The Key to the Kingdom and the hunt for inspiration…..

Trying out ideas

 Once upon a time I saw the title to a poem in the front of a book: “This is the Key to the Kingdom, Of the Kingdom this is the Key”. It made my heart leap in anticipation and hope, and I raced to the right page to learn, well, SOMETHING magic….. Alas, it wasn’t what the title promised, rather, it was more like “This Is The House That Jack Built”. What a let down. I closed the book in a huff. For years that first line/title has haunted me with it’s promise and has hovered round me tauntingly. If only someone had written the REAL poem that belongs to that phrase. Then one day, with those lines floating and flaunting themselves round my head, I curled up in bed with my favourite pen and writing-in book and I pinned them to the page and followed them to the end of the poem that should have been. This is what emerged:

This is the Key to the Kingdom, of the Kingdom this is the key
This is the Door that the Key unlocks in a high stone wall that none can scale
This is the Garden behind that Door, all tangled and wild with vine and briar
This is the Well at the heart of the Garden, deep and cool and clear
Neath the lip of the Well all hidden in ferns, lies a Box of gold all covered with jewels
Within that box there is a key that unlocks the way to worlds untold
This is the Key to the Kingdom, of the Kingdom this is the Key

I was extremely chuffed with myself over this wee poem at the time, then one day with the lines dancing  round my head as I worked on a stubborn commission I had a realisation. This poem tells of the impossible situation of an artist trying to grasp the inspiration (symbolised by the key) that is locked away behind that stubborn door – all you can get by peering through the key-hole is the barest glimpse of the wonders beyond, and to open the door to that magic realm, you need that blasted key that is INSIDE!!!!!!! So this is the posture of the artist – on bended knee with eye glued to the key-hole of the magic realm begging the key to open the door wide. And some times, some wonderful, magical, mind-blowing times, the door opens a crack and you get this wondrous gust of inspiration washing over you… The only thing to do then is RUN! as fast as you can, to the drawing board, the paint brush, the fleece and hold on with all your might to that fading dream and do your very best to pour it out onto the work table so that you can share it with others. And then, if you are lucky, it all flows – magic happens. It’s worth all the hard work, the times that are like kneeling before the key-hole trying to make out a glimpse of something worth showing to the world.

Playing with different ways of using a motif

I have been on my knees an awful lot recently as I struggle with finding inspiration from a source that doesn’t inspire me. But it has worked I think, that door opened the tiniest crack and something beautiful slipped out and into my mind. And I caught it too! On the 5th of Feb I have to show my client the possibilities that I have come up with and let her chose what direction she would like me to take the commission. Scary. But at least I now feel I have something worth showing her!

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