Saturday, February 18, 2012


Sell Art Online
Inspiration for my art comes from many places.  Sometimes it is very clear, striking like a lightning bolt, with intensity.  Other times, it simmers slowly, emerging over a long period of time.  Sometimes a passage in a book, a scene from a film, music, or an experience in nature can be the catalyst for inspiration. 

The painting Rainbow Birds (pictured here) came from a flash of inspiration while watching birds at a bird feeder.  The image came quickly and creating the painting was fairly quick (for me).  This painting, also inspired me to explore paintings based on the chakras, so I guess I can even inspire myself!

Lately, the music of Tori Amos has been stirring something in me.  I have been listening to Night of Hunters, her most recent album. It is a wonderful fusion of contemporary music and classical.  The narrative of the songs connect and detail a woman's "dark night of the soul".  In the course of the evening she meets faery spirits and travels through time and consciousness to arrive in the morning a changed person.  I am connecting deeply to this story and to the creativity of the project Tori Amos put together.  When I listen to this, I realize I want to create something this powerful, meaningful and transformative. 

Since July of 2010 I have been going through a kind of minor "dark night of the soul" myself.  Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I fell out of harmony with my art making.  I felt foggy, disconnected and rattled to the core of my being.  The beliefs and practices that fueled my art practice in the last five years or so no longer seemed to be working.  I knew something needed to change, but I didn't know what it was.  While in Randolph, Vermont, in a sort of self-imposed retreat, I thought about how our society's push toward constant production and growth, on materialism and turning everything into a commodity leaves us all, especially the earth, depleted.  I saw myself swimming desperately against a strong current, and realized that I have been swimming hard against that current for years.  I believed if I stopped, I would get swept away and lose myself.  But, during that retreat in the mountains, I considered the idea of just getting out.  I don't need to give in to the current, nor do I need to keep fighting it.  It was time to leave it altogether.  However, leaving the current has left me in a very strange place.  I knew that it had become terribly urgent that I attend to things that nurture my soul as an individual, but, as I enter midlife, I also understood I needed to connect on a societal level.  How do I do this, if I am outside the current? I was in a dark and uncertain place. And here I have been ever since. 

As I contemplate inspiration, I see that I must go deeper.  Things are stirring, but my sight is clouded.  As an artist, I think sometimes it is necessary to live outside the current.  It offers a perspective that is unique, but necessary for those who continue to stay in the flow.  Perhaps it is a matter of adjusting my eyes to the new atmosphere.  It will take me a little time and my work may slow up a bit, but I think this is fueled by the long simmering kind of inspiration.  The vision will come and when it does, I hope it will offer a unique vision that serves society in a healing and transformative way.


PS: I will be sharing my process of this spiritual exploration and how it relates to my art on my private blog: DoAn Art Studio.  If you are interested in supporting my journey and would like to follow my artistic development, please consider donating.  Monthly donations, in any amount, will grant you access to DoAn Art Studio blog.  Donations can be made by clicking on the image link below:

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Kristi Petersen Schoonover said...

Nothing could have moved me more right now than reading this post, especially the comment regarding society's push to produce and turn everything into a commodity. I've grown a little bit disconnected because everything is pushing and moving so fast. It never occurred to me that I could, if I wanted to, just take a step back.

As always, great stuff!

Antony Galbraith said...

Thanks Kristi. I am so glad that you found resonance with my words and experience.

I think one of the most important things a creative person needs to do, and rarely does, is to understand what kind of creative person he or she wants to be. We tend to follow scripts that have been recorded into our brains, usually by non-creative people, about how we should build our creative career.

There is not one path, nor is it always about seeking galleries, publishers, Broadway theatres or Hollywood studios. For some, yes, that may be their path, but many of us, we are seeking something different. So first and foremost, any creative person needs to do some self reflection and determine for themselves what kind of creative career that he or she is designed for.

For me, that meant pulling out of the relentless pressure to produce and re-examine how I will utilize my creative energies that satisfy both me and serve a higher purpose at the same time.

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