Nurturing the Idea Within

A new inspiration emerges in the form of a sketch before a painting begins.  “A Wooded Road” by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 – 1669); about 1650; 6 1/4 x 7 15/16 in.; Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

This is the fourth in a series which you can start HERE, or review the previous post HERE.

The Inner Activity

In the previous post I discussed inspiration as an asking time. This asking usually becomes a dialogue in my personal languages and images working out the creation. I take this to be the Holy Spirit counseling with questions and suggestions, encouraging to experiment. This often feels like a hunch which will be forgotten if I do not act upon it. I am making minute choices, choosing steps this way and that, all the steps adding up to a path of discovery. I realize I am being nurtured and educated by this and, with each project, I grow in my capacity to create.

I have learned to trust that the impulse will never betray me, or force me to do anything. The impulse is based in love for myself and all who may benefit from my exploration. Maybe this is why many creators seem over confident in themselves. It is a childlike ability to assume things will all work out.

I know — it’s audacious!

Sometimes I ask for a solution to a problem. I have experienced falling asleep as I pray and meditate, the subconscious, spiritual work continuing on, and being awakened by an inspired idea. Other times I feel the prompt to write; this often becomes a poetic writing which is like a capsule of the inspiration to which I can return and remember. When the prompt to draw comes I will sometimes make a representational image and other times do an asemic, or abstract marking. For many, making what seems like nonsense is a huge leap of faith.

The Pregnancy of the Creator

I hold the idea within like a secret as it configures into an imagined thing. Some creators can complete the creation almost in its entirety before materializing it on paper, such as Mozart’s ability to compose complete scores in his head. I have experienced scenes in a story before writing them down. You may dream something in full detail and find it hard to capture it on paper when you wake. But, sooner or later the idea can keep growing only by entering the material, ascertainable world.

Sometimes my creations enter materiality as written words, sometimes as spoken words to a confidant (almost exclusively my trusted, artist wife).   Sometimes I move art materials around (pencil, pen, paint, scraps of paper, objects, pixels). A dancer will step through moves in privacy.   But, even if we manage to keep that material evidence a secret from others’ eyes, it is out with no taking it back. If no one else ever gets to see or hear it before we cover it, still we have seen it in material form and that will influence every other form no matter how minutely.

Bringing something into materiality is a serious deed.

Crossing that line from precious interior secret to concrete artifact is a point at which I often balk, standing at the threshold debating. If I wait and incubate the thought, perhaps sleep on it, might it come forth in better form? I have to percolate, let the embryo develop in that protected place. One grows into the ability to carry the idea to full gestation until the right time for birthing into the open. How long is that? Every idea for every gap in reality you feel drawn to fill, has its own gestation period.

My next post will get into most people’s favorite stage of creation, the execution stage.  But, before discussing the execution stage, take a little time to consider two of the Table of Creation’s questions and suggestions for the inspiration stage:

The Idea: thoughts inside

Do I believe I can receive unmediated inspiration, or have an original thought? I will be aware of ideas and memories forming in my innermost thoughts.

Ask believing

Do I trust the Divine Source? I will be aware of images, sounds, sensory associations brought to my attention as I pray.

Be one of the community building around this series. I invite you to get your copy of the art journal/adult coloring book version which I have created for this series. To get your copy click on the “Buy Now” button at right. Then go to our Facebook group page HERE, ask to join and share your experience of the book.