I am a contemporary mixed media landscape artist located in St. Albert.I love the vistas that show how vast and varied our landscape is. Capturing memories of nature in a way that a camera cannot, my paintings invite you to explore the subject; quietly discovering what is really there. Each painting is a story waiting to happen. The viewer quietly discovers what is really at the heart of each piece. Within this space I reveal a part of myself and I hope to establish a soul connection with everyone who explores my work. Water-based media, ink and collage provide the means for the interplay between chance and control I most enjoy. If my artwork causes others to look at nature with more attention, I have achieved my goal.
I was an artist for years but I did not really own up to it. I said that I was an artist but inside I did not believe it to a big part of me. I was also a mother, wife, teacher and more. All of them were even. As time went by, I wondered why my ‘artist’ self was not growing. Much later, I realized that I treated every part of my ‘selves’ evenly. I only allotted a certain amount of time to my ‘art’ self. As I let the ‘art self’ get more space in my life, my artist in me grew and got better. My artist persona took more of my time and my art grew.
Decide to be an artist. This is what you do:
1. Make a list of all the ‘selves’. This can be mother, father, care giver, mediator, daughter, son, etc…
2. Beside each self, write the percent of your life that it is…ie. 10% daughter, 8% student, 18 % artist, etc… Everything should add up to 100%.
Which of these parts could be smaller? Can you downsize some of these parts? Can you plan meals ahead of time? Can you shop once a week instead of three? Can you get a robot vacuum that works when you are not there instead of vacuuming yourself? These are just ideas to trigger you into finding time for your art.
Another example is the time you use travelling to your job and back. Are you driving? Get a recorder to record your ideas as you drive. Use your phone. I get great ideas as I drive but if I don’t get them down, they disappear.
If you take the bus, can you sketch or doodle your ideas? This is time well used. Can you doodle as you wait for children to finish their lessons? Can you doodle as you wait for your spouse? Or wait at the doctor’s office?
3. Add your extra time to your ‘artist’ self. This is time that you can be an artist. You can use the time to draw, sculpt, work out ideas and more.
4. The carving out of time for your art is part of being an artist. You need to allow yourself the time. You need to give yourself permission to be an artist and act like an artist. Say to yourself ‘I am an artist’ and then, just act like one. Do your drawing, sculpting or whatever you do. Do it now! Make time to do it now!
There are a lot of efficiency ideas out there. One book you can consult is ‘Eat that frog’ by Brian Tracy. What I gleaned from him is that you should do the job that you dread the most first. When that hard job is over, everything else is easy. Another person you could listen to on Youtube is @David Snyder. He discusses how you can change yourself to make things happen. You can also read this article on @Artwork Archive: https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/9-things-you-should-give-up-to-be-a-successful-artist. This article will suggest what you should give up to become an artist. You can also check out my class on Udemy.com: Basic information to get started in art -tip and techniques.
Looking on the positive side, it boils down to adding time to your art practice. Spend time with your artwork. Believe in yourself. You are an artist.
In this final blog about ‘Wired to create’ by @Scott B. Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015), I am going to follow their concept that artists or creatives should accept that they think differently because thinking outside of the box is a positive trait. Doing something that is different from what is traditionally acceptable is thinking differently.
Kaufman and Gregoire give the example of @Steve Jobs and his marketing strategies such as ‘change the world for the better’, as an example of thinking differently. Challenging the status quo. Henri Matisse was known for pushing the art world from post impressionism to modernism. He said that creativity takes courage.
Following your own path takes courage. Many artists did this; @Picasso, @Van Gogh, @Rodin, @Georgia O’Keeffe and many many more. There are a lot of examples of artists being rejected. Dr. Seus rejected 99 times. The first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times. Creators create again and again and again. Thomas Edison had a 33% rejection rate for his inventions. Shakespeare had several failures as did Bethoven but the point is that they did not stop. They continued creating. According to Kaufman and Gregoire creative people learn to see failure as a stepping stone to success. They keep going and going like the famous energiser bunny.
Creativity is the natural result of risk taking says Kaufman and Gregoire. Artists are risk takers. We must not fear making mistakes. According to @Sir Ken Robinson, we, as a population, are loosing the creative trait because it is being educated out of us in the school system. Sir Ken Robinson argues that we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. If you want to know more about this, you can watch:
How do we become more creative? We can embrace our ‘messiness’ – our unique way of embracing the world. Creativity is not only about creative work but also about living creatively. Perception of a task can make it a problem or a challenge. Whether you think a drawing or a painting is a failure is largely a matter of perception. But there’s no getting away from the effect the feeling of having produced a failure has on you.You can become demoralised. You doubt your ability. Perhaps you start to wonder if you really have it in you to be an artist. Don’t go there!
Here are some web sites or articles that can help you:
If you can view the pieces you do from the beginning as just another part of your learning process, another step along your path, it becomes much easier to stay focused on improving, to let go and move on to the next one.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, I know. It’s not like you can change your approach to your work overnight. However, every time you have a failure, instead of seeing it as the end of something, see it as the middle of a longer project.
For me, my approach to what I do has changed gradually over the years. At the moment, although I draw every day, I don’t try to produce any finished pieces at all. I’m purely focused on practice, keeping my regular drawing practice habit going above all else. Funnily enough, some of what I produce now is more beautiful (in my humble opinion) than what I produced when I was trying to create beautiful, finished pieces.
Yes, lots of what I produce isn’t beautiful. Lots of it is throw away, just trying things out. Or even, on my most difficult days, just drawing so that I can say to myself that I turned up and did my practice.If I had any advice, I would just say ‘show up, work, don’t evaluate, work some more and try again when an idea isn’t your favorite. If you keep working you will find your favorite but if you stop, you will not.
Intuition is also the friend of creativity if you let it. There are many ways to stimulate your creativity according to the book ‘Wired to create’ by @Scott B. Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015). Known to us as a ‘gut feeling’, intuition is that unconscious nudge that pushes us into action or that nagging feeling that we should keep going without really knowing why.
Kaufman and Gregoire say that intuition is a form of thinking and it arises from the link between conscious and subconscious. We need both. This interaction between the two helps us think, reason and create. You have the conscious mind that is more effortful and controlled and the subconscious that may be faster and more sophisticated. Both are needed for the creative process. As we move between the two, we get flashes of insight. Studies have shown that different regions of the brain are triggered at different times in the creative process.
According to studies, Kaufman and Gregoire suggest that there are steps to creating that insight. A good mood helps as it broadens your attention. Focus on happier thoughts. It is important to note that like most theories, there are exceptions and some people get their best ideas in a bad mood. If you had to choose, which would you pick? I would go for the happy mood myself.
Build up your knowledge base of a particular subject you are interested in or stimulate your brain with a new subject and you will be on your way to priming your brain for action. However, there is one problem. In the book Outliers by@ Malcolm Gladwell
said that 10,000 hours are needed to master a skill. Sometimes, more than that. Check out this article:
After you have enough knowledge of your subject, there comes delaying action and playing around with ideas (which I mentioned in an earlier blog) and this is a necessary step. You should take the time to just let the moment happen. So, in my world, that means allowing some time to just play with the ideas. Let the ideas come and go. Make a small painting or two using your ideas. Discard the bad ones and keep the better ones.
The authors also say that you should also allow yourself new or unusual experiences. Explore you interests that you don’t usually have time for. If you like diving out of airplanes, go now. Explore interests that you haven’t spent time on yet like collecting fossils, for example. If you have always wondered how Persian carpets are made, look it up. These activities should follow your interests. The important part is giving yourself time to do them.The desire to learn and discover are more important than any other factors. This drive for exploration is what provides the raw materials for the ‘insight’.
The insight happens during what is called Flow. A flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone. At this stage, a person performs an activity, is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.
Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975, the concept of flow has been adopted by many creativity experts. Kaufman and Gregoire say that what disrupts the familiar is what leads to new ideas. A balance between the intellectual, imaginative, aesthetic and emotional realm is important for creative work. Habit and convention are creativity killers. But, to create change that will trigger ideas, you don’t have to move to another country, just try something new. Try new skill, a trip to art galleries, a new food, a new kind of movie, a documentary on something that you have never heard of before and so on.
Mindfulness and flow go hand in hand. Remember that mindfulness is focussing on what you are doing in the moment. The roots of Mindfulness come from Buddhism. Like flow, mindfulness became popular in the 1970’s. Artists like Leonard Cohen adopted Buddhist beliefs and started practicing the basic principles. Steve Jobs, co-founder, chief executive and chairman of Apple Computers, is another person who adopted Buddhist beliefs and mindfulness in particular.
In more recent times, mindfulness has been used to increase functioning abilities in executives in order to increase concentration and flexibility in every day life. Mindfulness is also linked to greater memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. The goal is to be present when those good thoughts arrive and remember them.
So what can you do? Kaufman and Gregoire present some interesting ideas that some of their research revealed. One person in their study wrote down one item every day that caught her attention or was ‘interesting’. This was material that made her more present in her life and made her notice what was around her. She was a seeker of interesting and a collector of interesting things.
What can we do as artists to imitate this idea?
-Draw one item a day.
-First thing in the morning, look outside. Draw the feeling.
-Take 5 minutes in your day and stop. Close your eyes. Smell.
-When you eat a new food, eat it slowly. Draw it.
-Sit for one minute and look around you. What do you see? What catches your eye?
Going back to the beginning, intuition, flow and mindfulness are all interlinked. Observation is the one skill that is closely linked to creativity. According to Kaufman and Gregoire, the one skill that creatives need to disobey is acting with awareness, because it restricts mind wandering, one of the key components of creativity. So as artists if we work on our projects, we work them one at a time. I have a hard time doing this. Mixed media work needs time to dry so I tend to work on 3-5 projects at a time but there is one point in the painting where I focus on just the single work. This is near the end of the project. I let my ideas flow just for that one work. Your challenge is to try this and see if it works for you. Find the right routine that will lead to better and better work.
Passion is not enough, sensitivity is not enough and intuition is not enough
For creativity to happen, more has to happen. You need passion, intuition, and solitude, according to the book ‘Wired to create’ by @Scott B. Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015). Kaufman and Gregoire say that most creative people can recall a time in their life where they saw, heard, sensed or tasted something that made them decide that ‘this’ is what they wanted to do in their life. They discovered their ‘passion’. In that person’s self, the individual and the activity intertwined to become one. The authors believe that this is what propels people towards their destinies.
However, the next step must happen. The individual must take steps towards that ‘passion’ and find the element in it that best suits them. A person needs to choose, develop the skills and be willing to put in the time needed to develop the skills. At the same time, the person needs to find a way to integrate that passion in their lifestyle.
Within the passion, there are moments of inspiration. First the person is inspired by something (a role model, an idea or an experience) then we start to see the possibilities of this change or idea. Kaufman and Gregoire say that the person is ‘awakened’ to the possibilities. The next step is important. Taking action or working towards that idea comes next. In there we must add a step; preparation or the development of skills. This means learning the skill needed to transform the idea or develop the passion.
If, in the development of the skills, you realize that you don’t have the muscle strength to become a wood carver, is there a way that you can take the same idea and use different materials. You need to try to develop the skills to find out. Moving in that direction does not guarantee success with the project. The ability to modify your idea and use different materials for example, is part of the creative process.
Kaufman and Gregoire say that inspired people are more likely to do more work hard because they are more driven. The idea or inspiration and the work ethic need to work together. The authors agree that not only does the person need to love the dream, they must love the process of becoming the person who can sculpt or paint. Perseverance in achieving that goal is essential. The person needs to be able to hold onto that goal for a long time in order to achieve or realize it.
Hope, according to Kaufman and Gregoire, is a driving factor. A hopeful state of mind pushes the person through tough moments or stages. People approach their goals not only with hope but with strategies that lead to success.
Solitude. No, you do not have to be a hermit. Kaufman and Gregoire say that a ‘room of one’s own’ is a basic need for most creative people. Some people make their own ‘room’ by getting up early or staying up after everyone else is in bed. Creatives need alone time but they are not necessarily lonely. The solitude gives the mind space to reflect, find meaning and connect all those different ideas floating around in their heads.
One book that describes this very well is Quiet by @Susan Cain (https://www.quietrev.com). Cain describes best the creative’s need for time away from the masses. A capacity for solitude is a sign of emotional maturity and it is a skill that can be learned.
Creatives tend to work alone and this is needed time for reflection. The mind needs time to settle down in order to ‘reflect’ on the day or the project. Internal reflection can also be done when the body is doing mundane tasks like washing dishes, laundry or other activities that are more or less automatic.
Sensitivity. Kaufman and Gregoire advocate that sensitivity is a gift. According to research, sensitive creatives have higher levels of awareness, see their world with heightened awareness and are more autonomous. For example, they might see ‘brighter’ colors or detailed textures.
Heightened sensitivity can be a challenge and an asset. Kaufman and Gregoire note that it requires spending more time alone. Creatives need to block out this sensitivity sometimes and at other times focus on it. To the sensitive mind, there is more to observe, take in, feel and process. Sensitive people pick up on small items or changes in their environment that others miss. Creatives also process things more deeply. For example, they are more affected by caffeine, medication and pain than others. The result for some is also a roller coaster of emotions and they need to channel that energy into something that is meaningful for their lives.
Do you want to know if you are a sensitive person? Ask yourself:
You absolutely abhor violence and cruelty of any kind. …
You‘re frequently emotionally exhausted from absorbing other people’s feelings. …
Time pressure really rattles you. …
You withdraw often. …
You‘re jumpy. …
You think deeply. …
Sudden, loud noises startle you. For more information you can go to:
Sensitive people detect changes in their environment faster, see detail more, are more sensitive to people’s expressions. Kaufman and Gregoire say that experiences of extreme adversity show us our own strength. As creatives, we are more sensitive to our environment. We feel more deeply. Adversity affects us more. However, that also gives us more material to work with. Being more aware, we are in a position to go beyond just what we see, touch, feel and experience.
Buddhists believe that anything that challenges you makes you pull yourself together. Growth after adversity. Kaufman and Gregoire quote research that says that 70% of trauma survivors report some positive psychological growth and it makes us more creative. Creative work can be a way of exploring and giving expression to that meaning according to Kaufman and Gregoire. Creativity doesn’t require adversity. It is just that adversity makes us more aware and being aware of our environment is part of creativity.
We reconsider things we took for granted, for example. We are forced to evaluate our life differently or ask questions we would not have asked before. We go beyond our limitations into another realm of thinking. In Finland this is called Sisu; the ability to face extraordinary circumstances, courage, resoluteness and an action mindset.
Creativity can also be a coping mechanism during a traumatic time or after a traumatic time. Kaufman and Gregoire say that when we engage in creative activities we tend to become involved or absorbed into the action. And entering a flow state that gives us a sense of control, enjoyment and accomplishment. Kaufman and Gregoire also say that creativity is also a sign that growth has occurred and is an expression of healing.
Adversity need not be a traumatic death. It can be reading a challenging book and finishing it. If this book challenges your basic beliefs, it is considered a challenge. Facing this challenge can lead to change. Kaufman and Gregoire tell us that the best way to get a creative boost is to take a risk and be prepared to fail.
As an artist can you challenge yourself to do something new like:
-Go to some new galleries
-Go visit some artist studios
-Go plein air painting
-Use some new materials or colors
-Go dumster diving for new materials at the Reuse Centre
-Watch some videos by master artists
In the next blog I will talk about intuition…See you then.
Another of the artist’s best practices is daydreaming. I am still learning from the book ‘Wired to create’ by @Scott B. Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015). They are telling me it is OK to do things that I was told not to do as a child and an adult. Under the right circumstances, Kaufman and Gregoire say that daydreaming is a positive activity because it takes us away from our negative thoughts. Another benefit of daydreaming is that our inner thoughts are directed towards goals, aspirations and dreams. We work out our ideas, learn to understand ourselves and work out social situations.
For artists, daydreaming helps us sort out our ideas or process our ideas. The best ideas seem to come out of the blue, when we are doing something else or thinking of something else. Our minds may seem idle but they are actually working out ideas. Kaufman and Gregoire suggest taking a walk, doodling or cleaning when you are stumped or frustrated with a project.Daydreaming should be part of the artist’s toolkit, they insist.
Kaufman and Gregoire maintain that by turning our attention to the inner world, we build a sense of meaning and hope as well as tap into our deepest levels of creativity. Research shows that dreaming about the future helps us reach our goals.
One of the gurus of daydreaming is @Carl Jung. He came up with a technique called creative visualization. He advocated that we should look into our subconscious to help solve problems in the conscious mind. Jung said that with practice, we could train our mind to shift between conscious and subconscious. Remembering our dreams is one way of doing this.
Other ways to access our subconscious mind is to have a nice long, hot shower. There, we are more or less free of distractions, we are relaxed and it insulates us from the external world. No one can distract us.
Another way is to take a walk, preferably in nature. Philosopher, @Immanuel Kant, advocated walks for ideas as did @Charles Darwin and @Henry David Thoreau, @William Wordsworth, @Freud, @Hemingway, @Jefferson and @Aristotle, just to name a few famous names.
Immanuel Kant was an influential Prussian German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; “things-in-themselves” exist, but their nature is unknowable.
The connection between subconscious and conscious is also related to mindfulness. Mindfulness is an awareness of our environment and where we are in the moment. Mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.
To me, mindfulness is paying attention to my painting process. I become aware of every paint stroke that I do. I carefully put down layers until I have what I want. I put on low music with no words or no music at all and I focus only on my task.
There are hundreds of articles on mindfulness. They basically say similar advice. Learn to eliminate distractions and focus only on what you are doing. Here are a few that could help you if you want to know more:
Creativity is a way of life or a life style or interacting with the world according to the book ‘Wired to create’ by @Scott B. Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015). The authors say that creatives have a tendency to be open minded, imaginative, intellectually curious, energetic, outgoing, persistent and self-motivated regarding their activity. This gives them a greater sense of well-being and personal growth.
People who set aside time in their lives for their creative side have more of what is called ‘creative potential’. Just the act of creating increases the person’s creative abilities. They derive enjoyment from the act of creating therefore they tend to get MORE creative ideas. Having time to take risks in their creative endeavor, personal reflection, daydreaming and inner exploration help people their unique purpose and identity. Kaufman and Gregoire have identified ten habits of ‘creatives’. These habits foster the creativity lifestyle that they love.
Imaginative play is the first trait that creatives all possess.
Play is essential is creativity. Play is considered a way to make sense of the environment in that children, in particular, rehearse their life, conquer fears or what they wish for. According to Kaufman and Gregoire play allows skills like planning, problem solving, organization of diverse content, language development, divergent thinking, curiosity, tolerance and general social skills. All play supports learning.
This is the time when, as an artist, you try new techniques, figure out what works and what doesn’t, choose what works for you and continue in your art practice.
Kaufman and Gregoire say that playing and seriousness need to be combined for the best results. Play gives us resilience, the ability to work through hard projects at work and thus increases your performance. Increased performance and play makes us happy. Who wouldn’t be happy if they managed to solve problems at work then go home to play or even have play time at work. Kaufman and Gregoire add that adult life does not allow for enough time to play. We live structured lives without time to daydream, imagine and play.
As an artist, how can you integrate more play into your practice?
Can you give yourself one day a week or a month to just play with media, ideas or other artists?
Can you pick up a brand new medium and try it out without reading the instructions or taking a class on how to use this material?
Can you bring yourself to the Reuse Centre to find something to make art with that you have never used before?
Can you put big pieces of paper on the floor and paint for fun?
Make a list of things that you could do. Every once in a while, pick one of these ideas and play.
Here are some links about creativity you might also want to see:
Whenever things don’t go as you wish, do you throw a tantrum? Yell and scream?
Curse? No, but you want to? Well, I can relate. The urge to react strongly is very strong and often I want to. But, I only do this in private or in my head. I am, after all, an example to others. I want to be a classy artist not a childish, tantrum yeller kind of artist.
Pyschologically, that is not a good thing to do, according to the psychology books. You should let your frustrations out. Hence, the private tantrum. Otherwise, not letting that frustration out leads to internal reactions like tight muscles, upset stomachs or headaches. What artist wants those? They get in the way of creative moments and making your work.
How can you let that tension go? Here are some ideas for you to try:
1. Lay out some tissue paper on large plastic sheets. Dilute some acrylic paint in your favorite colours. Splatter, paint with bold marks and drip.
2. Lay out some sketchbook paper. You can tape it down if need be. Take the dictionary and open it randomly. Take your finger and point to a word randomly. Paint that word. Repeat this over and over.
3. Lay out large pieces of white paper. Take a 6 in brush and some house paint in different colours. Paint bold movements as you walk around the paper. If you need to, add a broom handle to your brush handle with some duct tape so that you don’t have to bend so much.
In no time, you will feel better. You will also have some great papers to use as backgrounds or as collage for your future work. You now have painted away your frustrations. Life is good again.
Sleep is the fuel for your creative process. Nothing else beats boosts creativity better. According to Sherry Baker in ‘The power of sleep’ (The secrets of creativity, New York: Centennial Media,2019), scientific studies show that keeping regular sleeping hours is the best. Skimping on sleep and pulling all-nighters will harm your brain and creativity even if you sleep extra hours later.
Problem solving is better if you get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Art is all about problem solving. Remember when you decided to finish your painting by working into the wee hours only to discover the next day that you had wrecked it? Most artists have done this. The reason is because your brain needed the sleep to solve the issues. Your brain needed time to rest and think.
According to this article, if you have a problem what you need to do is to wonder about the solutions to your problem before going to sleep. Your brain will work out ideas while you sleep. In the morning, you may have a solution. With the extra sleep you got, you will at least be able to come up with solutions rather than stand there and go ‘duh’ because you are too sleep deprived to come up with any ideas at all.
Most artists have extensive amounts of small tasks that they need to do for their art business. According to Baker, don’t keep all those details in your head. Write them down. Just the act of making a list will help you sleep better and make better decisions in the morning. Keep paper and pencil on your night table.
Too many ideas lead to artists waking up in the night. What this author also suggests is that you write down any ideas that come to you during the night. Quickly jot them down or record them with your phone then go back to sleep. In the morning, you can analyze those ideas to see if they apply to your current challenging work issue.
There is a whole section in this article on writing down your dreams. The author says that it takes time to develop this habit. First thing in the morning, jot down your dreams. At first, there may be only a few words or ideas that you will remember. Eventually your mind will retain more of the dreams you have had. Dreams can then be analyzed to see if they are trying to tell you how to solve your problem.
