The Critic and the Muse

Are you ready to explore your own inner critic, the shadow side of your inner self? And what about the muse, the one who supports you through all of your creative adventure, what shall you make of her in all her wisdom? Are you ready for the critic and the muse to become one voice?
Add final contracting tones to bring each voice out into the open

It’s time to explore the Critic and the Muse. I’m taking a class this month of June 2020. And I am taking it a little bit farther. Far more in my own direction than possible within the confines of instruction.

The activity was to draw a face with wild hair and write in the hair strands the critic’s voice and muses resolve. I interpreted the directions in my own way. I took the words out, and used color, depth, and contrast to show the critic and the muse beyond mere words.

Below I will show you the steps I took to get to the place where the Muse absorbs the voice of the critic. Here is where they could become one united archetype.

To get started, engage in a short meditation. Have your paper or canvas ready, along with pencils and paint. Imagine a world where the “good” and the “bad” come together, to meet in the middle. Where the critic and the muse coming together as one voice, from one all encompassing view.

Draw any images that came up for you during your meditation and put those on your canvas or paper. If any words or symbols appeared, put those on the canvas as well. You can’t get this wrong, so be not afraid. Do whatever comes next and know that it is complete for you.

Lay the ground work for new things to grow

When you feel ready, cover over the drawings and words with paint that is opaque. Let the words go, let the images pass. They are only the foundation that you will grow out of, stronger and more resilient.

Smoothing over the words and the drawings

When I started this painting, I envisioned the body of the muse overshadowed by the critic. Then I focused in on where the thoughts seem to be coming from, the head.

I drew the shape of a face and sketched out some wild hair. Then I added a few shapes here and there to see what would happen.

Using white paint I covered over my sketch marks and the underlying paint. Be careful at this point not to make it too perfect.

Your own painting will be different, so don’t try to copy mine. Your muse and your critic will have a different voice.

Transform your Original Image

Once you’re happy with the container to hold your critic and muse, it’s time to add some dramatic color. For you this color might be the muse or it might be the critic. Go with whatever comes up at this point, be open to whatever wants to come and keep the paintbrush moving.

You very likely will start to encounter the critic at this point. So go with it, listen to the voice of the critic, give it a place on your canvas. Allow the critic to be seen and heard.

Start with making Bold Contrast

Play around with this activity, the goal is to give the critic and the muse each it’s own voice on the canvas. You will work in this way for most of your painting.

Most of this process is acknowledging the different voices that are coming up for you. Again there is no right or wrong way, it is simply an experience.

Let the Muse Reveal herself in full cantrast

You may find you need to take frequent breaks. This can be challenging work, but it is worth far more that the painting your eyes see on the canvas.

This is deep inner work and there is often a battle ground within where wars have been forged, battles won and lost.

You may wish to bring some clarity into your painting at some point, for me this was working on the face and the eyes. Bringing out her features and guiding her to see the wisdom that only she can comprehend.

Mix in the voice of the critic to contrast with the muse

At some point in your journey, the waters will likely get a little muddy. Resist the temptation to pretty it up, to “fix” what you feel is wrong.

Remember, these are the contrasting voices of the critic and the muse, hold them without judgement or interference.

Rock back and forth between the two voices until they are one

The last thing I did was to add some white space. I needed room to breathe and this felt like the perfect place to call my painting complete.

Try not to overwork it or overthink it. Let the voices mingle on the canvas and stand back in awe of the one continue voice that comes through in the end.

This is your voice, this is your power.

Add final contracting tones to bring each voice out into the open

Share Your Dreams

One final word of wisdom. When you share (not compare) your dreams you are expanding the power of creativity. Make sure you share with a supportive group of creative dreamers like you. This is the power of creative community!

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