#3: Try “Cross-training”
Margaret Campbell Sanders, who goes by “Meg”, recently moved to the Eifel region of Germany where she daylights as a children’s librarian while continuing to build her career as a writer and artist. Sanders has already published original poetry in several smaller journals and sells watercolor paintings through her successful online storefront, I Say Grace Art.
Margaret refuses to be discouraged by lack of motivation in one area. Instead, she sees it as an excuse to pursue something else she’s passionate about, calling her two loves—painting and poetry—the “sister arts.”
Victorian intellectuals used the classicizing term “sister arts” to describe the relationships between literature, music, painting, and other distinct creative forms.
Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, wrote in 1885 that the goal of all art forms is to make patterns “of colours, of sounds, of changing attitudes, geometrical figures, or imitative lines,” and that this common impulse forms “the plane on which these sisters meet.”
Today, Margaret makes the traditional idea of interrelated art forms work to her advantage much like an athlete cross-trains between sports or a scholar reads across a variety of disciplines. “When I am frustrated in my either my poetry or my painting, I flee to the other art for inspiration,” she says. “I paint when I cannot write, and I write when I cannot paint.”
Honing her skills in two different art forms has given Margaret a wider range of expressive tools. “Many times I will be in the middle of a painting and suddenly feel inspired to write a poem,” she says.
Margaret cultivates this symbiosis between art and writing by jotting ideas down in a dual sketchbook/notebook. This habit allows her to visualize “the sister arts in company.”
“Revel in the things you love,” she says. Be an author, dancer, composer, and painter, and watch inspiration bloom.
This article is the third of a 5-step series of artist interviews, dedicated to helping you find your artistic groove. Get the rest of the steps here.
Photo by Abigail Keenan via Unsplash.
Elizabeth hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and finds inspiration for her creative writing through personal conversations—often by chatting with other people about their professional work.