Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Stape, from Samantha

Below is an actual e-mail I have received. I have changed the name to protect the identity of its sender. I never imagined I would get a real Ann Landers sort of question, (cause I'm wicked edgy, just look at the picture!) but I will take a shot at it!

Hi, Stapleton...
I know this may not be the type of question you'd like to address, but it's something that deeply concerns me at this point. Please consider responding on your blog. Here it is:

How can an artist cope with the loss of their inspiration? Especially...what do you do when you have lost contact with the one person who deeply moves and inspires you and your work? I have been encouraged to not let that person whatever form that takes...Have you ever lost someone who motivates and pushes you in your art?

I guess I'm asking several things...I have recently been cut off from the only person I have ever loved deeply. I want to continue creating work, but I feel so saddened...I'm at such a loss that I hardly know how to move forward. I want to win his heart back...that may or may not happen, but I know that as times goes by, I still need to be living life and creating. I know it's what I'm meant to do. It's a struggle without him beside me. Art and God have healed my heart I'm hopeful! I'm just wondering your thoughts on the matter....Thank you for your blog; I have enjoyed it to the max!


Dear Samantha

I can tell you are hurting. I don't usually do personal advice but I will make an exception. I have been there.

I know also that you can find the world is full of other fine people and that one of them is looking for you. Perhaps you already know them. Train yourself to smile every time your eyes meet those of every man you see. Most of them will be dorks, but you will also smile at the right ones too.

As for the artistic side of the problem, that is easier. You own that. Get up and do it every day. Inspiration is an outgrowth of continual effort and not the other way around. Do your art and the inspiration will follow. Earl Nightingale said "you wouldn't stand in front of a wood stove and tell it, give me heat and then I will put in some wood! You need to load lots of wood in there first".
You can't wait for inspiration, you must go about your work as a discipline. Sometimes you will be inspired. But working will breed ideas that become inspiration. I am always excited when I go to bed at night knowing I can paint the next day. I don't like it when I have an appointment that prevents me from doing that. The more I work the more inspired I get.



Mary Byrom said...

Stapleton, this very thoughtful of you. I like the part about the dorks - but especially the going into the studio every day- its the only way to do it.

Lisa McShane said...

Oh my. I'm so sorry Samantha. That's hard but Stape's advice is good. Create, regardless of inspiration. It will come to you in time.

Stape: I finally purchased 'Lead the Field' by Earl Nightingale on iTunes for $10 and I've been listening to that while I paint. Great stuff, thanks for that.

Roxanne Steed said...

"You own that." is the strongest 3 word sentence - and that ownership of our creativity is such a source of power/happiness. The act of creating is very healing, Stape is so right- you've gotta show up every day and make it happen! Keep up the hope and healing 'Samantha', you WILL make it through!

Unknown said...

Good answer for a tough question.
Samantha... I had a tragedy a few years back, and frankly, art seemed trivial, my heart hurt, and I had no emotional energy to do much of anything. Sounds like where you are now.
However, as you said, God heals and the act of creating is also healing. Faith did alot to keep me putting one foot in front of the other. I think it's okay to allow yourself some leeway - take pressure off yourself if needed about entering shows, or contests, or other goals, and pursue things that just seem interesting to you. You might find that this experience will actually push you in a direction you might not otherwise have gone, and you, and your art, will be the better for it.
Meanwhile, remember you're not alone.

Terry Krysak said...

Exquisite advice, there is true gold in your words Stape.

billspaintingmn said...

There are times you will stand alone,
or at least it might seem..
for one you have yourself,
can you trust yourself to see?
Your wise to ask Dear Stape,he wouldn't set you wrong
he wants to help you so
you might better paint you song!
(I wrote this as a poem to help you, and me too actually.)
I think alot of artists hearts may be heavy, so take it easy, get a schedual, find a plan and do it.
Make art. Let it happen.

Robert J. Simone said...

What "Deb" said...I second that.

Anonymous said...

excellent words Stapleton. I love the "You own that", too. and the bit about inspiration. Have faith in the universe unfolding as it should Samantha. your art is in you. said...

Like your little ditty there from yesterday, Stape. And a lovely little poem from Bill today..

I had a medical diagnosis about nine years back that "punched me in the stomach", "took all the wind out of my sails" and made going into my studio alone a terror (felt like walking into a grave). The first thing that helped was painting with friends.

Second thing that helped pretending painting still mattered. Before I knew it painting DID matter again. Go into the studio every day and do something even if it's not painting. I cleaned my studio, sorted paints and materials,prepared substrates etc. Before you know it , you'll be wanting to create again. I promise.

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

Stape, you are more than a painting mentor to most of us as you can now tell. Good for us that you are as kind and sensitive as you are.
"Samantha", don't be afraid to paint your emotions at this time. Every great artist has gone through heartache and trials. Work through your dark periods by communicating with your art. Try it, I know it works.

Deborah Paris said...

Very good advice Stape. Sorrow can bring a richer texture and depth to our work. Use it.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Watch out for dorks. always a nuisance.

Stapleton Kearns said...

What a great deal that is!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gotta own it!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I might have consulted you before writing that.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

he wants to help you so
you might better paint you song!

I would suggest;

he wants to help you
go dancing in your thong!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Like she said!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Good point!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks. I am too crazy to be mentoring anyone though.

Stapleton Kearns said...

A sad painter might make joyful work and vice versa. I have seen that.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Watch out for that unfolding!

John Hannafin said...

Your subjects have been incredibly synchronistic with what I am facing in my life each day... THANKS STAPE, you the man!!