Get around


Not to push the Monday Morning Muse off its notch, but I thought of a question when making my morning blog rounds today.

Ester over at Daily Drawings mentions traveling the city in search of new drawing material.  Lately, I’ve been doing the same thing – traveling to new places I haven’t seen, or revisiting favorites, taking pictures, making notes, and just soaking it all in.

Last month I recommended getting out of your element as a good way to jumpstart creativity.  So now I’m curious – where do you like to go to soak up new material?  The city?  The country?  The backyard?  Nowhere in particular?

I know writers who head for coffee shops to soak up conversations, musicians who travel to cities to extract the rhythm from the pulse of the day, and visual artists who visit the museums to see what’s come before.

Where do you go to find new inspirational material?

8 Responses to Get around

  1. Bernita says:

    If I can’t get out I read poetry or dig into art magazines for paintings that allow the mind to travel.

  2. jason evans says:

    Visual cues really work for me. One thing I wish I could more, though, is write “on location.” I can capture far more nuance in a scene if I’m able to write as I’m experiencing it.

  3. JLB says:

    Bernita, absolutely – magazines, books, and these days online materials are great escapes. I love that about connecting online – I get to see and read the work of writers and artists from all walks of life.

    Jason, visual cues help me too, which is what inspired the Monday Morning Muse feature. Writing on location can be really helpful, because it prevents all those lovely details from slipping away when we write hours later. I love traveling, because sometimes even a few miles away there can be a whole new scene from which to draw new perceptions.

  4. Ester says:

    Last night I went to my fav book store and poured over a magazine that had really juicy info on the way other artists work – very inspiring stuff. When I drive around in search of fun things to draw, I turn off the brain censors that would normally tell me to stick to what I know. I drive around to parts I’ve never seen before, and get myself lost, and it’s always so refreshing. I’ve even considered making myself an “Atlanta Sketchbook” which would force me to open my eyes more to what makes up the beautiful city!

  5. JLB says:

    Ester, sounds like a great article! I agree with the “getting lost” method of inspiration. Whether it’s in a crowd, a place, or our minds, it can really be helpful to let go of those “brain censors” you mentioned and just be – and the sit back and see what comes our way!

  6. Ester says:

    I recently picked up the book called “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” – you may have heard of it. In it, I saw a quote that I thought might be appropriate for anyone interested in accessing a more creative state of mind for writing:

    “In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is to surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have visualized, you probably hunt about till you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one’s meaning clear as one can through pictures or sensations.” – George Orwell “Politics and the English Language,” 1968

    I found that interesting. And another quote that I heard once in college from a professor (saying that this quote came from Michaelangelo) – “Pull inspiration from the cracks”. Meaning that inspiration is everywhere we look, we just simply have to open our eyes to the beauty.

  7. marcail says:

    I find a good walk about great for uncluttering the mind and moving into a different zone. I think it has something to do with repetitive motion being hypnotic.

    On a different note, I have a pretty good spark if my dream state is active. Fatigue seems result in more dreams that I can recall.

  8. JLB says:

    Ester, thanks for sharing those quotes!

    I like the wayt that the first quote addresses the artistic and creative processes directly… breaking it down into “steps” one can take in the act of looking in order to translate those thoughts into an art – written or otherwise. I remember when I took a basic drawing class years ago… the most important thing I learned wasn’t really the technique and tools so much as it was the ways of looking that allow the artist to translate what s/he sees/visualizes into a picture, or other work.

    As for the second – that’s just lovely (and so appropriate!)

    Marcail, I am right there with you on a good walk. Walks are guaranteed to inspire me, and at the very least clear my head. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a certain phrase, idea, image, etc., I’ll work it out on a walk. And dreaming – oh yes… I love to use dreams as tools of creation!

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