Monday, July 09, 2007

I'm Full of Questions....

What? How? Which? Questions are my constant companion recently. I've been buying books like a mad woman hoping that THIS one will give me the answers but it never does. What it does is give me more questions! I've come to the conclusion that I'm spending way too much time reading about art and not actually doing enough of it. I'm always trying to learn something new....that one thing that will be the spark that will ignite me. It hasn't happened yet. My biggest problem is I like everything.

Each new thing I see I want to try so I leave the unfinished item on the shelf and proceed to the newest and greatest....and once again I'm disappointed. Disappointed in myself for getting sidetracked, disappointed in whatever new thing it was this time because I never have the supplies needed which is amazing since I spend so much money on supplies!! Why is it that everything always takes that one thing I don't have? And it usually costs a small fortune to get!

I think about ancient people who had nothing but mud and a stick and yet they produced art that has survived for centuries. And here I sit surrounded by tons of stuff and I'm not producing anything!

Mostly I think I'm not inspired. Oh, I have all those books but I'm talking about face-to-face inspiration. Getting together with a group of friends, even one or two, and making art together. Learning how someone else does things. Seeing how someone else does things. I'm a visual learner. Show me or give me detailed pictures to follow and I'm usually ok.

Several years ago, when HB and I were still traveling in our RV, we spent the summer at a wonderful campground near Crystal Lake, IL....sadly the campground no longer exists. We had huge grassy spots, there were beautiful weeping willows, a pond right outside my front window, and a river just a little bit off to the side....I could see it from my side windows. It was a slice of heaven. Inspiring all on its own. While we were there I met my good friend, "K" (she's the one who is going to have serious surgery later this summer) and we learned that we both had a passion for creating. From that first day on through the entire summer, we spent most of our days out on the picnic tables creating. She taught me how to make paper, and how to stamp and emboss, I taught her about watercolors (what little I knew) and drawing and we both did collages. It was my best summer.

We both had so many ideas that summer that we could barely keep up. She would think of something and I would think of two more things and then it would go around again. We bounced things off each other and just kept coming up with more and more. I felt rich with ideas and accomplishments.

Then we left the area to move on. I've not found that same essence again. That's what I'm craving. That's what I need now. The blog world helps tremendously but there still isn't that last little bit of human connection. That's what I need. That's what I'm missing. And no matter how many books I buy....and believe me I buy a LOT of books....I can't get that human connection from one of them.

I'm not whining or complaining....I hope it doesn't come across like that....I'm simply stating what I've just realized is that missing thing I need. Do any of you out there also have this problem and if so how do you cope with it? How do you get that inspiration that comes from someone else sitting across from you if there isn't anyone there?


On a different subject....I have hummingbirds outside my patio doors all the time now. I spend a lot of time watching them zoom in, chase each other off, and gulp down sugar water by the gallons! Well, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little on the gallons! But they do drink a lot!

I've spent a fair amount of time standing as still as a statue with my little camera aimed at the feeder trying to capture them and mostly I get weird photos of blurs and air but I finally got one that shows a hummingbird!!! Not as closeup as I would like but I'll take it anyway....

Yesterday HB and I had our waffles out on the patio as we always do on Sunday morning and we sat and watched the hummingbirds. We even had two that just hung suspended right above the table looking at us! Luckily we were finished eating by then but I did grab my water and put my hand over it!! You just never know!!


  1. That perfectly serene campspot in IL sounds very inspirational in itself. The friend with which to share it was a beautiful bonus!

  2. I think you may just have nailed it. It is easier to rspond to someone who's right there, showingyou things and egging you on. I never realized. Yes, we all inspire each other via our blogs but there's nothing like sharing an iced tea and little converstion and a little work.

  3. fgcJanet I know what you mean about buying books and trying things out-having to buy new stuff because you don't have the main thing to make the project work,
    I think we are all the same in that way.
    I agree that we all need face to face contact with like minded people to encourage and feed off each other-and I must say I am very lucky in that I have about 10 ladies in my area and we meet 4 times a month doing different things at each meeting and we all bounce off each other(not physically).
    When you move things may change for you-I hope so anyway.

  4. You know, Janet. I think you may have hit it exactly. You are very much a people person. I think you and Beth share this as when you do stuff with a friend or family member is when you have the most creating going on.

    I think you need a friend to work with you, in person, as it frees you up. You know a lot of things, but I think you need that personal relationship to spark and DO you creative thing.

    Hummers are my favorite of all summer birds as they are so tiny. I used to hate it at a certain time of day the hummers would think their reflection (the sun must have been just right!) was challenging them to a fight and they would smack into the window and usually die, but the ones not caught that way would eat like crazy. And they only did it at certain times in the morning, too. It was a horrible sound.

  5. Janet,

    You were very patient to get that hummingbird shot! I never have been able to do that!

    And that summer with your fellow artist friend sounds just like a perfect and special time of your life.

    It's always good to share and spend time with one who has the same interests-whether it be creating art or listening to music or whatever-


  6. Girrrlll! I could have written that first part of your post! I feel the same way! I have all the books too! I have only recently gotten inspired as you know.It helped me when I went on my retreat. I always wish I had someone near to make art with! PS: I think those humming birds were after your waffle syrup! ha!

