Who am I to keep babbling, week after week, about inspiration and creativity when I neglect to nurture my own creative impulses? It’s a constant state with me. Although I’m the art model, I want to draw and paint a little too. People encourage me to do so all the time. And I have a sketchbook. But what have I done about it? Nothing. I have an old end table that I want to restore and decorate with a mosaic inlay. I know how to do mosaic, but what have I done about this particular project? Nothing. Have I even bought the tiles or designed the template? Of course not. I want to get a flower press so I can decoratively preserve the many pretty wildflowers that grow here in my remote little corner of Queens. What have I done about it? Once again, nothing. I even saw a great flower press online on a craft supplies website. It was just begging to be ordered. Did I get out my credit card and order the damn thing? Of course not. I’m also a crocheter, with a box full of beautiful imported yarns and printouts of patterns. What have I crocheted in the last six months? Nada. I believe I have three rows of what was the early stages of a winter scarf. And now it’s April.
Projects. Ideas. Little artistic “visions”. Creative seeds. They slumber in the recesses of my mind, trapped in oblivion. They are subjugated in a most demeaning fashion to the “back of the line”, in a hierarchy of “things to do”. They sit there . . . waiting. Waiting for their “turn”. Waiting to be called but only after “higher priority” things are taken care of first, like “get car inspected”, “replace burned out lightbulbs in basement”, “call Alexis at Cooper Union”, and “do tax returns” (which I did today, by the way).
It’s only the last few days that I’ve had an epiphany of sorts. Why do I, a very dedicated artists’ model whose passion for her work is deep and unshakable, harbor this procrastinating attitude toward other creative things I really, really want to do? Why can’t I “pounce” into them the way I “pounce” into a pose? I think I know why. It’s because I separate them in my mind. I demote them to another “category”, and make the false assumption that the inspiring feeling, though enjoyable, will be of a lower grade than that of my modeling. Thus the motivation is less focused, fleeting even. I get all psyched for a day or two, and then, poof, it’s gone – temporarily. Whereas my desire to do art modeling never goes anywhere. It never even takes a nap.
But I seem to require a separate catalyst for those other forms of creativity, one that has enough staying power so that I can at least carry the thing out to its completion. It’s my own fault because it’s in my head; this notion that doing some sketching, or mixed media or a stencil on my bedroom wall or restoring an old wooden end table, that they’re all “nice ideas” that genuinely interest me, but they’re not the same as art modeling, and therefore cannot hold up against such stiff competition. Or can they???
The joy and excitement of an idea hatching, an emotion poking its way out of its shell, a vision hungering to be conveyed – they’re all fluid and transmutable. They exist regardless of a chosen medium or craft, style, skill, or technique. Those are mere vehicles, and are really just incidental to the impulse; the desire to communicate something, to express something, to create something of beauty. Doesn’t matter if it manifests itself in painting a jewelry box, embroidering a pillow, molding a clay sculpture, or doing a series of graceful, inspiring gesture poses for 20 glorious minutes on a modeling platform. It’s all the same thing.
I want to restore that end table. I want to very much. It’s lovely, but I can make it lovelier. And how I will cherish it when it’s done.
Here’s an interview snippet from the late, great John Lennon- a man I have worshipped my whole life and am kind of in love with (sorry, Yoko, but he’s MiNE! He’s MINE I tell ya!). He has such a soothing, sexy voice, and I could listen to him for hours. Here’s a touch of wisdom and philosophy on the creative process from John. I just love the way he pronounces the word “records”: