The Wonder of Harnessing Human Creativity
Wonderful Wednesdays: The Art of Learning to See Wonder
The above painting, Ideas, in available in print forms here. as note cards, tote bag or phone case.
Human creativity is pure energy
Human creativity is an absolute wonder me.. In today's 'Wonderful Wednesday,' I give just a quick tap to the very tip of what is an enormous subject.. More will come later.. Creativity is pure energy. And like any pure energy source, it must be tamed in order to begin to have usefulness. A certain restraint must be enforced onto it. Today's 'wonder' is about how a writhing, explosive creative idea begins to take shape and form..
How are creative thoughts released?
Do they just 'appear' from nowhere, beaming down to us like Spock? Do they lie dormant, silently waiting for the precise moment in time when all the stars are properly aligned? If you've secretly suspected the previous, well then, the true answer may be a bit surprising. This little post is just a short nod to something I'll be writing more about soon. Creative thought. When a creative thought comes to us, how do we wrestle it, form it and then reveal it for all the world to see?
Massaging the initial creative impulse
Studies show that many 'creatives' use some type of a pattern or a template to help give shape to their idea. In doing some reading on this subject, I was fascinated to learn that iconic rock band, The Beatles, created oodles of their top songs by massaging an initial creative impulse for a song by using a certain progression of applied thought. Paul McCartney and John Lennon apparently used this formula at the beginning of their careers. It served them well. And they’re not alone in this practice either. Many authors, visual artists, and composers use a similar type of guide to move their concept along to completion. It's funny though. There's a perception that creative people just float along on a magic carpet, receiving completed bundles of inspiration from outer space.
A secret wrestling guide
But that's not the way it goes. A creative thought comes. It's a seedling that needs to be tended to and wrestled with. That's the 'dirty little secret.' When I have an idea for a painting, there are certain big chunks of the puzzle that I immediately consider. Certain basic principles of design guide and direct my hands. What is the focal point going to be? How will I create a way for the eye to move around the canvas? How will I create visual interest by using contrasting areas of light and dark values? These are a few of the outline points for a painter.
Two tricks for wrestling a creative idea
In addition, this practice of using patterns as guides is not just used by creatives. Surprisingly, studies show that even the habits of most business-related innovators use certain guides as well. Here are just two. Of course, I tend to look at them through the lens of painting. But I thought these were so interesting and immediately saw them in constant practice across so many disciplines.
Eliminate the unnecessary
First is the idea of elimination. Subtracting some component that may have seemed essential at first, is deleted. Again, this rings so true to me as a painter. It's all about knowing what to include on the canvas and what to leave off the canvas. The same is true for photography, writing, songwriting, sculpting. In teaching beginners painting classes, I've always found it necessary to address this. The beginner always wants to paint literally and include every item, every tree, every literal thing that's seen. My task has been to teach this principle of elimination.
Integrate and blend ideas
Next is the notion of integration where a part of the project is given an additional role that it wasn’t originally designed to do. Creative writing, songwriting, and painting - they all practice this, especially when using allegory and symbolism.
This subject fascinates me! We, humans, are spectacular in our capacity for creative expression. I'll write more on this soon, for sure!