Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When The Muse Calls

Well, what can I possibly share with all you wonderfully talented ladies? Perhaps I ought to introduce myself first. My name is Michelle Chermaine, and I am an artist, writer, new media designer and jewelry designer. I know I’m in good company with many peers on this blog, many of whom share a passion for creative work and are more experienced than I am. I am in no position to give advice but there are some thoughts I would like to share. When was the last time you truly felt inspired, when you felt like you could make anything happen? When was the last time you let yourself dream like that? Creative blocks are normal. Oftentimes we find ourselves settling into a mundane routine whether out of necessity or habit due to work or family commitments and other obligations. We’re often in a hurry to get somewhere that we sometimes forget to stop and ask ourselves if that destination is where our dreams lie. The danger in losing sight of our goals is that we end up losing more than that. When we let ourselves be programmed to want what other people expect us to want, we lose more than our dreams – we end up losing ourselves. I remember a time when I thought I’d be anything but an artist. I can’t remember the first time I picked up a brush. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was little. It just came naturally and I went to a school from kindergarten till sixth grade where teachers didn’t mind me drawing caricatures of them during class. I was very fortunate to have been in a supportive environment and by eleven I was a published cartoonist. Things changed when I had to start 7th grade at a different school. This particular school was anything but a pool of creativity. It was, in fact, an emotional and creative black hole. The arts were frowned upon in favour of math and science which they considered to be superior subjects. There was an art studio but no real supplies which is probably why the art teachers resigned. Moreover, students were later sorted like cattle into two departments – the science department and the arts & literature department. If your math and science grades were high enough, you could choose where you wanted to go. Students who had low grades in math and science were automatically “dumped” into the arts and literature department, whether or not they were artistically inclined. What’s worse is some members of the faculty would actually make discriminatory remarks about the arts and lit department which only served to further devalue the importance of creativity and artistic thought in the minds of most of the people within that school system. The artsy types were looked down on. In case you’re wondering, I was in the science section. It wasn’t because I wanted to be. It was just because I thought it was the best place to be since I still hadn’t decided on a career path at the time. Everybody expected me to be an artist, but for the longest time I thought it was better to be something else. Maybe in a way, I had succumbed to the system’s conditioning for a while. Fortunately the muse wouldn’t allow it. When I moved to Canada, I went through the whole process of going to a new school, meeting new people and making new friends. I also started painting more often and once more, everyone expected me to study fine arts, an idea I openly refused to consider because I felt that my money and time would be better spent pursuing a more “practical” career. Again, this was the residual effect of the mental programming from the previous scientifically inclined environment I used to be in. Being a bit of a computer geek, I decided to pursue new media design, where I ended up sitting in a computer lab working all day and night. However, something was still missing. My muse still beckoned me towards the canvas and called me to paint again. The voice would not be silenced and I had no other choice but to give in and start painting again after a hiatus. If I had to go back, I had to create something greater than my last piece or at least equal in depth. I promised myself that much. That lead to the birth of Love Takes Flight and it was one of the most liberating experiences ever to have reconnected with what my soul had always yearned for all those years but I had somehow forgotten. I felt like I had woken from a long sleep and broken out of a cocoon to rediscover myself. It was in a sense, a resurrection. I learned to embrace the muse’s gifts and to appreciate the importance of feeding your soul with what inspires you and makes you happy. If it’s been a long time since you last spent some time alone doing something that makes you happy, try to recreate the moments you that led to those happy thoughts. Ask yourself the following questions: What made you happy as a child? What did you used to dream of doing when you grew up? What makes you happy today? What are you doing to nurture your soul today? Michelle Chermaine Ramos – Artist/Writer/Designer www.michellechermaine.com www.facebook.com/MichelleChermaineArt www.michellechermaine.blogspot.com

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