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Finding Your Muse

I find that people are often intimidated by the thought of making art—like it’s something that only a select, chosen few can do. However, I believe that with a little bit of inspiration and a couple of supplies, anyone can enjoy making art. But how do you find your muse, and will you even know when you’ve found it?

Music is my primary muse, becoming nearly essential for my painting experience. There’s something magical that happens when I lose myself to music, singing along and painting to the beat without a thought or a care. In high school, I’d throw a towel on the floor, turn on some music videos, and paint away. Back then, I painted precise portraits, but the feeling is the same now, perhaps even more intense due to the expressive nature of my current style—that feeling of freedom, like my soul is singing. For me, that’s the difference between a painting that works and a painting that doesn’t: a little bit of soul in the painting.

I choose music that makes me move, be that physically, emotionally, or a little of both. Generally, my playlist helps me set a mood for my paintings or simply helps me lose myself in my art. But occasionally, I’ll let a song or an album direct my art more literally. For example, I created a painting while listening to nothing but The Cure’s dark masterpiece Pornography and let the despair, mania, and frustration of the music direct my colors, strokes, and techniques.

Red, black, and yellow expressive painting inspired by The Cure's "Pornography" album

I didn’t have a clue how it would turn out, but I did it because that album affects me more than anything I’ve ever listened to, and I wanted to see what it would inspire.

For me, the connection between art and music was something that I stumbled upon. I also tend to be affected by nature, especially when the weather changes—muddy paintings when the rain comes, frosty paintings when the temperature drops, bright paintings when the sun comes back. Others find inspiration through traveling, family and friends, or other artists. It’s not always a conscious choice, and that’s been a key for finding my own muses: a willingness to listen to myself.

So, everyone out there searching for a muse (or just interested in experimenting with the creative process), I challenge you to listen to your instincts and urges:

  • What colors and materials are speaking to me right now?

  • What kind of brush strokes does my hand want to make?

  • What music moves me right now?

  • What can I just not get out of my head?

Don’t overthink it, and allow yourself to experiment while freeing yourself from a desired outcome. Happy creating!

What are your muses, and how did you find them? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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