Monday, June 12, 2006

Muses and imagination

While browsing through other blogs and comments I started thinking about muses and what they are and how they affect imagination and creativity. We often think of them as a person and in mythology they were - if you believe ancient Greek mythology muses were any of 9 daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne; protector of an art or science

Not having any mythical daughters of Zeus living at my house I turn to more mundane muses.

Books: I live for books and get lost in them almost as deeply as I can become immersed in drawing or painting. In my mind, I paint images while I read. Its another reason why I feel disappointed in most cases when I see the film version of a book, as it doesn't reflect MY images.
I recall an interesting task in creativity that involved books. Go to your bookshelf and with your eyes closed, pick a book. Still with eyes closed, open the book randomly and trace through the page, stopping your finger at any point. At that point, open your eyes and read the paragraph that your finger points to. The challenge is to illustrate that paragraph. The book can be anything from a cookbook to a novel, historic or fictional. If you happen to open to a page of graphics, simply choose again til you hit text. Its a great inspiration when you're stuck for drawing fodder or inspiration.

Animals: Animals never lose their appeal to me. They have endles behaviour patterns, shapes, sizes, colours and personalities. From simple sketches, to full blown portraits of great details, animals always inspire me to test my abilities. I have access to endless domestic and wild animals to observe, photograph and sketch. Each day brings a new animal and a new composition.

Solitude: I need to be alone to create. If someone is in the same room, looking over my shoulder I can't draw or write. I am social, but I hate company when I create. Its a necessity, not a luxury for me. I have created a studio in a spare room in the house and can lose all sense of time while there but people always come looking for me, wanting practical things done, like cooking supper or knowing where a sock is or did I have the last muffin (with just two people living in the house, why does anyone need to ask??)

Water: I need an expanse of water to sooth my soul and help me feel at peace. I am lucky that I live within minutes of the ocean, so I can take myself there when I need to hear the water lap or roar. Both extremes are equally soothing and inspiring. That, combined with the scent of salt air and the wind whipping my hair do something to make me feel alive and real. Some days I feel as if I am dead and puraly a figment of my imagination. Ocean waves help bring me back to life.

Music: But not always. My choice changes with my mood. One of my current favourites is Billie Holiday. What a Little Moonlight Can Do is perfect drawing music...then again any of her songs are.

People: I have had and do have supporters of my art in real life. It started many years ago with someone very special who nurtured my ability and ensured I was inspired and inspiring. Now that first muse is no longer there, but others replace him in varying degrees. Never quite the same and that's just as well, he was unique and made me unique under his shadow. Current muses are friends and acquaintances from varying backgrounds who nuture in different ways, but who all help me achieve what it is I want and sometimes even help me know what it is I want when I don't.

I had a drawing to post here, but Blogger doesn't want to cooperate - AGAIN! This is becoming a problem when every second day it won't post images. Its making me consider other options for hosting my blog that are more reliable.

Update: My apologies to Blogger. I think the upload problem was an issue with my browser Internet Explorer. I changed over to Firefox and its far quicker and uploaded my image this morning with no problem.

The drawing is one I did some time ago now. The dogs, desperate to want out. I can almost hear the whimpers and see them scratching under the gate.

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Beverly said...

Hi Jeanette! Your comments today are very interesting and yes, I must agree that it is hard to be creative when someone is standing looking over your shoulder. I have an interesting website for you to look at since you love art. He is a Chinese artist. It's:

Let me know what you think.

Jeanette Jobson said...

This guy's watercolours are stunning! The use of colour and light really makes them stand out. How I wish I could take part in one of those classes...

Thanks for the link Beverly :o)

Katherine said...

I was having problems with Blogger again on Monday so maybe not the browser's fault alone? I am beginning to seriously think about looking for another host - except I think they all suffer growing pains from time to time.

Fascinating discussion - it's what I always enjoy so much about your blog Jeanette - and you write so well as well!