looking for my muse

Creatively, I’m in a bit of a funk right now.

April was a really good month for being arty and exploring new ideas. In that month alone, I:

  • Created and framed a book ‘sculpture’;
  • Started (and made good progress on) a Triptych in oils;
  • Designed three really cool website samples;
  • Sculpted & kit-bashed 3 gribbly alien Enslavers;
  • Began sculpting some even more gribbly Krynoids.

So a productive (if geeky!) month.

Now I’m feeling a bit listless. Have I shot my creative wad, so to speak? Did I craft too much, too soon?

Am I metaphorically rolling on my side and lighting a cigarette?

It’s not too bad I guess, I have still been painting my little Games Workshop models. The approach has been more ‘batch painting’ than getting a master crafted finish on each one, however. Still, progress of sorts.

I haven’t been able to get to finish my Triptych, it’s still as I left it when last I posted:

panel 2

Truth be told, I’m vain and paranoid (an attractive combination…really) and need constant re-assurance that what I do is good, or even okay. Or even slightly less than rubbish.

The reaction to my paintings (which are intended for a babies’ nursery) has been so far… underwhelming.

But really, what do I expect? People are seeing unfinished work. The people who’ve seen them so far are my friends, who I would want to be honest with me.

I think the feeling is that the style is too grown-up, slightly too dark to be fun and jolly for a baby.

I get that. I really do. I’ve always gone for the twist. I seek the darker seam in any material, and I guess that then filters back into my own work.

So that leaves me with something of a painter’s block. I desperately want to get these paintings finished, but I have little creative drive to get my oil paints back out of their box and finish some paintings that will attract at best indifference, at worst horror and a ritual bonfire at the hand of the recipients.


Missing muse.

Failing that, your tips. What do you do when your creative spark deserts you?

8 responses to this post.

  1. I’m not sure I have a creative spark, I haven’t blogged a decent blog in ages, though I find a run, or a walk, or a shower helps clear my mind when I need to think, but this isn’t about me, it’s about you. It’s your blog.

    Ok, I have contributed to the underwhelming reaction, my “looks like that old Vitalite advert” line went down like an anvil in a septic tank. But it was well meant. Really, it was.

    The tryptich is great and you shoud finish it. I’ve got £5 says that if you painted something bright and jolly it would stay up for a few years then get taken down when the room gets turned from a nursery to a bedroom and redecorated with wallpaper and bedspread full of Ben 10, The Power Rangers or whatever kids go mental for on CBBC in a few years time. The pictures will live longer than a nursery.

    Those pictures have a longevity that will keep them around for years into adulthood. Who was your favourite author as a child? I loved Roald Dahl, plenty did, because his stories were a bit dark and gruesome and there’s plenty of authors that kids love because they are like that. It’s normal, that’s why the pictures will have a a long life beyond the nursery.

    They’re not too grown up, they’re not too dark, they’re not unsuitable for a baby or nursery, they just don’t look the same as every other thing you see on CBeebies. They’re different, and they’ll last a hell of a lot longer than a poster of Peppa Pig, Iggle Piggle, Tinky Winky or whatever some bloke tripping on LSD comes up with for kids.

    So you might as well get on and finish them. What better present for a baby than one that can stay with you all your life.


    • Hey Colin, I really didn’t take your specific comment to heart, honestly.

      Thank you for thinking that the painting is worth persevering with, I will get back to them, and make something I’ll be proud to give.


  2. When my muse deserts me I do one of two things. If I don’t even want to be creating (a state of being that doesn’t happen too often, but that I’ve come to accept is part of life’s ups and downs) I don’t force it. Better to stop than plug on with something and potentially ruin it. If I find I’ve dried up with one particular project I do something else for a while ~ I choose whatever calls to me next.

    Some may see this as just constantly starting new things and never getting anything done. I choose to see it as following my muse, or whichever one of The Muses is calling at that time.

    Your painting is stunning (as I beleive I’ve told you on several occasions). It is a beautiful and wonderful (in the literal sense of full of wonder) thing. I agree whole-heartedly with Colin that it is something that will grow with Ricie.

    That said, if the muse is not calling, do something else for a while. Baby won’t mind if it’s welcome gift comes a little later and that way you can make it something you and truly proud of, and something you enjoyed creating.


    • Kate, thank you.

      I think that’s it. There isn’t one Muse, there are many. My Muse for oil painting has left as quickly as she returned. But she’ll be back, in her own time.

      My geeky muse for sci-fi robots and aliens is with me at the moment, so rather than rue her being in control of my creativity, I should just flow with it.

      It all comes good in the end.

      As far as a gift for Ricie, then it’s true, it doesn’t have to be with him/her from day zero, it can be a gift given when they can begin to appreciate it. When the baby can begin to see faces, for instance.


  3. Posted by Captain caveman on June 3rd 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! Triffids!


  4. Posted by thetrickykid on June 5th 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Two things from me for finding your muse :

    1) As kate says above, follow the craft or direction that you want to the most, create what you want to create. Do some work just for you, for the artistic purity of it. Do the work that you perhaps regard as a little frivolus, or playful. Put new restraints on yourself, maybe use a new material, or a new area of creativity. (but stear clear of Pinflair and scrapbooking, the lower forms of craft expression) Try out a new style. Do a giant Rolf style superfast “can you tell what it is yet” on a board or some lining paper. And then, once you’ve got a pile of new ways and things, I’m sure there will be some aspect to explore further. When you follow the path of your heart, errr, I guess you get your hearts desire.

    If it were an opinion, and I don’t want to force one upon you, but if it were…. I’d like to see you doing something more impresionistic, or mechanistic, or monotone or textural or sculpture. You have a great style, but I’d like to see it from another angle. Let it all hang a bit lose for a while.

    2) And this one from me – Open yourself to inspiration. Lay yourself at the feet of the world and your muse will surely find you.

    Don’t lose the fun. You’ll end up cutting your ear off “Mr Sunflowers”.

    F.W.I.W. I love the sunflower trio. I think it can be hard to talk about art, I suspect that’s why you feel the reponse is limp. Yes we love them, yes they are really good. But then to talk about how the painting effects the soul, or the feelings it brings to us, or what you understand of the painter from the work? … well, I think that kind of talk is more a face to face thing than a blog comment. Take a chill pill chum, they are appropriate AND they’re deeply cool.


    • Thank you theTrickyKid,

      Glad you like what I’ve done so far, and want to see them finished. I will get these bad-ass flowers painted!

      “I’d like to see you doing something more impresionistic, or mechanistic, or monotone or textural or sculpture. You have a great style, but I’d like to see it from another angle. Let it all hang a bit lose for a while.”

      Totally agree. I do have a distinct style which is usually…polished. I’ve always been a fan of completely hiding the brush-strokes. Weirdly though, my more experimental pieces, or those where I try to stay looser and more fluid are the ones I’m more pleased with.

      So expect more, and more varied work to appear on this blog. I’ll share my failures and successes.


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