Artistic Collaboration and Inspiration

Going beyond your niche to fuel creativity (or energize your daily life) through other artistic endeavors.

I am a writer of fictional stories. That’s how I choose to express my creativity and ideas. I do not identify myself as a dancer, a painter, a singer, or a writer of poetry. But, that does not mean that I can’t enjoy these types of other artistic activities either directly or as a spectator.

I am convinced that my writing is better when I fuel my creativity in unexpected ways. I think all of us (not just those involved in creative endeavors) benefit more than we even know from exposing ourselves to things that are outside our normal life, helping us to see the world in a new and different way.

What do I mean???

Two different types of experiences in the past few months made me realize how important this is to my own energy and creative inspiration.

I normally paint with words, but a friend (thank you Marge Groh) invited me to one of those evening wine/painting parties to benefit a local charity. You would think that this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I had so much fun exercising a different part of my brain. I’ve never taken an art class beyond middle school. (Our electives in high school were offered in a way that you had to choose between music and art class and I was a band/choir kid.) Anyway, I never really spent much time creating visual art.

Here’s my most lovely fall pumpkin painting. I am not Van Gogh nor will I ever be, but I felt like I had released a different sort of creativity by painting that carried over into renewed enthusiasm for my writing work.

And. . . I may just take a painting class in the future.

In February, I attended a show called Dancescape 2017 at Winona State University. It was a fabulously creative show—and I would say this even if my daughter wasn’t one of the dancers. In all honesty, if I didn’t have a family member in the show, I would not have made the effort to travel to Minnesota to see it, which is a shame.

This show gave audience members 15 wonderfully creative, modern dances. This was not the jazz/tap/ballet combo that so many of us are used to. The dances expressed so many different emotions and stories that I am still thinking about those that were the most beautiful, haunting, and disturbing—often at the same time. And I’m sure the choreographers and dancers would agree that they were successful if someone is still thinking about and processing the emotion/message conveyed in their piece days later.

At this same event, I was also intrigued by the collaboration of artistic disciplines in this show, from the painter and hula hoop flow artists in the lobby to the musical choices, well-placed use of props, and the occasional steps borrowed from more classical dance styles. (If you’re curious about flow arts, learn more here.)

For me, taking part in or attending something that stretches my imagination can only be beneficial to my own creativity. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether you work in a creative field or not. We ALL benefit from stepping out of our comfort zones and typical activities. Whether we’re experiencing a different type of artistic expression or doing something as simple as reading a book from a genre that we typically don’t read, we are fueling both our creativity and general enthusiasm and energy for life.

So where can I get some of this?  Opportunities are all around us.

Nature as inspiration . . . Go for a walk. Get outside and breathe some fresh air.

Art as inspiration . . . Go to an art museum or new exhibit. Paint or draw something. 

Instruction as inspiration . . . Take a class in something you’ve always wanted to explore like dance, other art forms, languages, or crafts. Check out your local library, senior center or art/craft shops for schedules. In the Madison, Wisconsin area where I live, there are tremendous course opportunities at MATC and the UW-Continuing Studies department as well as the Union Wheelhouse ClassesDo you know what's available in your area?

Here’s my challenge. Do something you’ve never done before once a month for the rest of the year.

I’m calling this my “Never Did THIS Before” challenge. In March, I’m taking this class to kick things off: The Museum as Muse: Writing From and About Art.

I promise to share each of my experiences here on my blog.

Are you up for this challenge? Let me know!




Going to a movie often sparks my writing creativity but I may try a few other things too - not sure I can do once a month, but who knows.

Good idea!

I agree with that! We'll see how creative I get . . . I am NOT jumping out of any airplanes. Let me know how you stretch your creativity!

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