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Mary Neville: Filling the well called Inspiration

Updated: Mar 1

What is inspiration? Where is it? How is it harnessed from a swirl of subtle awareness, funneled into the narrow channel of conscious thought and pushed out as something tangible.

I believe being present and savoring the moment are key ingredients of inspiration.

I am writing this as I sit in my adobe casita on the famed Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu in Northern New Mexico. I am here for the month of September to paint. Two weeks in and so far, I notice that’s it really has been more about observing and listening to the inner dialog then the outwardness of creating something. “Filling the well” as Julia Cameron suggests.

Immersed in a very long artist date, I am inspired by the rugged beauty of landscape, the sparseness and space, and the power of nature that manifests in the blink of an eye through passionate thunder and lightning storms that appear out of a “blue sky” nowhere.

But I am mostly inspired by the distance from everyday life. There is a peaceful, eternal quality here that allows my instincts to take over. Letting intuition be my guide instead of outcomes.

This artist residency is a rare opportunity that allows me to experience a long unbroken length of time away from everyday responsibilities and what I hope come home with is the idea that I need not wander so far and for so long to allow myself to pause, reflect and consider.

When I return to my Ojai studio and familiar territory, I will imagine myself out in the beautiful North New Mexico wilderness where crossroads don’t always have stop signs, flash floods are common, and where I lived for 30 days in the company of 6 artistic women. Sharing our histories, beliefs and creative ideas, all of us are here together in this beautiful place to be inspired and forever changed.

I invite you to take whatever time is available each day to stop and be captured by whatever is at hand. Maybe you sit outside and watch how the shadows change on your house minute by minute as the sun moves across the sky. Or close your eyes and listen to nature as well as the human stamp of cars driving by and planes overhead marveling that all was made possible by insight and revelation. Or connect with someone you admire and ask them what motivates them? You may be surprised.

It is immersed in this experience that I am creating my new series to be exhibited at The Santa Paula Art Museum in January 2023. Updates to be shared in December 2022.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you on the OSA Tour in a couple of weeks!

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