No art today, but some cool links.

I’ve been pondering and reading about creativity lately, or, it keeps popping up in front of me. Couple that with Alyson Stanfield opening up the question of the effectiveness of goals in her ArtBizBlog last week. The question I’ve been toying with is: Can structured goals and the freewheeling of creating new ideas work together or are they diametrically opposed?

I’ve been rereading a book by Twyla Tharp (yes, the choreographer) called The Creative Habit. She talks about her own creative process and has boiled it down to a number of strategies and behaviors that fuel her inspiration.

Nothing is ever easy (otherwise everybody would be doing it!) and dichotomies abound. Structure (processes), rituals (baseball pitchers and golfers have these), and goals (we all got ’em) vs. scratching for ideas, improvisation, accidents, and letting go of planning. Can these all work together?

I’m finding it’s a matter of carefully balancing the two. As Twyla Tharp writes, “Before you can think out of the box, you have to have a box”.

I know everyone works differently, I’d love to hear your take: When creating something new, does structure get it done? Do you seek out inspiration or must you wait for it to hit you?

Ok, that’s the thought-provoking stuff, here’s the fun. Speaking of creativity, you gotta check this out…. (click on the title)

Animator vs Animation by Alan Becker

For those of us who believe their computer has a life of it’s own. (When you click the link, just hit start, move your courser to the side and leave it alone. Just watch.) What a creative entertaining work of art!


About Tracy Wall

I'm an artist and massage therapist living in Denver, Colorado.
This entry was posted in Art, Art Blogs, Creative Process, Other Artists and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Creativity

  1. Melissa says:

    Oh, comments is way down at the bottom.

    If I just pick up a brush, open a tube, that’s generally all it takes. There are soooo many paintings waiting to be done! Plein air— shut up the headrackett, breathe, and observe the layers of colors. Obvious what is over what.

    And it’s getting much much much easier since I read Eckheart Tolle’s new book, “A New Earth”

    (Even tho’ I let day-to-day stuff interfere. Go bank, mow, laundry. Fiddle on this www.)

  2. Michal says:

    Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for your insightful post.
    Creativity and structure might seem like two opposites, but I believe that constraints and structures actually enhance creativity.
    I’d like to invite you to SIT’s innovation blog, where you can read more about a structured approach to creativity. The blog is still making its’ first steps but it will soon present many examples of using a structured method for generating innovative ideas.

  3. Bim says:

    Structure and creativity are like two personalities, giving and taking. Michal is right, sometimes when my back is up against the wall or when the constraints force me to simplify, I come up with something brilliant. Other times I need complete lack of structure to be able to explore my musings.

    Great Flash animation by the way!


  4. Tracy says:

    Melissa — It’s true there is so much I’d like to paint. I agree, sometimes if you just get in there like you’re going to paint and do all the necessary prep stuff (that’s the rituals I had mentioned), that in and of itself can light the match.

    Michal — l agree they can go hand-in-hand even though they seem like polar opposites. Thanks for the link; I’ll have to take a peek!

    Bim — Nice analogy (give/take), and yes it’s a good point you and Michal make. I think that’s a reason why I often limit myself in some ways when painting. For example, I’ll limit my color palate to only 3 colors (split complementaries, analogous, etc) and white, or force myself to use only one brush or limit my time. Kinda holds my feet to the proverbial fire and gets the blood moving.

    I just thought that animation was a hoot! Had to watch it a few times to catch everything.

  5. Brenda Marks says:

    For me sometimes the “gestation” of an idea is pretty long. I see things and they roll around in my head for a long time. When I’ve tried to push the expression of the idea (getting it “down” before my brain is ready), I tend to get frustrated.

    Another book to explore is Life, Paint and Passion (by Cassou and Cubley).

  6. Lisa Call says:

    For me it’s about showing up consistently. The structured part is to put myself into my studio every day. To make sure there is opportunity and time for creativity. Once there – not a heck of a lot of structure. It just happens.

    But it happens with more ease the more often I make myself show up.

    It’s been about 3 months since I’ve made art with my move. I’m very much looking for a studio so I have somewhere to show up into!

  7. Tracy says:

    Brenda – That’s a good point, sometimes a concept needs to gel before you can get a better idea in your head what its to become. I’ll have to check out the book!

    Lisa – I like that idea of the structure being the nuts and bolts of organization / time management. Not in the creative process.

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