As an artist, I am constantly spending energy creating something from nothing. There is an ongoing challenge to put paint on a canvas in a way that will compel my collectors to look closer, see things in a new way. While most of the time my ideas for paintings come easily, there will be the occasional dry period, where it feels like every idea has been played out, nothing holds my attention. During these times, its best to get out of the studio and see, or do something new.
Even if you are not an artist, you will find that many of life’s endeavors take creativity and a fresh eye. Whether you are redecorating a room in your home, planting a garden, or planning a fundraiser, getting out and away from your work environment might be just the trick to get those creative juices going. Never underestimate the power of a new adventure, and don’t be afraid to try some thing new. Exploration is what shaped the west my friends, let’s not let that part of us die, if we do, we will be terribly uninteresting and uninspired.
Here in the north east valley, we have an abundance of beautiful places we can visit to see how God has designed our world. Recently, after the snow had fallen fresh on our surrounding mountains, I headed down to one of my favorit e places, the Salt River, to get a view of Four Peaks. I was not disappointed, and if you go to the river, you won’t be either.
There are several recreation sites you can explore from the Bush Highway to see the Salt River, each will give a unique experience of the river. Go at different times of day as well. I like to go on a weekday morning when it is less crowded. Take your time and look at the beautiful stones along the water, the pieces of wood that have washed ashore, and the blue sky against Red Mountain. This is a great place to look at color. You may even want to help yourself to a beautiful rock that catches your eye, so wear something with pockets. I used a bucket full of rocks from the river to inspire the color scheme for my home. Also, on some days you can see bald eagles or wild horses near the river. Now if that doesn’t inspire the heart, I don’t know what will. I love the Bull Dogs at sunset (the ‘Bull Dogs’ are jagged hills at the last view point before Saguaro lake, not your neighbors dogs howling when they want their dinner) I don’t normally paint landscapes but this view inspired a small painting a few years back. It serves as a reminder of those beautiful hills while I am working in the studio. If you sit a while and look at this sight you will enjoy the sounds of the water rushing over rocks, the shimmer of the cotton woods, or the screech of a hawk. Be still, take it in. The river never looks the same way twice.
Sometimes a quite moment alone in creation can spark the genius idea you’ve been waiting for, but if you are like me, and you don’t write it down, it will vanish into thin air. I carry a small journal with me when I venture out. Just writing down my impressions of a scene, while I am thinking them, can serve me later when I am stuck in a rut. Also, this goes with out saying, but take your camera along! A 0Afriend recently chastised me for not bringing my camera on a very important adventure. He said “Never, never, leave the camera behind!” It’s true, you may miss a moment that you will want to refer to later, after the day has faded, and the river has changed course, again.
So there is your assignment for the week. Go see something new. Get some perspective. When you arrive home, you may have a new solution for the task before you. Use what you gather on your adventure to inspire you. Use your notes, your photographs. Take the rock you found at the river and set it next to your computer. When you look at it, you’ll smile and remember your inspirational day. I am smiling right now.