I have to admit that I have not been able to remember dreams. However, sleeping eight hours a night as much as possible had helped me a lot. The more rested I am, the better my ideas are, the easier I can solve problems and the more patient I am with ‘challenging’ people. Sleeping well and more has done more for me than anything else. I found that the regular my sleeping hours were, the better I performed in my art making. So, if I was to give any advice, it would be: Get some sleep now!
Creativity is one of my main interests and I have come across this book that claims that highly creative people do ten different things differently. The book is ‘Wired to create’ by @Scott B. Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015). They claim that creative people have messy minds and that is what makes them different. That is to say, the process they go through to create a product is not linear. They will start with one thing, then another, discard one or both, start again, bring in new ideas, go back to the first ones and so on. The process of creatives is uniquely theirs and is different every time they create something new. Information comes from just about anything; a color here, a texture from there or even sounds or smells. Over the next few blogs, I will discuss their ideas.
As a painter and installation artist, I can say that this is true for me. I got my latest and best installation idea from some quilts that I saw in South Korea. They were fluttering in the wind in a window as we were going by. It was a fleeting moment but this visual mixed in with my desire to create an installation, having it portable, wanting something that is tall as well as something that I can paint was a trigger to a solution to my installation problem that I had been working on for the last six months. All this happened in a few moments and everything fell into place. You can call this creativity at its best.
Kaufman and Gregoire point out that ‘creatives’ (that is us) have diverse interests, influences, behaviours and ideas and they find a way to bring all these disparate elements together. Often the interests contradict each other but they continue to exist in the creative person. They add that creative people are complex and instead of being an individual, they are a ‘multitude’. The authors also add that a common trait of creatives is an openness to one’s inner life (that’s intuition and self-knowledge), a preference for complexity or ambiguity, a tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to extract order from chaos, independence, unconventionality and a willingness to take risks. Not all creatives have all these traits but a dominance of these seems essential to creatives. Creatives learn to harness their different views and draw new ideas from them.
The good news is that creatives score high in the category of psychological health. They know themselves. Kaufman and Gregoire state that creatives adapt very well to changing circumstances. This is called plasticity; the ability to explore new ideas, objects and scenarios.
When it comes to idea generation, creatives are willing to put out ideas, select the original ideas and then select the best idea. The combination of working out ideas and making them valuable to society or useful. These two ‘seemingly’ contradictory ideas engages the creatives and stimulates them. ‘I wonder what would happen if’ is a common thought that creatives have.
Creativity in everyday life — Portrait artist of the year series
Involving and mesmerising your clients
Generally speaking, I am not a TV watcher. In fact, we don’t own a television. When I do watch movies, it is on my computer. This is less tempting because the screen is small and too much watching gives me a headache. However, I have found one series that has completely captured my interest.
The PBS station recently showed a series called ‘Portrait artist of the year’. Over several episodes, the show invites 9 different artists to come paint the portraits of 3 celebrities. The top three portraits are then analyzed and then a winner is chosen. After several episodes, the winners of each heat are brought back to a semi-final. Again, they paint the portraits of celebrities. The top three of these semi-finals are then invited to another paint off where the winner will paint the portrait of a major celebrity for cash.
I don’t do portraits in my own art practice. I never thought that I would like a program like this but I was hooked. You get to see what the artists use for materials, you see them paint and you get to see how they develop the portrait. Not being a portrait artist, I was surprized how much I liked this show. For me it was about seeing the process.
I loved seeing how the artists mixed their paint, started their sketch and later their painting. If I was hooked, an artist who already knew how to paint, can you imagine their audience of ‘want-to-be-an-artist’ would be intrigued? This is a totally new concept that could be applied to our audiences.
Do you do any demonstrations at your events? Is there a way you can incorporate this idea of showing others how a painting is created. Can you hire someone to sell your paintings while you paint? This is something you might consider. If I can get as involved as I was, in the process and on a topic I don’t even like, your clients will too.