In addition to the Beginner’s mind post, I wanted to see how many games I could come up with to trick the mind into creative mode. Here’s what I have for you so far, I hope some of it works as well for you as it does for me.
Grab a pile of paper, doodle while you watch tv, meditate, talk on the phone, or simply with a pencil and your eyes closed, run a long line round and round on the sheet, completely random. When it’s full, look for shapes and draw them in with a pen. Usually for me it’s cartoon figures and animals that emerge, could be flowers, anything. Colour in the best ones with markers, crayons, pencils, maybe start a new drawing with those images as the base idea.
Play with marbling (requires inks, a flat tray and wallpaper glue) or leaf prints. Then tear up the results and make collages. Or use them for greeting cards, decoupage, scrapbooking backgrounds, covers for notebooks. That’s not painting you say. No, but by doing something with your hands, ideas have a tendency to creep up from the back of your mind. We’re just trying to get into playmode here and away from overachiever mode.
Glue fabric, leaves and photos onto your painting, then keep painting.
Experiment. Does the salt trick work with acrylic paints like they do for oils and watercolour? Indeed it can, but don’t put salt all over, it’ll just look like the painting got measles.
Read travel books, with or without pictures, fantasy novels, “coffee table” books, watch National Graphic tv, do a google image search for a specific location or topic.
Go somewhere you’ve never been before, something fun could be happening in the next town over. I’m really, really bad at not doing this, I keep saying it’s no fun without company and it’s hard to plan when you share a car with someone else. (meaning, the car isn’t always there when you want it) But really, those are just excuses for being a homebody.
Try new tools or medium. Brushes, stuff to make prints with, paint a whole image using sponges, ink, magic markers, plants.
And something that may seem completely opposite from the intuitive process: rehearse your paintings. I sometimes have ideas for nearly finished images, but I’m unsure if it’s a good one. Why not make a small version on paper first to SEE if you like it, instead of trying to imagine if you do? I know the old masters did this, so why can’t I?
So now you have all the good ideas and intentions, but you keep pushing it until tomorrow, or you actually sit down to paint a little but nothing happens. This is actually normal from what I hear. I’m a person who knows a bit about nearly everything (ok, a lot anyway), but I’m not any kind of expert on anything. What I am though, is a Master of Procrastinastion. I get seated, I remembered to pee, got my coffee, walked the dog, open up Writer or WordPress to get started – and then I get this sudden urge to trim my nails. Your subconscious can think up a million excuses to prevent you from taking on any kind of challenge. I don’t know why, I’ve even tried to sit down to have a little talk with (at) it, it keeps happening.
The thing is, it doesn’t seem very likely that you’ll beat this tendency with sheer willpower. Maybe some can, most of us can try to a certain extent. So what you do is, you go with the flow in this instance too. You stay seated. You doodle and fiddle and take another potty break, but you do not pack up your gear and give up.
Sometimes it may take a whole hour to get into workmode, so it’s important to have set up enough time to get past that fiddly resistance if you know you have days like this. Other days I know exactly what I want to do, some days I even get so many ideas just standing in the shower, I don’t know which one to pick first, so I have to write a list so I don’t confuse myself (another procrastinator!). On those days it’s easy to just sit down for half an hour, fill a few pages with words or colour and then go clip those toenails if you really must. But you’re bound to run into some of the others as well, and the thing is to keep at it until you’ve done at least something. Doesn’t have to be brilliant, it just has to be.
So what have I got to show for it you say? Well, I ended up knitting, as you may have noticed. But next on the list it tidy up office and desk, so I wonder if I could procrastinate on that with a sudden urge to paint?
Please share your ideas on how to call on that imagination when it seems to be hiding!
> 1. Finally
> 2. Beginner’s mind
> 3. Creating creativity
> 4. New Tricks
Hvordan man snyder sig til at få kreative ideer
Nogen gange går hjernen lidt i stå, selvom man egentlig har lysten til at male. Så jeg bruger små tricks for at sætte fantasien i sving, der kommer hele tiden nye til.
Tegn kruseduller med blyant, gerne med lukkede øjne, bare rundt og rundt på papiret. Kig efter figurer, som tegnes op med pen og evt. farvelægges.
Der behøver ikke være et motiv, man kan lege med marmorering, plantetryk og andet, rive det hele i stumper bagefter og lave collager, kort, indpakning, bogomslag og andet. Det handler bare om at bruge hænderne og farverne indtil der kommer en ide til et billede, eller bare en lyst til at starte med en bestemt farve på lærredet. Man kan ikke rigtig tænke sig til det, men det går nemmere når man involverer kroppen.
