I look out the window and the desert is all faded yellows and browns. At least those are the predominant colors. The skies are whitened with high clouds. The world, my world, seems in transition.
Oddly, I always seem to slide into a funk after Halloween. Forgetting that this happens every year, until it is upon me. Maybe it's just a bit of grief for the passing of October. Can you grieve a month? Why not. So, I sit here with weighty decisions hovering over my head. (But that's another post. If ever.)
I guess this is just the blues, before shifting into full holiday mode in less than a month. Holidays are ok, in and of themselves, but it seems they are way more complicated than I remember. Again, I am touching on another of many things that plague my thoughts today.
I guess I came here to bitch. But even that seems way too much to ask of this day. So, I will watch the jack-o-lantern shrivel in the afternoon sun and maybe put on some soulful music, something old. Then I'll grab a pencil and draw, something new. Drawing works wonders for the soul. Always has. Trust that.
I am not big on astrology, but then I don't know a lot about it. And one shouldn't knock something that they truly haven't investigated. Right? So, from what I have read, we just got out of Mercury Retrograde. Three weeks of havoc, especially in communications. I am inclined to believe this is true. March was not my best month. Actually, all of 2019, so far, has been kind of wonky.
Creatively speaking, I am not sure I have finished anything really stellar this year. (Pun intended.) I have been bouncing back and forth between feeling somewhat stuck, to feeling creatively flooded, with ideas coming from everywhere. So much so, that I can't seem to settle on any one direction. While this is not totally unusual, my artistic endeavors have definitely been a bit more chaotic. As artists or as anyone these days, it's not uncommon to find ourselves burning the candle at both ends, but this has not felt normal.
But March is almost behind us and Mercury is back on track, so now I should be able to settle down and start producing something of consequence. Yes? Although, as I write this, I notice the wind is blowing like crazy right now. Spring winds always make me so...restless.
I am often asked, who is my Muse. Who is that person I keep drawing over and over? And to be honest, when this question comes up I cringe a little. Because I don't have a good answer. I mean it is easy to say it is just imagination or memory or whatever, but the truth is, I just don't know. However, I can tell you who my Muse is not. It is not any one individual. It is not someone I know or have known, at least not consciously. And it’s not even someone I hope to meet in the future. What I do know, is how it shows up.
For example, in my ‘Morning Sketches’ (find them here on Instagram), I draw until I recognize something. Often it just starts as a feeling, a kind of excitement. It might just be the way the paper is taking the graphite that morning or the way certain tonal values or lines begin to vibrate. But it’s definitely when things really start to make sense. And then I draw until I feel an emotional connection to the piece. I bet you creatives out there, regardless of your medium, know exactly what I am talking about. Right? It’s that feeling you get when you know you are in the groove, the flow. And always, at some point, the drawing/painting/poem takes over and becomes what it needs to be. Or maybe, you become what you need to be, for it to all come together. That is the paradox, right?
But what is it exactly that I recognize? That seems so familiar? I can’t help but believe, it is our life experiences that drive us to create, in the first place. Things like loss, negativity, and sadness, and for that matter, positive aspects of our lives, tend to accumulate in the bones. And for us to grow, they eventually have to spill out somewhere. I suppose you could call it spiritual growth or spiritual healing or just plain letting go. Whatever you call it, I believe it’s necessary and Art is one vehicle that allows this to happen. But Art is also reciprocal.
How often do you hear a song and know without a doubt it was written for your situation. The artist somehow captured the exact thing you are going through in that particular moment. Whether it be a heartbreak or whatever other catastrophe just landed on your doorstep, the lyricist seemed to know. And how often do you recognize yourself in a drawing or painting. Maybe not the likeness, but the emotion. So, Art is the great connector.
And maybe that is the simple answer. The Muse is that connection. The connection we all share. Often someone will tell me they see themselves in my work. I am not sure there could be any greater compliment. So, maybe the next time someone asks me, who is your Muse, I think I could safely say, it's probably you.
Who is your Muse? What drives you to create? And perhaps more importantly, what hinders your creativity?
Pat Greenwell is an artist. A painter and sometimes poet, he has been searching the New Mexico desert for several years now, looking for lost possibilities and probable intentions.
"...mostly stream-of-consciousness stuff, you know...