Where is that Muse Person?

13 Jan

We know some artists who rarely paint because, deep down, they are afraid that they will run out of ideas. So they find any reason, any reason at all, to do anything but paint — clean the garage, renovate the upstairs bathroom, shampoo the dog.

“I am waiting for the Muse to inspire me,” they say.

Sometimes, rather than wait for the Muse, you have to start without her. Contemplation by Steve Henderson

One wonders perhaps if the Muse is getting bored for lack of anything to do. Oddly enough, the more we do something, the less we have to think about what we’ll do next; it is when we are in the midst of working on a series of projects that more ideas come to our mind, not when we’re cleaning out the garage (think of it — as you’re stacking and labeling the boxes, isn’t your next thought along the lines of, “Better get the lawn mower winterized, and after that, the kitchen faucet’s been dripping,” as opposed to, “Boxes . . . that angular shape reminds me of granite rocks tumbling over the surface of a hillside. I must paint!”)

Some of those who do manage to get out of the garage and paint find themselves dabbing at the same work for weeks at a time, in ten-minute increments now and then — Dab dab. Dab. Dab dab dab. The blues mix with the greens and bleed into the reds until everything looks brown.

When the Norwegian Artist was in college, professors and fellow students alike put down the concept of “prostituting themselves” as artists by working at a 40-hour-a-week job as an illustrator or a graphic artist — “This isn’t pure art,” they asserted — and yet Steve has found that his 20 years in the business world, as both a professional illustrator and a graphic artist — have trained him to be a better fine artist:

“Art directors don’t want to hear that the assignment isn’t ready because the Muse wasn’t with me,” he said. Day after day, year after year, he trained himself to work on good days and bad,  putting forth top effort into every piece, until his default became not waiting for the Muse, but starting the project without her.


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