The Dirty Work of Inspiration
“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. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”
― Chuck Close
I loved seeing this unique advertisement for someone sharing their abilities and gifts in their business of lawn care, gardening & landscaping.
"Dirt is my Art."
Does it get any better than this?
This person knows what they love, they have practiced it, they are good at it and they have chosen to go pro! Who knows how long they have been practicing this art to get to the point as to boldly, simply and beautifully proclaim the words, Dirt is my Art?!
Today a friend shared the above quote with me from painter, Chuck Close. I couldn't believe how perfectly it fit with this picture. Not only is it possible for Dirt to be someone's Art, but the act of inspiration truly is found more in the act of getting down and dirty with your work than it is found waiting and wondering. You know the phrase, "Get your hands dirty"? I think it has a lot to do with this thought. It is most often in the doing that we learn, grow, develop.
You don't learn to read when you are child by thinking about how much you would like to learn to read. You practice. You read. You learn new words. You learn how the letters sound and work together to create new sounds. You read aloud. You read quietly. Your parents & teachers & babysitters & grandparents read to you. Then you read to them. You practice reading for years. Your resolve to learn in your mind, leads to actions to learn, along with a community of support through this process. The same as your art.
Some of us have things like dyslexia that make reading more of a challenge early on and sometimes in our later years of life we need eyeglasses as our vision begins to decline, what was once easy becomes challenging again. So thus, we go through cycles. But we don't get anywhere when we just wonder or think about how we would like to do fill-in-the-blank. How silly would it be if we told ourselves, 'Nah, I'm not going to try to learn to read, after all, I'm going to get old one day and not be able to see to do it any more, so what is the point?' Would you really want to miss out on everything in between? The sweet stuff of the journey?
Things occur when you get to the dirty work, of simply doing the work.
A magical thing often happens in this process.
Something becomes a joy to work on and with and thus feels like play.
Over time, you get better... and then... you realize it is your Art.
Whatever it is that your hands find joy in doing...
To others it may look like Dirt, but you know different.
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