Sunday, December 30, 2012

Learning To Be Creative

Often people come to my painting classes and say things like "I'm really not creative." Kind of makes you wonder why someone would show up for a class that will require some creative effort. Sometimes they were dragged by a friend or spouse, and sometimes they just want to try something different. Or perhaps they're holding out hope that then can actually learn to be creative. Whatever the case, I give them loads of credit for just showing up; that's half the battle.

True be told, I used to say the same thing. From the time I was a kid (when creativity should come naturally), through my 20s, I thought I was just not the creative or artistic "type". And I was right, really. At least until I found that I was wrong. What I mean to say is: whether you think you're as creative as Salvador Dali, or as unimaginative as Eeyore: you're right. (Until you change your mind, that is.)

I think the most common misconception about creativity is that you either have it or you don't. The truth is that we're all creative people. But it takes work. Contrary to popular belief, creative people are not overwhelmed with ideas all the time. It does take work, and we do get blocked. Part of the creative process is actually taking a break from the physical part of creating. Part of the work is play, daydreaming, frolicking. And part of it is thinking, researching and contemplating. Creativity is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. If you don't use it, it atrophies. But it can be built up again.

I just found this great article on creative thinking. I recommend it to everyone - creative thinking can help in every part of your life. It's not just for artists.

Thankfully, I finally found that I am a creative person, and I'm lucky to make a living helping others to be creative. If you think you're not creative, just create something. Anything. Make the main idea be not to create something beautiful or meaningful or funny; the idea should be to just create. Art for art's sake. And here's the key: don't judge your work or yourself. Judgement is the enemy of creativity. But that's a whole different blog entirely.

Now go create something. 

"Wash Away The Pain" acrylic on canvas 16x20 ©Tabetha Hastings

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