An Easy Lesson

Here’s a challenge of a different kind.

“Apply a system whereby for a period of, say, a week, every time you have a creative idea, no matter how small or ambitious, dumb, impractical or off-course, prioritize it immediately and make some physical something that honours it. Change your values, if only temporarily, regarding what is actually urgent. I mean, do it now. I woke up recently after having dreamt clearly of a painting I had not yet made. Without the usual planning, choring, contemplation or attempts at bettering it, I instead rose from bed, went to my studio and painted it. I can personally verify that this system can work wonders for a funk, creative anxiety and other doldrums. It can also advance an entire practice.”

So says Sara Genn in the latest instalment of Painters’ Keys. The idea is reinforced by a Canadian prairie writer–annoyingly I cannot think of her name so cannot find the quote. To paraphrase. . . she writes of being outside, some distance from her home when a poem blows by. She races the inspiration home, to pencil and paper, knowing if she isn’t fast enough she’ll lose the opportunity and someone else will catch that poem.

A strong image.

How often have you had a glimmer or burst of an idea – and not responded quick enough? Then later, when you get out of bed or finish the dishes or or or or — it’s gone. So let’s make that our homework, to respond to the niggles and see what happens.

142 School Daze, Yvonne Callaway, a/c 18 x 18″


  1. Your message is timely, for I have the glimmer of an idea for a story. I have jotted an outline down and now I just have to fill in the details. I do like your School Daze painting. My school desk was never so colourful, but it did have a drawer under the seat and a shelf under the desk.



    • Thank you, Ruth. I think this Painters’ Keys article is a timely kick in the keister to help (some of) us get going. We look forward to having an excerpt from your glimmering tale. Soon!


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