How poetry can influence my work as an artist

When a writer falls into a creative block he may look to art to find inspiration. From the images of great paintings depicting wonderful, vibrant or majestic scenes he can fill his head with ideas which can then help steer the course of the work and reignite the creative fire.

Similarly as an artist I find a lot of inspiration comes from reading different literature and I have been particularly influenced by certain Sufi poetry. When I have been at a lull creatively I often find my self reading the Prophet by Khalil Gibran. This is a wonderful book made up of many poems where a prophet is speaking his final words to the city. In this short volume many important issues of the human condition are covered, including marriage, love, children, work, community, death and joy.

My first experience of the impact of the words in ‘The Prophet’ was when I was on a bus in India going through the Rajasthani desert. I was reading one of the poems entitled ‘Work’. As I read the words ‘work is love made visible’ I saw three Rajasthani gypsies dressed in the most exquisite clothing appear almost out of nowhere carrying three pots on their heads each. They were walking with such grace and mindfulness that I really felt that they depicted the image of the words I was reading.

They looked like they were walking with love and working with love. Their purpose and their whole beings seemed intermingled with the task that was at hand. It was a wonderful sight and became the basis for my series of Rajasthani woman paintings.

Since returning home from India, when feeling stuck creatively, I have often started to draw illustrations of different parts of the poems. Through these illustrations I feel I am connecting to a world where inspiration and creative energy is transferred to me though the words on the page igniting my imagination once more. For me it’s extremely important to surround myself with different creative disciplines to aid my inspiration and creative direction.

After reading the whole book, the poem ‘Work’ stood out to me the most. In this poem Gibran says; when you work you make peace with the Earth and the soul of the Earth. I really believe that is true. By doing what we are meant to be doing, be that creating or doing housework or looking after children, we are fullfilling our place on the earth and contributing to the overall direction and web of creation.

It is the phrase ‘work is love made visible’, that sticks out to me most because when I am painting, or doing massage I try to approach it as a transference of love. The paintings come from the heart.

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Rajasthani woman 1 – For sale

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Rajasthani woman 2 – Sold

To view more of the India collection – click here!

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