 21, 2009

So many things came to mind reading this letter. So many fond memories of rainy afternoons, painting in silence for hours with my late teacher, mentor, best friend. There is a particular light in the studio then, and a haunting silence, which we sometimes supplemented with recordings by Philip Glass, Arvo Part, or various world-music rhythms or chants.

On some days I would read aloud to him (English was his second language, so he liked being read to) from a book or journal. We seldom got further than a few paragraphs before our own conversations gained a life of their own and we were off on our own path. This always fed the following day’s work.

Very occasionally we would watch a movie. (Usually foreign, often provocative, always visual.) “The Pillow Book” was especially productive for both of us, as it lead to other ways to think of painting, use of words, symbols, and “canvas”!

It’s harder now without him. And we have far less rain here now. I feel his loss daily (it’s been over 2 years).

Scavenging for scrap metal, old, rusty bits, and discarded detritus often gets me moving in the studio now. As does a trip through any hardware store – everything therein looks like art materials to me. When all else fails I simply cover a canvas in colours I dislike, and they compel me to continue and engage the canvas in its own conversation.

The most fundamental lesson I learned from him about BEING an artist is that you do so by going to your studio everyday. There is no need to paint every time. But you have to show up there. The discipline, the repetition, the ritual, the habit. These create the mind to make art. This mind is my real muse.

Thank you for your letters. They always scatter a tiny seed or stone for me.

From: Pepper Hume — Sep 21, 2009

I do my best work in the dark. I can cut and completely construct a garment in my mind in the dark, or build a doll or a painting. In fact, sketching before I can clearly see my objective in my head (in the dark) will often divert me off to another path and lose the original concept altogether.

From: Tinker Bachant — Sep 21, 2009

I don’t think it’s “odd” (someone else probably will) but I MUST have music , preferably instrumental and something cold to drink , water ,iced tea, Coke, whatever is cold and wet !

From: Margot Garwood — Sep 21, 2009

Laughed out loud at “Did I mention I liked to be strapped down?”

THANK YOU!

From: Kare Chapman Snohomish, WA — Sep 21, 2009

I have always enjoyed and admired your generosity and diligence in sharing your thoughts to the art community. Today’s newsletter was very interesting, but your last sentence was ghastly. Why do you wish to share such an ugly image of yourself…tainting future newsletters for your readers. You had a subversive wish beyond writing such a sentence. You wanted us to imagine your perverted behavior……”strapped in a morning bath.” You have my permission to delete my name from your list.

From: Nellie Mais — Sep 21, 2009

This is great – I get to express myself another way! I found the article intriguing. Each artist is so unique and yet there is such a bond between us. I find I paint from pure emotion. The more emotional I am about the subject (I paint portrait/figure) the more inspired and usually, the better the painting. It really is like being on an emotional high and all the senses are on alert. I find music keeps me involved during the painting especially when I’m feeling isolated. I paint from photos and primarily of women and children in third world countries. When I hear of a situation that touches me I will research to acquire photos from groups involved in helping and pick ones that speak to my heart. My dream is to help these people by sending proceeds on to the organizations working with them.

Thanks for reading this and I encourage all artists in whatever work they are doing – keep at it!

From: Julie Nilsson — Sep 21, 2009

Having painted for the last 30 years off and on, I’ve found great help in the ritual of “clearing my space” and calling in my three muses before I turn on my music and face the waiting white canvas. After the general ether is cleansed by a sage smudging, I light incense and call in my muses, one of whom is Nicoli Fechin for guidance and vision. I speak to them directly and thank them for their inspiration and, whether they hear me matters not, for I’m inspired and charged to carry on from the rung of the ladder they have taken us. I’ve given praise and thanks and am ready to persevere with those wonderful masters by my side.

From: Edna V. Hildebrandt – Toronto,Ontario — Sep 21, 2009

I guess as a person is unique and different from one another; so we find inspiration in different ways. As I think about all these practices of great artists and writers it seems that it worked for them. Are these practices the source of their inspiration or were they serendipitous association when their creative forces produced great works that they then made a habit of these practices? They became more like obsessions and habits that were difficult to get out of. For me I am inspired when I look at the sky and I see cloud formations that resemble animals, objects I am familiar with, people and scenery. I am inspired when I recall happy moments in my life or when I was sad then a mental image of what I like to draw appears . These are my inspiration. Thank you very much for such a thought provoking newsletter.

