Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work

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The advice I like to give to young artists, or really anybody, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.

All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens.

via Chuck Close | Reader’s Digest. Thx Tony.

There Are 19 Comments On This Article.

  1. Definitely agree. While I think it’s very necessary to plan ahead and come up with ideas, some of my best images have come from just being in the moment and working what’s there.

  2. Everyone has their own process. I find inspiration in all sorts of ways. At the museum, books, a conversation, film, or at 2 in the morning when I cannot sleep. One cannot force a great idea… it happens when you are ready.

  3. Wisdom. I am reminded of the Chinese proverb:

    “Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time.”

  4. Totally agree… when I eventually decided to launch a photography blog, I was flooded with potential ideas.

    Prior to that I always debated if I should, as I couldn’t think of what I could take photos of, what would be of interest.

    Unfortunately launching a photography blog just after you’ve got a newborn baby wasn’t the smart idea… so the ideas are on the back burner until I can get enough sleep!

  5. Oh so true. My photography usually evolves during the process of making it, it usually ends very differently than the way it started. Thanks for this great post ! =)

  6. “I assure you no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament … I know nothing.” – Degas

  7. Oh so true.

    I know some people that have been sitting around “waiting” for the “perfect” idea and they never create anything, and that bright idea will probably never come!

    Get out and create something everyday.

  8. Thanks Chuck =)

    A fly fisherman doesn’t cast his line once and give up if he doesn’t catch a fish, he casts his line hundreds of times for the joy of fishing, and maybe he catches dinner. (I just made that up)

  9. Bjarte Edvardsen

    I get the main idea of this post; you shouldn’t just sit around wait for things to happen, but the title just doesn’t make sense. Since good ideas (resulting from inspiration) can be found while working, then inspiration is not only for amateurs.

    Inspiration and work doesn’t have to fight each other, the ideal thing is when they work together. That’s when it’s resulting in work that looks inspired.

    You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. (Jack London)