Yesterday I saw the cutest thing: two young girls on the path outside my house, battling with an umbrella that was turning contortions in the strong spring winds, and giggling like they were about to burst. Each time they turned the umbrella out of the wind and it righted itself, they would hold it again to catch the wind until it popped out of shape like a fleeing jellyfish. And they'd laugh and shriek some more. They trashed the umbrella, but they had so much fun doing it.



Sitting in our homes or offices waiting for inspiration to strike is akin to locking ourselves in a vault and wondering why we are running out of oxygen. Nine times out of ten we need to create our own inspiration. As Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way’ said about creativity in an interview: “If we keep waiting for the perfect mood, we’re going to end up starved.”


So we need to reconnect with the playfulness in us that we sometimes forget about when we take life (or ourselves as artists) too seriously.

  • Get out in the wind with an umbrella and fight it just for fun.
  • Go for a walk in the rain and notice the invigorating smells.
  • Sit on the lawn after dark and see what collects around the porch light.
  • Go for a walk and feel the texture of different tree bark as you go. Who cares what people think. They probably think all artists are barking mad anyway, so why not give them something to enrich their lives as well?

As inspirational writer and artist SARK (Sarah Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) says, “Live Juicy!”


How do you reconnect with the creative ‘you’? And where does creativity come from?

Views: 187

Comment by Thaneeya McArdle on September 16, 2011 at 1:45pm

Hi Meg,

A sense of playfulness is indeed such an important part of creativity!  I find that doodling is a great way to loosen up, both physically and mentally, because doodles are not meant to be taken seriously.  They're just fun and relaxing... and sometimes (oftentimes!) the most amazing art can spring out of doodles.  Just setting pen (or pencil) to paper, and letting it wander where it will...

I have several sketchbooks and anytime I need a dose of creativity or a visual idea to play with, I look in one of my sketchbooks and I'm instantly reminded of all my past ideas.  In that way, a sketchbook is the spark that can get me going creatively if I'm otherwise drawing a blank.

Thanks for the thought-provoking blog post!

Comment by Meg Mackenzie on September 16, 2011 at 4:00pm

Thanks, Thaneeya. Thomas Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiraton, ninety-nine percent perspiration." He mean us to see that it's putting in the hard work, not talent or bright ideas, that make brillian things happen. But to read it another way, inspiration doesn't happen all that often, compared to simple hard graft. Therefore, we need to capture our inspiration when it comes, like you do with your sketchbooks.

I like the idea of doodles, too, to free the mind. I'm always dashing of odd little cartoons about moments or situations. It keeps my brain tapped into that creative place.

Do you find that you are getting ideas in your sketch books to a completed from, after you look there for inspiration, or do you just use them to move on to other ideas?

Comment by Andrea Santee on September 16, 2011 at 11:18pm
I love these ideas. Yes, playfulness!! and doodling..once, about 30 years ago, I was sitting in a resutrant just visiting with friends and I was doodling on a napkin, not really paying attention to what I was doing at all. I had covered the napkin in all sorts of shapes and different shades of blue from the ink, and while I was looking at it a fellow came over and said that he really liked what I had done and if I would sign it he would buy it!!! I was very surprised but of course I did sign it and he did buy it!! I think of that often when I am not feeling creative energy flowing thru me so begin doodling. Also I love color, lots of it and when I look at naure's colors that gets me going. But the one thing that I had to become aware of is that I must be emotionaly and mentaly open and willing to let  the creativness flow from within me to the without...I pushed it away for so long...but now, well I am loving it!!
Comment by Meg Mackenzie on September 17, 2011 at 10:01am
Wow, what an amazing story, Andrea. Thanks for sharing. You are so right about letting creative flow through us. I also find nature's colours inspiring. And light. Light at different times of day and night thrills the heck out of me.
Comment by Starr White on September 18, 2011 at 3:47pm
This is so wonderful, Meg.  You are so right.  Inspiration is all around us if we just take the time to look around us and really 'see' what is there.  You must be proactive if you want ideas to come.  They're not going to just pop into your head out of thin air most of the time.  And I often find that one idea brings forth a torrent of other ideas.  My main inspiration comes from nature.  It is an endless source of fascination, reverence, and inspiration for me.
Comment by Meg Mackenzie on September 18, 2011 at 10:06pm
Starr, you are so right about 1 idea creating or attracting others. It's like the blockage coming out of the neck of the tomato sauce bottle and everything ending up covered in creativity! I am so glad that you live so close to your beautiful woods when they are such an inspiration to you!


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