Saturday, July 7, 2012

How Do You Fill Your Creative Well?

How do you fill your creative well? One way I do this is to visit an art museum. 

Since I live a short train ride away from the Art Insititute of Chicago I try to do this a few times a year. I always love to take the train to the city. I take my journal and observe people. I watch as they board and disembark, noticing their age, dress and if they sit close to me, I listen to their dialect. I also discreetly listen to snippets of conversations and learn how people are involved in various situations.

As the train winds into the heart of the city, I look at the tall buildings and strain my eyes to look inside an open curtain and wonder what an apartment or condo looks like in the city. What do people think or dream about? I get an idea for a short story about a single woman who lives downtown and before we arrive at the station I give her a name.

I walk down Michigan Avenue, a main thoroughfare in Chicago. I hear cars going by, cabs zooming past with horns blaring. I smell exhaust, tobacco, coffee brewing from a coffee shop. I try to engage my senses.

I finally enter the museum. Conversations are more hushed and people are walking slower. I find a bench and sit down to take a look long at my favorite painting: Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877, by Gustavo Caillebotte. I ask myself: Who are the people in the painting? How does the artist paint something that causes us to stop and stare and inspires us to create in our own ways? I could have sat there for an hour, but I move on.

The day ends too quickly and I come home tired, with sore feet, but I am filled up. Back at my suburban home, I pull out the postcards I bought at the museum. On each visit I buy postcards of the paintings that caused my heart to soar. I don’t want to lose this feeling of being filled up, but I know it will pass, but not before I write in my journal and get down on paper those ideas and inspirations I don’t want to forget.

How do you get “filled up" creatively?


  1. Tammie, Great idea about buying postcards of the art that speaks to you. One thing that fills me up creatively is to go to plays and musicals. Recently I also went to Cirque du Soleil.

    I also like to go for walks outside at a local Arboretum. I bring my journal and find a quiet spot and write for awhile.

  2. Those sound like great ways too, Sue. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Tammie, this inspired me so much. I posted a link to this post on my blog because I think these are such great ideas.


  4. Hey Tammie thanks for the thought. I write just about everyday, ok maybe everyday. Anyway I never leave the house with out a pencil. Most times I have a notebook close by but McDonalds napkins work fine too. Recently someone notice me taking notes in a meeting with pictures, I never really thought about it. The pictures are a way for me to see a thought or inspiration three dimensional. So like you, the pictures seem to be a great way to get filled up.



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