I’ve practised mindful creativity yesterday and I’ve posted a blog about surrendering to creative impulse. It turns out inspiration has no regard for one’s body clock and around midnight inspiration visited me again. I chose to be accommodating and sketched a new work in bed aided by the dim light of a bed lamp.
I’m in the middle of reading a book by author and artist Ian Roberts titled Creative Authenticity (and yes, I read multiple books at a time if you’ve read my previous blog). Roberts lists 16 principles to clarify and deepen one’s artistic vision and he presents some thought-provoking arguments. He is a man after my own heart in that he references some of my favourite writers such as Emerson and Csikszentmihalyi.
In the midnight hour, the world is often silent. I’m at my most tranquil and receptive to creativity’s whim. I decided to draw on my favourite muse: nature. I scrolled through the recent images I’ve captured on my phone and I stopped at a photograph from last Thursday. It was of a mother duck with her three ducklings swimming among the water reeds. I loved its serenity and the textures were interesting to me, so I began to sketch.
“In the face of beauty, we are silenced, because beauty expresses silence. In lavishing attention on the object of the artwork, the consciousness of the artist can touch something divine, some transcendental quality, and that transcendent element now resides in the artwork. How do we know it? We feel it. We experience it. Our heart responds to that sublime quality the artist infused into the work.”– Ian Roberts
I don’t consider myself to be a visual artist, I do consider myself someone who appreciates beauty. I’m not talking about beauty in a glamorous, consumerist, materialistic sense, I mean the type of beauty that arrests one’s senses upon immediate intervention such as a majestic sunset, flowers in full bloom, a newborn baby, or kissing someone you love for the first time.
“When we create beauty we somehow add to the light of society. Beauty is uplifting. It penetrates the density of what surrounds us and enlivens our world.”– Ian Roberts
In his book, Roberts makes a strong argument for achieving beauty through one’s creation of art. He likens beauty to goodness and uses the Greek word, kalon, as an example because it means both beauty and goodness. He challenges modern artists not to shy away from beauty in their exploration of aesthetic. Roberts says to achieve beauty one needs both quiet and patience, “both to create it and to experience it.”
“If our minds are filled with a long and urgent ‘to-do’ list, we are not likely to slow down long enough to appreciate anything but the next line we can draw through our never ending list… yet every now and again something in nature stops us. It arrests our constant external activity and search. And we are silenced, even if momentarily.” Ian Roberts
This is why I walk every day. I make time for silence and my muse. I embrace the ebb and flow of this chaotic life and try to filter out the noise to discover something worth creating. And I do so while the voices of my favourite writers ring in my ears.
“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson