A Treatment for Inspiration Overload

by Starla J. King on July 16, 2014

I wrote last week about inspiration overload: a chronic “condition” I’ve picked up recently.  Over-saturated with the exuberant, demanding energy bouncing around the Internets, seeping out of the self-improvement books littered across my coffee table, and gushing from my list of “shoulds” aka To Dos.

And in response, I got the most inspiring (ironic, eh?) email from a dear reader, artist Gaye Sekula.  It soothed me instantly.  It hushed the noise.  It gently shoehorned open my heart.

I think you might want to read it too (she graciously gave me permission to share):

My Dear Starla,

Your post really touched me. I had a similar experience about a year ago with art overload. 

Ok, I am an artist and have been most of my life. I have never once wondered what my style was or what I should be doing with my art until a year ago. This all started when I began looking at artwork everywhere I could and, in the beginning, it was a very good thing. I love art, I teach art, I live art so, it was a natural thing to do. It was feeding my soul and I was gathering information to share with my students. I was looking at it for hours on end either on Facebook, in museums, galleries or books.

Now, I don’t consider myself to be a person who is easily influenced by others so, imagine my shock when I realized that I had begun to question my own artistic voice. Something I had never done since I first picked up a brush at 12 years old. Here I was, 57, and questioning now! What the heck???

Well, I had to escape. Escape any and all voices, so I planned a solo trip to New Mexico. I told my husband I was going and he knew better than to argue. He could tell it was a dire need. So, at 4:30am I took off toward one of the biggest and most rewarding adventures of my life! I drove straight there, stopping only for gas, and arrived at my destination 12 hours later.

I stayed a few nights in Santa Fe and had intended to look at the wonderful galleries on Canyon Road. It is funny because, I was having trouble timing everything I wanted to do and see the galleries, too. One morning I was again there too early so I decided to go to Albuquerque and catch them on the way back. Well, it never happened. I was so in awe of the scenery around me that I knew nothing inside their walls could ever compare to what I was seeing and feeling!!!

On to Taos for a few more days and even more awe! The whole experience was just what the doctor ordered! There is SO much to tell and so few words to describe it all!

Ten days of no other voices but nature’s and my own. It realigned me. I knew the answers to my questions all along, I just couldn’t hear them until then. Yes, I knew what I wanted and I could hear my own voice now!

Thanks for listening to my story. I don’t know if you feel it relates to how you are feeling but, boy, your post sure did resonate with how I was feeling a year ago. I’ve been to New Mexico three time in the past year and this last trip, which was for an entire month, two weeks of which I was alone, opened my eyes. The quiet time alone, where I was the only boss of me, put everything into perspective. I am more at peace now than at any time ever in my life.

Fondly, Gaye

Adobe in CerrillosNature. Self. Quiet. “I am more at peace now than at any time ever in my life.”  


Oh, and this painting?  It’s Gaye’s.

It’s called Adobe in Cerrillos, described in her own words as follows:

I love taking backroads, as they always reveal hidden treasures. This abandoned adobe building  is one such treasure. I came upon it as I was poking around Cerrillos, New Mexico.  I can’t help but wonder what tales it could tell.

Yeah, I think she’s onto something.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

LB Hamilton July 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for sharing this letter; in so many ways Gaye’s trip reflects my own (much slower) personal process via expatriation. There is a rune that calls for timely retreat – and how empowering such a choice can be. Congrats Gaye Sekula, and thanks again to you, Starla, for so generously sharing yours and other’s meaningful experiences as the navigate the mysterious paths of making art. (PS Must.have.that.painting.!!)


Starla J. King July 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm

LB, I know, right, re: Gaye’s painting(s)?! See more of them here: http://sekulastudio.com/works .

You know, I hadn’t thought about your expatriation in these terms, but it really fits, doesn’t it?!

Here’s to continued sharing of snippets of our journey as we “navigate the mysterious paths of making art.” xo


Ros Nelson July 16, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Do I EXPECT to experience QUIET because I live in a relatively remote location? Whatever the reason, I treasure SILENCE. It actually has a sound for me and feels nourishing. When possible, I ask for muzak, tv, radios, and so on to be turned down, preferably off. This includes ambient background music in yoga.. not just sirens, barking dogs and dentist office audio clutter.. I wonder why the world thinks I need noise distraction? I actually have my own thoughts! So, in the spirit of “overload cures,” please join me in increasing peace and quiet. It will help with over stimulation. Silence is so lovely!


Starla J. King August 1, 2014 at 11:33 am

Ros, I so appreciate your distinction between quiet and silence, especially as I’ve begun to covet SILENCE (and I used to be a “music on quietly at all times) person.

Yes, let’s campaign for increasing peace and quiet. YES!


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