1. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity
2. An agency, such as a person or work of art, that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.
3. Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea, that is inspired.
4. The quality of inspiring or exalting: a painting full of inspiration.
5. Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Like so many words in the English dictionary, there are quite a few definitions for the word “inspiration”. My personal favorite is #2:
or prompts action or invention.”
When I took a closer look at the definition of inspiration, I realized what an amazing force it is. By definition, inspiration is something which “moves the intellect or emotions” i.e., something which goes to the core of us, something that speaks to us on a deep and intrinsic level. Furthermore, inspiration is defined as something which “prompts action or invention”, i.e., something which propels us to take action, something which encourages us to do different and/or see something we hadn’t seen before. No wonder we artists are always seeking it!!!
Whether we’re looking to be inspired in terms of color, texture, composition, technique or image…we’re always looking, always searching!!! We peruse websites, flip through magazines and wander the halls of museums and galleries; sometimes we find it, sometimes we don’t.
On the days that we are lucky enough to find it, what do we do with it?
I don’t know about you, but 9 times out of 10, I get so many ideas and thoughts swirling in my mind, I’m not sure what to do or even where to start! And then suddenly, my moment of pure excitement quickly turns into utter frustration…
Why does this happen? Why is it that whenever I’m not sure what to do, doubt sets in (like when I tell myself, “I could never create something as beautiful, wonderful and/or inspiring as that!”) and I can’t create anything?
I think it happens because first and foremost, inspiration is not to be copied; it is not an act of simply recreating that which we see and/or experience. It is instead, a process…a process which requires us to think before taking action. A process which enables us to integrate our own thoughts and style with that which we’ve seen and/or experienced.
This, I believe, is the challenge of inspiration…finding ways to make what we see — that which moves our intellect and prompts us into action — “our own”. Because as artists (of any kind!), we are driven to leave our mark on the world…we are driven to create, not copy.
I find this subject fascinating and full of possbility, so I think I’ll be exploring more of it here on my site over the next couple of months…
As always…your questions and comments are always welcome!