Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working Pablo Picasso
A year and a half ago, my husband, Cam, and I flew over to Barcelona for a New Year’s week of adventure. In the raw cold days of early January, we traipsed the winding cobblestone streets, walked our way from seashore to the hills above, explored the entire thriving thrumming city. We were exhilarated, warmed up on wet thirty-five degree days by the creative fever of a forward-focused city filled with out-of-the box inspiration. Buildings, so alive and colorful and oddly shaped that they seemed like they could pick themselves up and dance with you, fashion that you just wanted to zip yourself into and laugh forever, art on walls, art on buildings, art in the music and the parades and the foods on your plate, art in the hearts of the lively people of an over the top city – it was all heady and inspiring, thrilling and new and unfinished, not a polished poem of a city, something colorful, playful, filled with whimsy and fun.
On one especially cold and rainy day, we found ourselves in the Picasso museum. It wasn’t any particular piece of art that inspired me. It was the whole of it, a small museum showcasing Picasso’s paintings, his journals, his pottery, showcasing how Picasso worked at his art, every day, how he tried new things, new mediums, and grew even more prolific as he aged. According to an essay I read in the museum, Picasso, in his nineties, died with a paintbrush in his hand. So, yes, Picasso, worked at his art, just as Gaudi did and Miro and the fashion designers and food creators and artists living today in Barcelona. When in the presence of this art, however, when witnessing Picasso’s process in his journals, I don’t sense a heaviness, a laborious kind of work. It was a joyful, passionate, letting-life-flow-through-you type of play.
I don’t want this blog to feel like pressure, that it has to be shiny and polished. I want it to be fun and forward-focused, a Barcelona-type song of exploration. How many times do the creative brainstorms arise, and we stop them for fear that they will not live up to our expectations? Creativity is the whoosh of life flowing through us, and it needs a vessel, a vehicle to find its expression. So, how fun to do the work that doesn’t need to seem like work at all – to set up that easel and canvas and make that first brushstroke, to put on your favorite music and dance your heart out, to sit down at the computer and just start typing up a blog for the day, for this day, a sunny July day in Upper Michigan where all of a sudden you find yourself back in Barcelona in the heart of winter, remembering how alive the unpolished living breathing art of life can be.