“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too,” Isabel Allende urged.
Yes, Isabel is spot on...the muse will eventually find you if you keep showing up. Last week I showed up but still felt uninspired and struggled to make the first mark on my canvas. For the past couple of years boats have been my favorite subject and since I have several coastal galleries that works well. This week the canoes just weren't floating my proverbial boat! I had a bad case of artist block. In frustration, I asked out loud 'What should I paint?'. Almost immediately I heard that still small voice within whisper 'Take your sketchbook to the Kissing Bench.'
The Kissing Bench, as it's fondly known around here, is an old Adirondack love seat that's been around 20 plus years. It was looking a little ratty in the front yard garden so I got my son to drag it down into the woods on the far end of our pond. It sits in a perfect spot shaded by a dogwood tree, close to the water's edge and perfectly positioned for watching the sun set. Of course if you have the right company, it's a perfect place to smooch.
Most of my sketching is done propped up in bed just before turning out my light at night. I can count on one hand the times I've sketched outside in 35 years of being a professional artist. I don't think I have EVER sketched in my back yard! That said, when I get these little promptings, I've learned to trust them. I grabbed my sketchbook and pencil, tromped down the hill then headed down the trail. The Kissing Bench welcomed me and I plopped down to wait for my next clue. Almost immediately images of angels began poring from my pencil. I love painting angels but haven't painted many since I gave up encaustics (hot wax painting) a few years ago. Angels quickly filled the pages of my sketchbook and I had a crystal clear vision of how I would make them.
I started the first angel that day but one thing and another interfered with my studio time and I spent several days away chomping at the bit to get back to my easel. When I finally cleared my schedule and returned to the studio, the angels flowed effortlessly. I was in the flow...enthusiastically creating with grace and ease.
I have always believed each of us has a team of angels working on our behalf watching, helping and guiding. Looking back to the Kissing Bench, it was as if the angels themselves were whispering 'paint us, paint us'! If you are lucky enough to hear the whispers of angels, listen. You never know the wonderful places they may lead you!