Picking up an Acorn

I am often asked what it is like to be a creative spirit. Over time, I have developed ways to nurture creative thoughts so that they become useful elements of my artistic work.

For example, I recommend that you look at any book and find a phrase that speaks to you. Stop there and store that phrase in your mind’s eye. Walk about with it. Dream of it. Turn it over in your mind’s eye, until gradually an image emerges. Or, take a stroll and let all your thoughts of day-to-day stress float out as you breathe. When your mind is empty, begin to fill it up with the sights, sounds and details of your surroundings. Play with an idea like “curves”, until connections occur — the tracks of a skier making calligraphy in the snow; the bend of a beloved child’s neck seen in profile; waves and ripples in the sand; the course of a clock’s pendulum swing.

Sometimes these moments of inner fermentation happen without prompting. Suddenly, there is an idea, formed, it would seem, by itself. Often upon waking, I realize there is a new gift waiting for me, an imaginative concept that wants to be played with. All that is needed is the time and space to play. 

However, often the ideas grow in connection with a prompt from one’s daily activities, visual impressions, musical passages one has heard, or response to world events, local news or family changes. It could be the smell of something that transports you back in time, like Proust and his madeleines. It could be the sound of a favorite sonata and the language it speaks directly to your heart. It could be the view of a mountain range, glowing with warmth before the sun sets on its peaks and valleys. It could be as simple as picking up an acorn from the leaves of fall and pocketing it to take to the studio.

The key is to listen to one’s inner responses to life as life happens and to develop personal conversations with yourself. It is these conversations which feed the creative spirit and which can become the germ of new work.

Pick up an acorn and take it to your creative place. See what magic happens.

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