From: Jim Rowe — Sep 21, 2009

I have been creative with past works, but still struggle with my future works. It is always a challenge and I constantly feel like my art career is over and that there are no new ideas possible, I am old and should just appreciate what I have accomplished. Edison`s advice to this would have been, when someone once referred to him as a genius was that “genius was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” . Einstein credited the mental exercises he had done in opposite interests, thus keeping the brain healthy and growing. And just lately new medical research has pointed to an early morning workout , any kind of rigorous exercise as contributing to neuron development. I guess the bottom line is if it was easy for me, then I wouldn`t feel the terrific sense of accomplishment when I finally do create something really special.

From: Popo Flanigan — Sep 21, 2009

not often do i laugh out loud while reading, but my funny bones were tweaked at the sight of the artist in the coffin ( sparked my

thoughts: is her mate an undertaker? was she lucky enuff to trash pick the coffin?); and you, strapped into a tub with rag over your

face……. just LOve it!! thx for starting my day in a silly –

thoughts kinda way.. AND thx for each and every treasured penning!!

From: Peter Miller — Sep 21, 2009

I run around outside for a while. It seems like a waste of time, but I feel energized and I want to paint. Sometimes I get the idea what to paint while running around.

From: Andy Hartmann — Sep 21, 2009

I know it’s not kosher to do any more, but smoke-rings beguile the mind and set the imagination in motion. I do not recommend that artists smoke a lot, but if they are capable of having only a few cigarettes it is amazing what can be seen in the haze of a few relaxed puffs while looking past the smoke to a blank canvas.

From: Daryl Finsey — Sep 21, 2009

I just go to work and it happens.

From: Suzy Dunn — Sep 22, 2009

Hey Kare Chapman–get a life, eh

From: Marilyn Marcus — Sep 22, 2009

People who do not have a reasonably advanced sense of humor should not be allowed to subscribe to Robert’s excellent letters.

From: Brad Greek — Sep 22, 2009

Congradulations to all of you that are being published in The Letter’s book. And to all of us that tried. Thanks Robert for the oppertunity and what an honor.

From: Missy Reddecliffe — Sep 22, 2009

My muse is on the corner of 52nd and Allard streets every single night. I keep thinking, if I don’t paint something pretty soon, I’m going to be out there keeping her company. So far, so good.

From: Liz Reday — Sep 22, 2009

It is precisely Robert’s subversive sense of humor that makes his writing (and our subsequent reactions) so funny and thought provoking.

From: Roslynne Steinberg — Sep 23, 2009

I love painting New York City street scenes…I installed a tv in my studio and watch programs such as NYPD, etc..This helps to bring me down memory lane…I was born in the Bronx and left NY when I was 62..I live in Chattanooga, Tn…I bring the big apple to the scenic city

From: Janet Toney — Sep 25, 2009

Hum, I think my muse is lazy!

Wonder if she could be like “Betsy” on the gps my son-in-law let me borrow to find my way around here in Tucson! That would be sooo cool! He (I want a he since I’m a she) would tell me, to first “drive to designated route” which would mean get your butt into your studio! Then he’d tell me what to do step by step and of course, if I didn’t do what he said, he’d just say “recalculating” and tell me how to go on and make my best work!

I like that idea.

Now wonder how I find that lazy muse?

He may be amused, bemused, con-mused, or something.

From: Lillian Tetreau — Sep 28, 2009

Workshops and what my family call “paint-ins” get me enthused about painting. These are 3 hour to 3 day visits to my talented sisters where we are free to paint, play and experiment nonstop free from any interruptions and responsibilities. Family are expected to provide for themselves. We snack, sleep and paint at wierd hours putting the creative process first at all times. What joyful times we’ve shared, wonderful insights, and either immediate or subsequent paintings are produced. When blocked we critique each others work, sometimes trading and modify and even cut and create collage from them. Such freedom and spontaniety is not often achieved working alone.

 

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