I often wondered at the word muse.
As someone involved in the arts it was not uncommon to hear it thrown around in conversations at openings and exhibitions, or at dinners and cocktail parties. I have known people who claim to have had a muse and I also have to confess to biting my tongue on some occasions whilst swallowing a large dollop of cynicism.
I never felt that I needed or wanted a muse. My art was a way of expressing myself, I couldn’t understand how an outside influence, particularly another individual, could have an important bearing on my artwork. After all, my art was about me, my dreams, my hopes, fears, and my voice – the one I wanted the world to hear.
In September of 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck my home, the Cayman Islands, and devastated the lives of all of its inhabitants. It was an awesomely terrifying experience, but more than that, it was a life changing event in so many ways. I look back on the events of that September and everything that followed, and cannot believe how much my own life has changed.
The hurricane destroyed many pieces of my work. Some of those that survived were stolen in the aftermath of the storm. Pieces that were extremely personal to me were lost forever. Some of the work from my formative period as a painter will never be seen again. It was a loss that led to the loss of something even more important though, I lost the will to paint, to create. Nothing really seemed worth the effort anymore.
To cut a very long story short, it was in this slow rebuilding process that I found my muse. Nothing could have surprised me more, and nothing could have been stranger than the stranger who became my muse across thousands of miles. The person who inspired what became acclaimed as my best work, a series that started out as five paintings and grew into over forty! The Black Hat Series became the story of two lost souls who brought each other from despair into light. It perhaps sounds melodramatic, some cynics might even scoff at such a concept I know, but it has become one of my life’s truths. I found a vibrancy and joy in my painting, and a new phase began in my choice of subject and style.
I am pleased to say that my story has a happy ending – my muse is soon to be my husband, and he continues to inspire and encourage my artistic endeavours.
If you have a muse, I would love to hear your stories. Maybe we can publish them here on the blog?
Cowboy Love! The Black Hat Series 2005
Arteccentrix – The Gallery