The Artist's Mistress

Creativity is the artist's mistress: a thing to be loved, missed, and forever inciting inner debate as to whether or not she will show her beautiful face once more. 

The Infatuation

Creating is a passionate experience: the mind and body meld, then fade away. What's left, the creation, is the residue of the spirit in the moment. Nothing matters save the task at hand when the artist is with his Mistress; he's not connected to her, but is her, dropping from his own consciousness and fully connecting with the present. Fire and ice tussle in her presence; one moment the artist boils with anger, disgust, excitement; the next moment he's frozen in fear, anticipation, and even failure. 

The love of the Mistress doesn't last forever, however. Eventually the artist comes down from his passionate high and finds himself sitting on a mushroom of serendipity in a forest of fog. The moment is no longer as beautiful as the past—time is back to normal in its foreign irregularity. The Mistress has disappeared, but not without leaving a token of her love: art.


Coming down from this high, the artist must come to terms with what's happened to him. His Mistress has come, art has been created, time has warped—and then it’s over. He looks at what's been done and already feels a disappointed detachment. Fear creeps through his cheeks, into his eyes, takes captive his soul: Will he ever see her again? Will his muse, the creative spirit, visit him once more? 

Time will tell, but forcing her to return won't satiate his yearning—her inspiration only rears it's rose-colored head when she comes of her own accord. The artist must invite her back by leaving the door open. Patience becomes the virtue of choice, the means by which creativity is coaxed through the threshold, into the thinkspace of the mind.

Fear, the Fickle, Fiendish Friend

If creativity is the artist's Mistress, then fear is his guide. Fear shows him where he needs to go next, the place of pure challenge, an area where failure hangs from every tree like leaves of antithesis. It's in this place, from the ever-climbing mindset of Sisyphus, that the artist becomes consciously connected to the present. 

Some artists shirk the things they fear, some attack. If an artist wants to see his Mistress once again, he must attack his insecurities and work at what he finds most difficult. Without perpetually pushing boundaries there can be no newness, no creativity—no Mistress. Fear is the bull-faced guide who reveals the challenges and, thus, the direction with which the artist must head for growth. 

Requited Love

When the present, the Now, is valued, when all other thoughts and worries fall behind, when the challenge is accepted, the artist creates. It may happen gradually, it may happen suddenly, but if the artist can calm his spirit the Mistress will make her return, powerfully and with resolution. She is the charge before the gun shot; the contraction before the explosion; the decision before the execution.

The artist will always yearn for her passion, chase her shadow, call out her name in tumult. There is nothing to do but love her and set her free—and hope she comes back.