Man kan teste forskellige teknikker og redskaber, bare for at få en fornemmelse for, hvad man kan, og så ender det måske alligevel med at se helt godt ud. Ellers maler man bare ovenpå.
Nye oplevelser er også godt, det kan være en spændende bog, et naturprogram, en udflugt til et galleri eller et nyt sted (det er jeg ikke så god til at tage mig sammen til, der er lidt langt til alting herude på bøhlandet). Man kan også bare rejse rundt via Google!
Og endelig er det jo ikke nogen skam at lave kladder af sine måske-ideer, det gjorde de gamle mestre også. På den måde kan man måske få luget ud i godt og skidt…
Og hvis det stadig ikke virker, er det vigtigt at blive ved. Måske tager det en hel time at “komme i stemning”, så det duer ikke at starte 20 min. før ungerne kommer hjem og vil have mad fx. Læg mærke til alle de undskyldninger din underbevidsthed finder på, kaffepauser, opvaskemaskinen som lige pludselig trænger til at blive tømt prompte, accepter det, men pak ikke dine ting væk, hent kaffen og bliv ved med at dimse til der sker et eller andet.
Jeg fik lige pludselig lyst til at strikke, og det er ok, men næste punkt på listen er oprydning af kontor og skrivebord, så måske maleri bliver min overspringshandling for at udskyde det…. Jeg er verdensmester i overspring, og da jeg ikke altid kan bekæmpe det med viljestyrke, har jeg valgt at tage det med som en del af pakken, men blot prøve at være opmærksom på når det sker.
Del gerne jeres tricks til at kalde fantasien frem, når den gemmer sig!
13 tanker om “Creating creativity”
Another thought-provoking post, you really are on a roll Pia 🙂
I have found that to encourage that creative mood, my mind needs the right balance of emptying and filling. Filling it is the easy bit, looking at inspiring pictures or books exactly the way you suggest. But then, it needs emptying as well, so that all those creative ideas can start popping up again (I suppose that’s why so many people get their best ideas while having a shower or something similar). For me, such mind emptying activities are spinning and carding (without any background music or anything else going on), they keep the hands busy but the mind free. Also, I get a lot of inspiration from the raw materials themselves, especially colours, just making nice colours, whether in wool or paint, starts suggesting possibilities of what to do with those colours. I suppose this is the colour equivalent of your doodling exercise. I doodle with colour.
loved your paintings too, lots of inspirational colours! And I did not know about that salt trick, must try it some time, I like the effect..
It’s funny you should say that, because I wrote some more notes earlier today on the “empty mind” topic (I must be on a roll as you say). Great minds think alike!
looking forward to the next installment then… 😉
Ja, hvorfor mon vi så ofte spænder ben for os selv i vore kreative processer. Jeg har det i hvert fald svært med at løsrive mig fra nettet eller en (for) god bog og gå ind og “frembringe noget”. Jeg har en lille tegning hængende over mit skrivebord med edet latinske motto “Nulla dies sine linea” der betyder ingen dag uden en streg, og jeg prøver at efterleve det. Om jeg så skal gå ind og sætte mig ved tegnebordet efter at have børstet tænder 😉
Åh ja, nettet og bøger, man skal lige checke fora og blogge, vejrudsigten og nyhederne og en god roman kan også være svær at slippe. Netop at gøre det til en vane at skabe noget hver dag er noget mange forfattere og kunstnere taler om, så der er nok noget om det. Uanset om det man får kreeret er “ubrugeligt”, det vigtige i første omgang er at GØRE.
(we’re talking about letting yourself get distracted by the internet or reading a good book, “just one more blog, chapter, whatever, then I’ll go and be creative. Oops, there went the day!”)
What a superb post Pia, I can relate to many of the things you say, your absolutely right about the mind finding a million reasons not to do something. We must see this in our own minds, see this in ourselves and learn not to listen. Just to do something is better than doing nothing at all. Your posts are inspiration, Pia. Thank you, SN
I’m glad somebody can use it, I’d hate to be talking to myself. So, are we going to see some paintings on your blog in the near future?
Yes Pia, I’ve checked a few books out on the basics and I’m going to give it a go. It’s your encouragement that’s motivated me and I’m truly grateful. Thank you, SN
Cool! I think I’m in the mood for some landscapes as well, looking forward to hearing how you’re getting along! You can always start by painting from photos, no shame in that!
Good idea Pia, I do have some photo’s of a couple of landscapes I’d like to paint and I’ll definitely let you know how I get along. I’m excited at the prospect! Best wishes, SN