“Inspiration exists, but is has to find you working.” Pablo Picasso
One of my first-year instructors at the American Academy of Art, was Mr. Krajecki, and he used to tell me, “Michael, you’ll find plenty of inspiration when you get hungry enough!” I remember sitting at a little wooden desk that had probably been used by art students in downtown Chicago for for more than fifty years before my rear end found its way to it. I had been given a design assignment and want to do something no one had every thought of before. Something that would cause Mr. Krajecki to take notice of my substantial talents. But the great ideas seemed to be living very far from where I was searching.
It was at that point that he came up beside me, and with a hand on my shoulder told me where to to find the inspiration I longed for. Mr. Krajecki wasn’t the first person to say someone like this, and he surely won’t be the last. And I have discovered that what these quotes espouse is absolutely true.
Simply put, as I give myself to working each and every day, sketching, drawing and painting everything and everyone around me, noticing and drawing and watching and painting day after day after day—as I give myself to this work I have never ever run dry of real inspiring inspiration.
The banana paintings I shared on an earlier post were a day just like this. I was at the studio and it was time to work. I didn’t have anything that had to be done that day and I didn’t want a day to go by when I was not painting. So I set them up on a table and set easels all around. And as I was waiting for one painting to dry I would start another from another point of view. I was a whole lot more fun that it probably looks!
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.” Chuck Close
This has been true in my life as an artist and it has been equally true in my walk of faith, following Jesus in my daily life. As I set aside the time each day to read the scriptures, to pray and interact personally with God, to reach out to others sharing my faith and praying for other’s needs—as I do this consistently day after day I have opportunities, I’ve place myself in a position to experience God’s presence in powerful ways.
And just like with my art, if I waited around to experience God’s presence before I went out, or if I waited to paint until I felt particularly artistic, there’s a whole lot of work that would never get accomplished. There’s a whole lot of what God is doing all around me that I would never get to join in on.
Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. Thomas Edison