Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inspiration Smells Likes Peroxide

I am completely distracted in my own home. Oh sure, I can paint and assemble and color at home. But the ideas, the real thinking, the actual inspirations and subsequent designs just don’t happen there. Much as I’d like them to.

Here’s last month’s scenario: I realize I must come up with a new illustration in order to create a self-promotion piece. I know I need to start the idea process but as I putter about my house this seems to become my priority list:

1. Check email and Facebook. Must get messages out of way so I am free to work.
2. Clean drafting table.
3. Pick up every sock that my husband and two children have left balled up on the floor.
4. Snack to boost energy.
5. Check email and Facebook again. Someone important may need to reach me.

You can see where this is going. This all leads to a marginally clean house and a remarkably spotless yet empty drafting table.

The following day after discovering that cleaning products do not make me want to draw, I go to get my hair cut and colored. In order to cover the vicious gray that my hair has been blessed with since my early 20's my Miracle Worker, the phenomenal Russell of Russell Scott Hair Designs in Clark NJ, must gunk me up and leaves me to sit in the corner in shame with my head resembling and a putrid bowl of ice cream covered in Magic Shell. I look ridiculous. I reek. The Black Eyed Peas are pounding in the speakers and I am stuck sitting next to two Kardashian-wanna-be housewives who are deep in discussion about their jewelry. 

BUT there are no balls of socks. No dishes to do. No one calling me “Mommy”. And so, sketchbook balanced on smock-covere lap, I find that my mind is actually functioning. In fact on that one visit alone I came up with a slew of sketches for a series of animal musicians AND a sketch for a painting of Coney Island that I’ve been thinking about for years. AND the start of this blog entry.

Here’s where I do and have done my best creative thinking:
1. Hairdressers
2. Laundromat
3. Doctor’s Office
4. At the drivers wheel when on long drives by myself (rare but precious occasions)

So fellow creative friends, where do find your inspiration?
Where do you do YOUR best thinking?


  1. I do my best thinking in the shower and while swimming. The catch? Remembering all those wonderful, creative, motivating thoughts once I return to dry land!

  2. I feel the best when I go for a walk or a drive- with music playing, of course. The shower is another empowering spot! I say thank you for everything in my life for which I am grateful.(notice proper grammar--:))

  3. Holy cow, Paula. The reason I don't get my hair dyed is that I have to spend time with toxic chemicals on my scalp, listening to the Black Eyed Peas, and much worse listening to the Kardashian wannabes. This repeated every six weeks or so for years and years.

    And here you take something that could be superlame and use it to your advantage to create your own little creative bubble. I am impressed.

    And dude, lately, I've been checking email every half hour or so, it seems. Would almost be enough for me to get an internet phone. Except they're outrageously expensive (the subscription, I mean).

    I love your drawing and I don't know when I'm most creative. When my dog wakes me up in the middle of the night because he's feeling sick from all his shots earlier that day? Oh, wait, no, that's when I start creating ridiculous anxiety-driven scenarios in my head. Still, though... creating. <3's

  4. I think you should count anxiety-driven scenarios as creative thinking!

    I have to say finding a creative moment at hairdressers is new. Probably due to changing hairdressers. Black Eyed Peas or not, this place is small and lovely, and the staff is really nice. And Russell is a particularly creative guy so after a chat with him I'm often inspired. Unless he's on a jag about the Mets....

    Will have to try the shower. Usually I find it stressful there because I'm often the only adult in the house by the time I'm showering and there's every chance my boys are in a brawl with one of them putting the other in a chokehold and I can't hear them as they scream for help.

  5. Love your blog Paula, but then again, I've been a fan of your writing for years now, through email and facebook of course! So even if checking your email and facebook makes you feel less than productive, I always love the outcome on my end ;-)
    As for my creative thinking moments... well, I don't go to the hairdresser (which probably explains my rat's nest hair), I avoid the doctor entirely unless it's for one of my kids, in which case no getting away from the call of "Mommy!" and I rarely find myself driving anywhere alone for extended periods of time... so that leaves middle of the night when all are asleep and I'm wide awake, in which case my brain gets going and I can't shut it down till the wee hours of the next morning. This makes for great creative thinking, but very little doing on the next day when I'm walking around like a zombie!

  6. P.S. "Kardashian-wanna-be Housewives" am I at liberty to use this phrase? I love it!

  7. Thank you! You know I am also YOUR biggest fan Anna. But you are such a Renaissance woman I'd hardly know where to start: you act, create, art (YES, officially a verb), design, direct, AND cook us all under the table.

    Feel free to use the phrase, although I maintain All Electronic And North American Publication rights.

  8. When I'm out on a walk. Which I try to do everyday. *walk, walk, walk* The movement seems to jar my brain.

    Also, unfortunately, at 4 am.

    Nothing worse than waking up with a good idea and realizing, Frick. I ain't goin' back to sleep now.