Tag Archives: inspiration

I lost my favorite pen and can’t write without it!

How many times have you skipped writing/painting/creating because you don’t have the ‘perfect’ tools, or waited for days for that ‘perfect’ brush to arrive? That didn’t stop the famed missionary and explorer Dr. Livingstone:

In 1871, David Livingstone spent five months stranded in a small village in the Congo called Nyangwe. He had run out of writing paper and had nearly run out of ink, so he improvised the materials for his diary by writing over an old copy of The Standard newspaper with ink made from the seeds of a local berry.

Oh, and he was also malnourished and suffering from the typical smörgåsbord of tropical diseases that European explorers picked up in Africa.

A page from Livingstone’s journal

We all have ‘favorite’ tools to work with, favorite surfaces to work on and optimal conditions we like to work under. But the lack of those conditions should never be an excuse for not doing.
You can read the whole article and view the original pages and of the field diary here.

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Creative Productivity: Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens was an extraordinarily productive painter and also had a keen business sense. It’s not surprising he became wealthier than many of his noble clients, and in fact, became a noble himself.

He shatters the myth of the ‘crazy’ egocentric artist – by all accounts he was kind, generous, temperant. He attended private mass every day, first thing in the morning,and set about his work. The following should give any artist pause.

Peter Paul Rubens came on a diplomatic mission to Madrid, charged by his government to pave the way to the conclusion of peace between England and Spain. Rubens was then about fifty years old. He stayed nine months in the Spanish capital, and, despite his diplomatic duties and the gout, found time to paint an extraordinary number of pictures, including five of Philip. He also copied the king’s Titians. 1

Five portraits of Phillip and he copied all the king’s titians. He may have had assistant’s help on the portraits- but he probably copied the Titians for his own study. Thus, in nine months he produced dozens of high quality paintings and succeeded at his ‘day job’ of negotiating a treaty.

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