One of the questions I get asked often is “where does my inspiration come from?” Most people think it’s some kind of divine part of my artistic gift that makes wonderful ideas appear like spiritual apparitions. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Occasionally a great idea might just pop into my head without effort, but that is “very” occasionally. Most ideas are cultivated – coming to that final inspiration is more like playing pinball. You ricochet back and forth, racking up points and momentum as you go along. You have to play a lot to be good and you lose a lot of balls in the process, but you persist.
Pattern, routine and scheduling are probably more important in the development of creativity and stimulating inspiration. You have to love what you do and you have to do it as much as possible, and the more you do it the better you get. When you practice in a routine manner the results are easier to reach. Like going to the gym every day, it’s hard at first, but eventually you start to see results and it gets a little easier, but it still takes a lot of work. Inspiration is very much like that. So when you see an artist’s finished work, know that it took more effort than just a “light bulb” moment and ask them how they reached the inspiration. It’s never a straight line and the story can be just as interesting as the finished piece and give you a little glimpse into the artist psyche.
Here’s the process and inspiration behind “The Moroccan Fisherman”. I was working on a commission and saw the image of a blue door on TV while I was working. Reminded me of some of the houses I saw in Nova Scotia. A beautiful mediterranean blue colour. Took a break and researched the colour which lead to the story of purple Murex dye made from ground up murex seashells. This was the inspiration for the psychedelic anthem, Purple Haze by Jimmy Hendrix when he lived in Morocco in the 1960’s. This lead to some research on Morocco and therefore adding this to my bucket list of places I want to see before I die. (Mention this to husband who rolls eyes – the list is long . . . sigh!)
Next day something reminded me of an old wooden boat I had in my stash of “things”, pulled it out, pulled up some photos of moroccan fishing harbours – Yes!! Painted boat in my version of murex blue. Distressed boat. Wondered if it would work. What kind of man do I want to sculpt, old, young but weathered, modern, traditional clothing? This took two days before I even picked up the clay. This piece is a little different than my usual “everyday moments in time” sculptures, but it kind of fits with another piece I did last year . . . “The Bike Totem”. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new series.