  7. Crystal Lake, Il.? My daughter lives right next door in Lake in the Hills. My hubby and I go up there a lot to see her and the children.

    Loved the picture of the hummingbird. The energy they expend flying in place....amazing.

  8. I agree/empathise entirely with the first part of your post Janet. I have this experience quite regularly. But then I tried to think in a different way - I just sat and started to create - nothing special, nothing 'thought out' - just perhaps sticking images on paper in a random fashion, or sewing random pieces of fabric together - that sort of thing - and sometimes I find that I start to create something from that process, something I created myself and inspired myself to do. It doesn't always work of course, but sometimes it does! I just got so fed up with looking at others art and not actually doing anything myself that I gave that up and tried just doing something!

    The part about needing others to bounce ideas with is so true and I don't know what you can do about that really, it's a problem I have too - most of my 'creative' pals are online and like you say, you really need that face to face contact don't you?

    I love the hummingbird photo - how wonderful to have hummingbirds in your garden - amazing!

  9. Me too Janet!! I feel the same... I have plenty of books too, but it's not quite the same as having someone there. I think we all need a friend like "K" with us all the time!!!

  10. I don't have any advice on the artistic front not being creative myself and also being much more of a loner than you are - is there some sort of art or craft group around where you might meet others who would give you the inspiration that you need?
    Lucky you to have humming birds - the only time I've ever seen them is in Canada at my aunt's house, I used to sit out and have my breakfast on her deck and watch the humming birds at her feeders. They are such beautiful fragile creatures.

  11. Janet you have answered your own Q. when you wrote that the best time creating was when you had a ~friend with you creating~ Perhaps you should sign up for courses where all of the creative spirits gather and learn together.Perhaps you may meet that ~special friend~ there!
    I had hummers come around previous summers but this year something has happened I have the feeder out and have changed the liquid repeatedly
    (1 part sugar 4 water) but still they don't stop??What do you feed them?? puzzled NG

  12. Don't you just love those lightbulb moments when you finally put a finger on what has been simmering in the background, but you cant fix it because you can't identify it?! Now that you know, it will be easy to fix, there are always groups, craft shops know who's who, they could help. It might also be that you need a purpose to create, not just to satisfy random creative urges, and then gather dust or be given away, but something that a store might buy, so that you are always being challenged to focus on and perfect that thing. A group and a goal, now there's a good prescription for what ails you! That bird is MAGIC!!! The more i see of your wonderful surroundings, the more amazed I am that your house hasn't been snapped up already! Houses are in such short supply here that 2 weeks is the average time on the market till it sells.

  13. I sure can relate to your post about the craft supplys, lol. I have way too much supplys but then I always don't have that one thing that I need, crazy isn't it? And I am always more inspired when Mom and I create together.
    My hummers are starting to come back now too. They take a short hiatus to mate and then they are back in full force.
    Stay cool as you can dear friend!

  14. What a lovely little bird Janet..arnt they precious?

    How do you get that inspiration that comes from someone else sitting across from you if there isn't anyone there?

    I sit in front of a mirror, she is always there to draw or look at.. If she's not playing, I go outside and find the smallest thing I can to draw and then the biggest.
    I draw from photos..
    I close my eyes and try to draw my hand or face without looking..
    I raid my stash draw and just gather like colours then create something from them..(This involves glue and is generally very
    I watch Lost with Cold stone ice cream and for some reason my urge for art is on temporary hiatus.
    Peace n fun, Kai xxx

  15. WOW!! Totally kewl hummer photo! I never see any here. Maybe it's too hot. We've plenty of bees in our jasmine, tho! Last hummer I saw was one that was trapped in the dust in the rafters in Home Depot's Garden Dept. (he got rescued) and who knows where he came from? Maybe even came in on a truckload of plants. Amazing photo you got!

  16. Anonymous12:28 PM

    Yes, I definately have that problem. I understand exactly what you are talking about. It's almost as if I could of written that! Where as I am first trying to cope with getting around. Next to that, I have that feeling often.Thank you for putting what I was feeling into words.
    I do not know the answer because I have not found a way to deal with that myself. I just ignore it or try to anyway. It doesn't always work.
    If I lived closer, I would suggest that we get together sometime and work on art. You are not alone.

  17. I LOVE to seee hummingbirds! They are tiny but great flyers!!! I have those same problems too Janet! Sometimes our MUSE wants a vacation I guess! LOL

  18. I know I defintitely like to have someone to work with and "bounce" ideas off of....but I REALLY need the "audience" reaction that I find a bit of through blogging. We love to see what you make!

  19. Ahhhhhhh a common struggle i have, not having that "local" friend to art with. I had one but she went away and at times i feel like a lonely 8 yr old, that last one to be picked for the kickball team and my heart cries. And other times i make myself go to my local scrapbook store and just sit. other times i go outside and gather my inspiration. It never seems to really do it for me, i miss that physical contact, moving away from my family and friends i would have to say being alone has become my normal no one understands why i do my art. but that's ok. I can say i understand and empathize with you. I wish i was there and we could share a glass of iced tea and some giggles and do some doodle art. I bet we could do some fabo doodle art. I have an idea wanna do a mail art doodle swap. I send you a beginning doodle art and you add to it and we could go back and forth a few times. Playing off each other's ideas???? Let me know. I just know i get it.


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