Friday, 29 May 2015

Exploring creativity


Creativity can be what you want it to be, whatever satisfies that 'creative itch' we all suffer from - According to one dictionary, creativity is "the ability to create and is characterized by originality and expressiveness".

You don’t have to create exquisite sculptures or breathtaking sonnets. We’re creating all the time simply by being alive. Every decision we make, every time we move, breathe, or speak we are creating. In fact, we couldn’t not create even if we wanted to. It’s simply impossible.

I've heard people say that they should have started being creative in their childhood and that they're "too old" to start "being creative now". Unfortunately, there are many impediments to creativity in childhood and early life, from parental disapproval to criticism in school. Children are easily discouraged or diverted into other activities. As a young adult it may be a matter of individual circumstances, where one has to sacrifice creative art for a regular pay cheque.

I read on the internet about a woman who started painting in watercolour in her early 70s. She worked hard at it and persisted in spite of serious health problems and the death of her husband. At the age of 91 she still paints every day - and has a show each year, selling just about everything she paints.

Being "older" or starting something late in life can be a blessing in disguise. As you probably have more time on your hands with the children out of the house, maybe retirement looming, it's an ideal opportunity to focus and put all your attention into being creative.

"Cloud Study" - by Maree - one of my first experiments with watercolours in the 1960's

We all release our creative itch by doing what we love; cooking, baking, sewing, woodwork, beading, painting (as in art), painting (as in walls, which I can stand and do for hours!), sketching, sculpting, writing, graphic design (even on the computer can be highly creative and fulfilling), pottery - I can probably fill 10 pages trying to list the ways in which we express our natural creativity.

As an aspiring artist, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be more creative. I’ve explored the traditional paths to creativity; painting, drawing, playing an instrument, creative writing, poetry, etc. I connected with creative souls; artists, and people living off the grid (away from the mainstream.

While I found this sparked my creative spirit, it only went so far and I realised that, to truly tap into your creative nature, you only have to realize one thing…

You are already an artist.

Some people believe that creativity is a gift or a talent possessed by a "chosen few'". I don't believe this. I believe that creativity is something every normal human being is born with. Each of us is born with a clean slate and the potential to develop into a creative being. You make creative choices every day, and by using a little imagination you can stimulate your own creativity every time you decide what to wear, what to fix for dinner, or how to plant a flower bed. Creativity doesn't pertain only to 'artists'. And talent has two definitions - a natural ability or a developed skill, but there is nothing to prevent an average person from developing creative skills to a high degree.

Talent is a potential, not a guarantee of success. There's no real test for talent - it's a matter of faith and experience. Talent consists of wanting to do and believing that you can.

It requires the relentless pursuit of your creative goals and the three P's - Practice, patience, perseverance. When you feel disappointed about your progress, remember that it took Beethoven twenty years to compose his "Ode to Joy."

Flaubert said, "Talent is long patience."

"View across the road" watercolour by Maree©

Laptop sleeve printed with "View across the road"

Henri Matisse said,

"Creation is the artist's true function. But it would be a mistake to ascribe creative power to an inborn talent. Creation begins with vision. The artist has to look at everything as though seeing it for the first time, like a child.

To create is to express what we have within ourselves. We take from our surroundings everything that can nourish our internal vision. We enrich ourselves internally with all the forms we have mastered, which we set to a new rhythm. It is in the expression of this rhythm that the artist's work becomes really creative.

Great love is needed to achieve this, a love capable of inspiring and sustaining that patient striving towards truth, that glowing warmth and that analytic profundity that accompany the birth of any work of art.

And is not love the origin of all creation?"

"The entrance" watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Maree©

I believe creativity is a choice. You can be just about anything you decide to be, if you work hard enough for it.

It's never too late to create.

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