The Wellspring of Creativity


I recently had a friend and fellow artist tell me about an intense experience she had. When she finished the painting and stepped back from it and really looked, she just wept. She felt like she had never painted anything that beautiful; that it was God guiding her hand and creating thru her.  Some people might not comprehend her description, but as a fellow artist and writer, I deeply understood having experienced the same thing myself.

Julia Cameron author of many books including The Artist’s Way stated:
“I think writing is by its very nature transformational. I believe that the minute you put pen to page you start to alter your consciousness, and the more writing you do, the more closely connected you are to a higher power. Some people can call it the muse. Other people say it’s God. Whatever you care to call it, when you write, you connect to it.”

This applies to anyone in a truly creative endeavor; be it artist, actor, programmer, singer, dancer or writer.  The more you increase your connection to this Creative Force, the more productive you will be and the better the creative work will be.  Sometimes I look at a painting that I created while in this “flow” and I have a feeling of astonishment.  I created that?!  It feels as if I were channeling a creative force which was creating thru me.

In Greek tradition, the Muses were the goddesses of inspiration.  They are the offspring of the most powerful god, Zeus and Mnemosyne, who is Memory.  They are associated with springs of water and indeed, their inspiration is like a flow of creative waters thru an artist.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary they are “implicit in words and phrases such as “amuse”, “museum” (Latinised from mouseion—a place where the muses were worshipped), “music”, and “musing upon.” Just as these words are present in our daily lives, the Creative Force is as well.  Just like a flowing spring, the more we can clear the obstructions of daily life, and increase the flow of creativity by practice and repetition, the swifter and clearer that Creative Force can move thru us.

– Patricia Robin Woodruff

Crystal Clear Thoughts 11"x14" pastel on velour paper

Crystal Clear Thoughts
11″x14″ pastel on velour paper


3 Reasons I Believe in Angels


I believe in angels. I’m not sure about the winged, heavenly versions, but I know for sure that earthly ones are out there.

Cherubim 11"x14" pastel reproduction

Cherubim 11″x14″ pastel reproduction

1) Angels turn up in unexpected places.  When my son was having to visit the hospital on a regular basis, we would stay at the Ronald McDonald House.  They only charged us a minimal fee of $10 a night.  However, my husband was out of work and we had absolutely no where to squeeze out that minimum fee but were scheduled for an appointment.  We were leaving that day to go to the hospital and were going to ask them to possibly waive it, when we got a $50 check in the mail!  The note included was from a neighbor who had just found out that our healthy looking son actually had a heart condition and they were grateful that their grandkids were all healthy and this angelic person was  giving us $50 to use for our son’s care.  That’s when I learned the meaning of,

“Don’t believe in miracles – depend on them.”                          – Lawrence J. Peter

2) Friends can be our angels.  Sometimes they can act as guardian angels, giving advice and keeping us from acting on impulse.  I have a dear friend who acts as an inspirational angel; helping me with art ideas and providing encouragement in my creative endeavors.  Best of all is a partner who can fill that role too.  I know I am blessed with angelic guidance all around me!

3) Children provide us with angelic insight. My 5 year old son was chatting with my father about a fellow on TV who made his living by fishing.  My dad was astounded that a person could make a living doing something that was fun.  Later, my son commented sagely, “Mom, I don’t think Pop-pop has his priorities straight.”  Little cherubs remind us of the things that are important to focus on; love, hugs, enjoying the day, taking joy in simple things, following a life you love…  For that reason, I turned this pastel into a pendant to wear as a reminder.

“Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for, without being seen, they are present with you.”- St Francis de Sales

I see angels as personified spiritual energy and so my life is *full* of angels and their guidance.  – Patricia Robin Woodruff

Refilling the Well of Inspiration


This time last year, I was on the island of Ponza.  I had been studying art in Rome since January and my soul was longing for release from the city noise and pressure of people.  A friend of a friend mentioned the island of Ponza (which I had never even heard of!)  It is often used by the Italians as a get-away, but in April it was still very much “off season.”   A train ride out from Rome and then a ferry out from the town of Formia put me on this beautiful, peaceful island.


The view from my balcony overlooked an amazingly clear blue bay.  I was looking down on the seagulls flying below!  The other side of the bay was topped with a crumbling 14th century fort (which, of course, was explored on the first day!)  It was surrounded by golden flowering gorse bushes and the hum of busy bees.


The next four days were spent hiking up and down hills in the quaint little town, as well as around the wild parts of the island.  I swam in a 2000 year old “swimming pool” carved from the volcanic rock by the Romans, sailed around the grottos and cerulean blue waters of the island and basked in the gentle sounds of nature.

My goal in Rome was to produce 5 paintings a week, and while I didn’t actually do any paintings here on this island, just the thought of it filled up my soul.  When I came back to Rome, it inspired me to a flurry of artistic activity.  You don’t have to travel as far away as Ponza, but as a creative soul, beauty is necessary to create.  If your soul is sapped by your surroundings, it is important to “refill the well” of your creativity.  Find a place of beauty to renew yourself; a cathedral, a park, a walk on the beach… We cannot keep pouring out unless we refill ourselves.  Find a place to refresh your spirit and it will spark your creativity in amazing ways!

Three Tips to Tap into the Spirit of Creativity



Rumi Series “Spirit” by Patricia Robin Woodruff 11″x14″ mixed media: ink, acrylic, collage

There is a certain “flow” or channeling of the creative energy that happens when a person is deeply immersed in their art (be it painting, writing or even computer programming.)  A sense of time disappears, as well as even a sense of self.  There is nothing but you and your creation.

While this zen state can not be forced, there are ways to make it more likely to happen:

1) Ritual – Creating a certain ritual before embarking on your creative efforts can help.  My friend, Barb Baur is a jeweler.  Before working, she lights her candle and says a prayer to the patron deity of inspiration and metal smithing, Brigid.  The candle is a practical device for her to light her oxy/acetylene torch from, but it also prepares her mentally for being receptive to the creative flow.

2) Engaging the senses – Many people find painting to music helps them create.  I find that the scent of incense is a powerful tool to transform my thinking from the mundane to the receptive artistic state.  It also helps to surround yourself in beauty.  Beauty begets beauty.  Beautiful surroundings makes it more pleasant to enter your writing space, or studio.  When we are happier, it is easier to be in touch with that joyful spirit of creativity.

3) Affirmations – Doubt and worry are like fats that clog the arteries of inspiration.  Changing your thinking patterns to good healthy thoughts will let that creativity flow!  I write down positive things that people have said to me and then I tape them up around my desk.  I also hang inspiring sayings and quotes around my office, as reminders to myself.

Next time you sit down to create, try some of these tips and start with this affirming thought:

“I am open to the energies of the Universe/Spirit/God.  Fill my mind and flow through my hands.”


The Creative Force and Spring


In this part of the world, the Spring Equinox is upon us.  While the weather still wobbles between winter chill and warmer temperatures, I think of the words of Rabindranath Tagore,

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day 
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. 

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth 
in numberless blades of grass 
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

This is the creative force that also runs through our veins, causing us to create.  We may have our fallow times, where the creative ideas are just not flowing, but that doesn’t mean they are no longer with us.  They are just waiting for the right time to blossom.  

We should also not stifle *how* they blossom.  Sometimes my creativity comes forth in a drawing, sometimes in writing, other times I think of a poem and then *that* inspires a painting.  That just means that you can add “polymath” to your biography.  Rabindranath Tagore was a polymath; writing poetry, stories, dramas, and songs, as well as drawing and painting.  Much of his work was deeply philosophical.  He was certainly a man in touch with the creative force and an inspiration to me.

So here’s a Spring affirmation, as we balance on the edge of the seasons:

I am a conduit for the creative force.  It flows to me as naturally as the force that causes flowers to blossom.