Creativity in everyday life - The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly effect is a theory that originated with a scientist named Johann Gottlieb Fichtein The Vocation of Man (1800). He says “you could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby … changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole”(Wikepedia). The theory was examined by other scientists primarily in relation to the weather over the following years and into recent times.

Ray Bradbury explored the concept in his fiction book “A Sound of Thunder”, a 1952 short story about time travel.The whole concept was further investigated by E. N. Lorenz, who proposed a mathematical model for how tiny motions in the atmosphere scale up to effect larger systems.

People have loved this idea and have let their imaginations run wild. For example, can the flapping of the wings of a bird in Canada affect the weather in Texas? The theory became known as the Butterfly Effect. The butterfly has become more of a metaphor for small gestures affecting change. Will recycling at your own house affect the environment? Will walking more and using the car less affect the air quality over time?

The artistic interpretation of the Butterfly Effect and how to create your own effect.

Recent applications of this theory have been in relation to people and their behaviour. If you do a kindness to someone today, will it affect tomorrow? There is much debate about this whole theory and it has been relabelled as a ‘Pay it forward’ concept. Be nice now because it will affect your future.

Do you believe this theory? Opinions vary but I tend to agree with the Butterfly Effect. For example, imagine that you are stuck in traffic. You are in the right lane and this lane has to merge to the left because there is construction on the side of the road. You wait patiently for the car on the left to let you in. Not a single car lets you in for about ten minutes. How do you feel? Will you go home and tell this story with a twist on how people are so unkind? Your kids will hear this and pick it up. The world is unkind. Another scenario shows you waiting in line to merge but you only wait one minute or so. The driver that lets you in smiles and waves. How do you feel? You go home and tell this story. Your kids pick up the message that people are nice and helpful. Your world is looking better and so is theirs. These examples point out that small every day events lead affect not only you but everyone around you.

Imagine the effects happening to hundreds of people and changing attitudes. Am I exaggerating? Change does start with you. How can you apply this to your art practice?

According to Fichte, dynamics, even small ones can affect long term change. What long term change to you want? Do you want to earn more money? Do you want more painting time? Do you want your reputation as an art instructor to grow? Step 1 is for you to decide what you really want. Write down three items that you really want for your art practice.

Make four columns for each item. Column one is what you want to do. For example, do you want to have more shows for your work? Under column 2 is where you want to show. Column 3 is the date when they take proposals. Column 4 is when you get the application form and fill it out. Making columns like this leads you to take actions that will lead to you achieving your goal.

This is your Butterfly Effect. The small action of making a series of columns listing your goals is like the small butterfly wings making enough wind to eventually create a tornado down the line. Your small actions towards your goal will lead to you showing in the galleries that you want down the line. Belief in yourself is essential but more important than that is the willingness to take action. No matter how good you are as an artist, if you never pick up a brush or show your work to anyone, nothing will happen. You will never be known as an artist if you do not start with actions that lead to others knowing about you.

Action speaks louder than words. Are you willing to bat your wings like the butterfly? That is the question. If the answer is yes, you will achieve great results. But, it will take time. Persistence is also the key to success. Consistently flapping your wings will lead you to achieve your goals. Are you willing to try? I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website:

I have creativity courses and art courses online at:

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *