The creativity process

I have written about creativity boosters in here before. This video however happens to map out a process for us to understand the creative process and give us a way to see where we are at 🙂 That’s a good wisdom… 🙂

I put this up at a time when many students are winding down from studies in the lead up to Christmas and the end of study for some. I figure that people in creative industries and studies need to keep their “jug of creativity” full and keep ideas flowing. Enjoy creating and explore the process. 🙂


Steve Gray

creative meanderings

I’m starting a new activity in 2014, part of it involves creativity. I wanted to create a list of creative ‘jumping off points’ to clear my head and let me focus on other aspects of the program which runs over nine weeks.

Here is what I came up with, do you have any you would add to this list? Share them in the comments.

Scamper – Discuss spinoffs of the original idea – What could be added to it to make it better or different? Great if you have a starting point idea or product

Opposites – Think opposite to what you want (a challenge etc) – Brainstorm and explore – add pictures – look for relationships to the original challenge

Word play – Opposite words – String a whole bunch together and see what patterns show up – write down the findings and discuss – I used to do this at University with a friend at lunch time, the aim was to find the word that was most opposite or different to the word the other person just mentioned, it gets funny I can assure you of that

Visualize – to music, to art, to anything that gets your mind going – Jot down your findings and explore those further with discussion

Doodle – Draw a group doodle on a large piece of paper perhaps with an idea, or challenge spelt out in the middle, discuss and write down your findings. anything new or exciting? with four people on each side of the paper the drawings and findigs can get very interesting fast

Keep a note book – Jot ideas down as they come to you during your time away from your activity

Keep a dream journal – First thing in the morning (or in the night if you can’t sleep) jot down the key points of the dreams, as you develop this skill more details can be recalled. Note do the dreams become more lucid as you do this?

Distract o fun – Find some toys to play with, e.g. a big beach ball and play with your group keeping the ball afloat or some other game. Discuss what went through your head after a few minutes of playing. Any key points to explore from that? What happens if a key discussion point is talked about as the ball goes around the room?

Environmental change – When you go to a new place, take a walk etc,  you can clear your mind and allow fresh thoughts to take place. A great way to start a meeting or team get together

Walking meditation – Slow deliberate mindfulness created with a quiet walking meditation, follow the leader, walk in rows, or any other combination where the slow breathing and mindful movement can allow a fresh start to your thinking processes – Discuss the findings

Musical break – Listen to some classical music, explore the emotions the music conjures up, what can you get from that, what did you notice. Jot down the emotions and discuss which ones are more positive and why you think that.

Laugh – Find something to laugh at that is suitable for all ages and have a good laugh. This frees up the endorphins, dopamine and other “feel good chemicals” in your brain. what does this positivity lead you to?

People – Explore personality types and appreciate why EQ is probably more important than IQ

Team creative writing – Have a group come up with a bunch of characters and jot down some scenarios the characters could get involved in – What can you now do with the information?

Collage – Find old magazines with images of value to the group and their interests, cut and paste on a series of large sheets of paper and explore the possibilities, play music in the background for stimulus, try starting with a short visualization

Random objects – Come up with 3 random objects people can visualize, write the name of the objects down, get the team in a circle to make up simple quick stories about the three objects, the funnier the better!

Meditation, Another Key to Overcoming Creative Blocks

Could Meditation be the Key to Overcoming Creative Block? – Eve Pearce

This is clearly stating the obvious but one of the most important ways to remain at your artistic best is to ensure that your creative juices never dry up. There is little point creating something which is a carbon copy of what a thousand artists have already produced, no matter how skilful you may be. However there will inevitably be some periods in your life when your creativity drops. How do you reinstate it and make sure you can continue to work during these periods without compromising your art? Research suggests one method for doing this might be meditation. Some people assume meditation is unfounded nonsense but there have been various studies conducted throughout the years that have proven its effectiveness at stimulating creativity.

Convergent and Divergent Thinking

A study carried out earlier in 2012 by Lorenza Colzato and her team of researchers at Leiden University in Holland, concluded that certain types of meditation have benefits that extend much further than relaxation. The findings suggest meditation can have a long-lasting effect upon human cognition, influencing our creative thought processes. Colzato investigated the way in which meditation affects the two main contributors to creativity: convergent and divergent styles of thinking. Divergent thinking is a thought process used to generate ideas by exploring numerous possible avenues. It is a form of mental brainstorming where as many concepts as possible are created, some of them good and some of them not so good. Convergent thinking is the process of attempting to think of a single solution to something. It is thought to work in conjunction with divergent thinking in order to facilitate creativity.

Colzato and her team assessed which meditative techniques influenced creative activities the most by getting participants to take part in creativity-based tasks after bouts of different forms of meditation and then monitoring how effectively they were able to carry them out. She concluded that ‘open monitoring’ meditation enabled those taking part to perform to a higher level in tasks based around divergent thinking and ‘focussed attention’ meditation enabled them to do better at tasks involving convergent thinking. ‘Open monitoring’ meditation is meditation that does not focus upon a set concept or object and ‘focussed attention’ meditation is meditation that does.

Implications of the Study

The results of this research are useful to Artists because they provide instruction as to which forms of meditation can be helpful at different stages of the creative process. In the early stages, when you are looking to generate as many ideas as possible before picking one to work on, it might be useful to practice open monitoring meditation. Find a quiet space, sit down in a comfortable position and try and be aware of your thoughts and feelings without reacting to them, letting them wash over you as if they belonged to somebody else. This sounds difficult to master but practice makes perfect. When you have chosen what you want to do and need to figure out the best way of putting it into practice then you might benefit from focussed attention meditation. Again, sit down in a quiet place, but this time light an incense stick and focus solely upon the smell of the incense to the exclusion of everything else. You will find that this will clear your mind so that you are more able to focus upon the task at hand once your meditation session has finished.

Why Not Give It a Go?

As I have previously stated, some people are sceptical about the benefits of meditation to artists but it is a good technique for overcoming mental block and can create the piece of mind required to create art that is truly innovative and original as opposed to being centred on tired, clichéd concepts. Numerous well known artists meditate in order to gain inspiration, including installation artist Isaac Julien, who cites it as one of the most useful creative techniques. It is far from an unproven piece of new age rubbish; meditation is used by trained psychologists in order to relax patients, incorporated into drug counselling sessions aimed at treating causes of depression that might trigger cravings in addicts and even taught in schools as a means of reducing stress amongst pupils. Why not give it a try and see if it helps to get your creative juices flowing?

Creativity Lost

Your creative job role ‘says’ you can think in different directions, but after a while strategies and processes which once worked for you could run thin, become stagnant or otherwise fade into the distance.

No one in a creative role wants this to happen however when it does it having a plan of action to get a fresh perspective can be useful to find a fresh approach to that demon ‘creative block.’

You could look at what you currently do and figure out some starting points from that (mind-mapping could work to do that). You could ask how others handle it (research the net for interviews with people in similar industries for how they do it) perhaps it’s a cyclical thing and your ‘biorhythms’ etc. play havoc with your creative sensibilities.

Creativity might be a process driven ‘thing’ for you or perhaps an off-beat ‘seat of the pants’ ride into the unknown for others, an in-between view might list serendipity as the catalyst for a creative approach.

What next you might ask…

Brain basics – Perhaps we need to think about the creative process from a neurological viewpoint. Our senses take in information, our brains process it, it goes into our memories and can be retrieved. If This part of the ‘Neuro process’ is not enough (hey you have run out of creative options, that’s why you are reading this yeah?) then you have to feed it with fresh material. for it to utilise. This way your brain can take some of the old and mix it with the new to let you formulate or percolate options to explore. Explore LOTS of fresh material for your brain, think “What can I feed my senses with (other than drugs…) which will be different to what I have been doing?”

Break your cycle/s – If you find you have challenges to your creative processes you might need to break some personal and or other cycles, are there specific situations or times when your creativity is at a low point? Are there external factors (other peoples cycles) which interrupt your processes. Knowledge of these may cause you to avoid them, work around them, and/or adjust them to suit.

Struggle free zone – If you struggle to create then the ‘flow’ of creative options can be hampered, so avoid struggling. Perhaps it’s a ‘self-talk’ thing.  ”I have to but I CAN’T!” This puts pressure on you to perform, pressure may well work in some instances for some but not for others, which is it for you? What if you are used to struggle and pressure to perform and you don’t get it…Either way you get to deal with some form of struggle. Figure out ways to avoid it.

Connect with more creative types – The ones who want to share ideas openly, then you share, they share and so on. Record the ideas and images that form in your head anyway you can. I think it’s a lot like panning for gold, the more you do it the more chances you have of finding some gold!

Get more of the right tools – If you want to build anything you need tools, do an interweb search for creative tools and make it your business to add to your tools, if an old one wears out or needs sharpening then get new ones or sharpen those you have.

Now make them work for you. In a results based world where goals are etched in stone (often by others) ensure your lost creativity can be found and your world is effectively mapped out. No longer will you be lost in your own territory, but you should be able to add to the map/s you already have.

Creative Distractions

Creative idea development is a big thing for some, trying to explore and follow idea starting points to give their works added depth and meaning.

I’m a bit of a fan of using words and statements to explore with, so I thought I would share one method I stumbled onto recently.

My work has been following a couple of directions and one of those has been heading into ‘dark territory’ where malevolent ideas have been thrown about. I now find myself coming back to this point. But my visual ideas were seemingly going no where and so what to do.

My last visual idea had dark figures in it, so I did an internet search on that. This led to a few things and I jumped on the idea of getting to the “essence of darkness” so I then zoomed in on eyes and breathing, contemplating options about how they might be explored for my theme.

The visual options in my head were off on some tangent… the name Richard Serra (Artist) came up somewhere in the search, I was now off to look at some of his images and drawings. Interesting, I started to think more in terms of symbols and how I might tackle things from there (I already do a fair bit of symbol work so it fits).

I did some word work searching some more and coming up with more options, this is what I got.

– Dark symbols – Black liberty – Black place. Then my thoughts stumbled across the notion of what’s this all about? Persecution – Bad treatment of people – Liberty… but how are they liberated if they are killed in process? Hmm some sort of spiritual freedom might now be the case.

Therefore my final statement hit me as I pondered all this “You are now free”.

This could become a title for a show – a single work – a body of works – a series It’s now up to me to put my findings into some visual concept and see if it all fits to my notion of what I might want it to be.

16 ways to explore creativity

We all have creative slumps and look for ways to explore and develop it, so here’s a list to check out… Consider making your own list and sharing ideas with others on how they get creativity happening and try their ideas as well. Jot a few fresh ideas in the comments for this post.

16 Ways to get creative…

  1. Make radical lists of ideas and options – even non radical lists can be useful
  2. Have a way to record stuff no matter where you are – Journal, on your phone, on your laptop and or tablet
  3. Write words madly as they come into your head and explore the options and connections they may create – could lead to a mind map
  4. Spend time doing things other than your usual routine – consider how this makes you feel, explore that, record it somehow, does imagery come with it?
  5. Take it easy for a while and imagine you are a truly fantastic person, what would be different if you were? – not saying you aren’t truly fantastic…
  6. Take breaks and do things you might not ordinarily do – rock climbing, mowing the grass, reading in a library, white water rafting, pruning roses – you get it, now do it
  7. Follow up on your family history, note any ‘quirky bits’ – any leads from that?
  8. Explore new music styles – Jazz, contemporary instrumental etc
  9. Find creative people to be around – connect, share explore
  10. Practice and develop your skills more – a moment of mastery could lead to a breakthrough
  11. Make mistakes and explore them – OFTEN!
  12. Work with others on projects – how do the dynamics of the process alter
  13. Check out new places, spend time there observing, recording – any leads yet…
  14. Figure out what makes you really happy and do more of it – Then find other things to make you happy
  15. Read a page of a reference book, backwards! – Then make fresh sense of it
  16. Take a look at your local culture, jot down some notes and explore options and possibilities which may give you ideas to get creative

About Creativity…


noun /kre-ativitite/

  1. The use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work
  2. The ability to create
  3. The capacity to produce something which is both unique and useful
  4. The production of previously non-existent information. All new items of information are based on preceding ones, and they are “new” because they restructure the preceding items and/or insert foreign informational elements (“noises”) into them.
  5. The ability to think imaginatively and originally
  6. Is the ability to produce something new, to generate unique approaches and solutions to issues or problems or opportunities.
  7. The experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative and idiosyncratic way which is characterized by a high degree of innovation and originality, divergent thinking, and risk taking.
  8. Using imagination and expressing oneself in art forms.


noun /ine-va-SHen/

  1. Innovation is a new way of doing something or “new things which are made useful”. It may refer to incremental and emergent or radical and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. …
  2. A new method, idea, product, etc



Can be many things, to many people…

A notion.

A solution.

A beginning.

A pathway.

An opportunity…

Creativity can…

Allow us to explore.

Start innovation.

Engage our senses.

Give meaning.

Provide clarity…

Creative approaches

Explore options.

Push boundaries.

Tackle problems.

Mess with our minds.

Spark our imagination…

Creativity, it’s all in the mind…

It’s all about how we process and handle information which comes in to our heads via our senses.

Sometimes it’s just having a different view or interpretation on things.

Creative approaches can seem silly or stupid to some, while others savor the viewpoint and will be led further.

Need a boost? use the Creativity Accelerator! – if that doesn’t work then there is a problem….

But how do we explore it?

Is it something we are born with?

Is it something we can readily teach/learn?

Is it easy to explore?

Are there many resources?

Where do I start?

Exploring Creativity

Perhaps start by teaching that it’s okay to make mistakes…

It’s okay to explore outside boundaries…

It’s okay to be silly and stupid, in the right context…

It might provide ideas which lead nowhere… but then again what if it leads you to an exciting new discovery?

Deeply observe things and then explore interpreting them in words, images, sounds, thoughts and even tastes.

BE OPEN! (to ideas and options)

BE FOCUSSED on the task (observe – meditate – single minded activity of any kind)


Do an online search to find creativity boosting activities.

Compile a list of activities which are short sharp, easy to implement and explore.

Encourage others to do the same and compare notes.

Find things which work and then find ways to push their boundaries.

“Creativity is often a dialogue between concept and material.

The process of artistic creation in particular is not just a question of thinking of an idea
and then finding a way to express it.

Often it’s only in developing the dance, image or music that the idea emerges at all.”

Ken Anderson…

Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking – Not thinking in a straight or linear fashion, having divergent thoughts not associated with the original idea, notion or course of action.

Outside the box thinking – hoping to solve a ‘challenge’ by taking a different route. Example free brainstorming, where whatever comes to mind as the idea is explored is jotted down to later see if there is an association to the main subject which this “lateral” approach may uncover.

Excuse me your
creative streak is showing…

Do we ask students where their ‘creative streak’ comes from, what it’s about or anything to do with creativity?

How do we cause people to think about creativity in ways to make them want to explore it and do their own research?

How do you foster creativity?

(explore possibilities)

(determined – compelled – fixated – enraptured)

Just when you thought…

There were no new ideas in Art…


Try creating one of these or a variation on one or three of them. Remember it’s all about starting points, where you end up might be another thing entirely!

What can you make from all this? Lots of things, clearly… Now jot down a few options of  your own and share them in the comments section. 🙂 Email me some of the images you create I can list them on here. (Small Jpg’s please.)

Easy 3D

When it comes to making 3D art, there are people who might say, “Oh it requires too many tools, takes up too much space, gets too messy”. etc… Well it doesn’t have to be that way, it can be scaled down in some instances, and does not have to be permanent either.


Here’s a way to explore some 3D and get you thinking about the differing visual values 3D Artists have to deal with (space and form being just two.)

Get some lengths of poly pipe (PVC pipe plumbers use) and create a suitable layout, of a range of pipe lengths standing on their ends.

Now decorate the pipes.


– Varying the diameter of the pipes can add interest.

– What sorts of paints can be used?

– The pipes can be sanded and repainted.

– Consider limiting the amount of pipes, try working with just five.

– What if the base area of the work was limited? How does that change things?

– What historical connections can we make? Totem poles, Tiwi Poles, Message Sticks, bollards.

– What could be added to make the poles say more… Words, other materials.

– How will you design them on paper?

– How will you transfer the designs to the poles?

– What sorts of themes can you explore with these? How well does the medium fit to the theme?

– If they are on a base, how will they be attached?

– Are other Artists doing this sort of thing? How will you find out…

– What will you write in your visual diary to show the process of working with the poles?

– What are some of the ways you can extend the activity to give it more impact or interest?

– What examples can you find as a basis to explore from?

– Which are better? realistic images or abstract ones?

– What if the poles are done in a range of similar tones, rather than motifs?

So there are a few starting points to explore. Now see how many variations you can come up with, feel free to send me some pictures to post in here as examples.



Beyond the Postcard…

Postcard art is not new, far from it and many Artists love to create works postcard size. They can be mailed, hung and you can create a lot of them quickly in a limited edition if you want. In thinking about postcards as a medium my mind turned to cards, greeting cards and the like, a postcard but it folds.

Take the standard card you might send to a friend for their birthday and consider how it might be a useful art activity.

Sure you could decorate it in some card type design and say happy birthday, but I would hope you might go further than that.

Consider, how it…

– Folds.

– Unfolds.

– Could use the envelope to say more than the card.

– Could be a series of images, that when put together could create a big image.

– Could use words to express a theme.

– Might be displayed when it is sent… perhaps it comes with instructions.

– Could present a theme.

– Could inspire the receiver to create another one (or 20…) and send them on.

Explore some of these starting points and see what happens next, perhaps a set of blank ones drawn on if differing ways to see if you can create something fresh rather than just exploring basic imagery in a few dimensions. If you create  a few send me a photo or three to see the results.

Consider this topic as a possible exploration or final product for VCE Studio Arts


Today I watched a doco on the 1000 Journals Project and the massive impact it has had.

I then thought… Wow what a great way for students to get ideas for ways to approach a visual diary.

Then it went further as I began pondering the possibilities, as the doco explored how people had connected through the journal, passing it on etc.

I liked the connection aspect to it and thought the idea of connecting in art would be a useful one to explore contemporary themes.

Connect… (Feel free to add some other ideas via the comments…)

Mail Art – Connect with other artists by making a postcard and sending it to them and seeing what (if anything) they sendback – find them on the internet, you may well send an ecard of some kind or a scanned image of a card you made.

Invite – Invite people to create something and send it to you, from a postcard, to a letter, artwork etc. put the invites up on noticeboards where  you think you will get some interesting responses. perhaps aim for them to send things to a gmail or hotmail email account to protect your privacy or even a PO box.

Ok now you think of some ways you can connect with people to create a project which might engage others. Discuss some of the issues you may face then brainstorm some ideas, remember to share them! 🙂

Landscape ideas

From ancient times through to contemporary works, the landscape has meant a great deal for art and artists. how artists interpret the landscape is as varied as chalk and cheese from abstract concepts and emotions through to highly realistic scenes.


Many artists are inspired not just by their shapes and forms on the landscape but by colours and textures as well. For an artist starting out the chance to explore landscape ideas can seem rather daunting I hope some of the concepts I put forward might give you some great starting points.


Okay there’s a few ideas you might like to try to get started in landscapes, I think you may find the more you do landscapes to more engrossing it will become… enjoy!

If you are studying VCE Studio Arts you may find this a great starting point to exploring a theme.

Here are a few websites you may like to explore to learn more about the ways artists have explored the landscape as a concept or theme.

Environmental Expressionism

Graham Fransella

Peter Biram

Arthur Boyd

Amanda  van gils

Simon Collins

Peter Tudhope

Ursula Theinert

Kerrie Warren

Kaye Green

Tim Storrier

John Wolseley

Tim Jones

Steve Gray


John Olsen

Creativity Starts Here, Or Not…

I came across this website years ago and was blown away with the simplicity of what Michael Hewitt Gleeson chats about. His 10 part email training is simple and as effective as you might want it to be. Simply put it’s about thinking, but not in a heavy science kind of way, this is practical material you can use daily, regularly, easily.

I urge  you to take a look and see if it can assist your creativity to be all it can be.

Oh and it’s free!

Note when you have a look you will notice it’s not an art site, nor does it mention art in any way, but the principles for developing creative approaches are in here, so go take a look, sign up, get the emails and let us know what you think.

Creative Twists

Any one that has done effective brainstorming in a corporate setting and put the solutions into action will know the process can be very useful, sometimes a facilitator will use some form of creative brainstorm to get people thinking.

Often they use words, statements, short stories or symbols with some form of puzzle or conundrum to tease the participants minds into a creative approach.

Artists can use this to, and I find often that artists are perhaps more natural or less inhibited in coming up with creative approaches as it happens at a more unconscious level (especially with practice.) So lets take a simple approach and twist it.

Write down five things that interest you (it could relate to a theme or line of research on a topic) then for each thing write down something different to that, do that 5+ times for each word, then it’s up to you. For me the first “logical” thing would be to take the last words from each list and then figure a way to make these fit to your original “theme”.

To take this further you could do the same with symbols printed off a computer. Or explore the first word exercise using symbols to respond to the last word you got. Or take all the words, put them in a bowl and randomly select a few and group them together.

Ideally I guess the “creative process” is about taking the absurd, mixing it with a dash of logic, and exploring the boundaries. Then in a useful stance the organised artist would possibily create a dictionary or encyclopedia of wierd creative approaches, systems or ideas…

Re “Contextualise”

In the pop era (to name just one…) Artists took things from the everyday and presented them to us in different materials to put them in  another context, and cause us to look at them  with fresh eyes. Perhaps this can be a starting point for you to explore things too.

Take a cast off item of any kind and try out some different ways of decorating it, to make it different.

Take a chair for instance, paint it in stripes, or a cast off computer printer, or a cabinet. Think decoration, think make it very different to it’s normal decoration or use. try tissue paper scrunched up and attached with glue, wall paper, plaster thrown on and sculpted.

There are a million and one possiblities so explore… a group exercise might be to take a well known object (lets say a cereal packet) and re contextualise it, a group of 20 students would clearly have 20 different apporaches to the one object, the value of the end product? Probably low as an object of “collectibility”, but  as a process in creative exploration, quite possibly priceless…

Musically Creative

Many people work with music on, while others work in silence. For the music heads, here are a few ways you might use music or sounds to a broader advantage rather than just background melody to entertain you as you work…

  1. Get the lyrics – Have a favourite song? Then illustrate it. Create some designs based on the lyrics. Or go searching for lyrics that fit to the work goals and or style you have, You might just find some songs that support your cause. Many lyrics are available on line for free.
  2. Get instrumental – Listen to instrumental music (from classical to new age and all the “bits” in between) listen for patterns, listen for rhythms. At times you will find these stylistic devices easily, and other times not often, but if music is your thing  you will be able to decipher these more readily. Now figure out how to take the “musical imagery” and translate it into “visual imagery”.
  3. Think fast – Try using some music that really gets your mind racing… perhaps it’s a favourite piece with a quick tempo, now, lets say it runs for 3 mins… Then draw like crazy in that time frame, and get a whole bunch of ideas flowing fast. The more you do it the more you can pick up… try the same piece at a few different times in the day or on different days, then compare the sketches, marks, imagery and intent, is the much difference? Chances are you might capture a whole bunch of ideas but not neccessarily realistic images, objects etc, you might find a more abstract or stylistic approach happens this way.
  4. Colour relationships -In listenting to the music, what colours and tones come to mind? Deep dark tones, or light bright ones? Cool or warm colours? Whatever it is, there is a chance to try out some colours and see what comes together from that starting point. Most Artists seem to wok from an object based starting point, but what’s stopping the creative process from evolving from another standpoint? A… Nothing but your imagination.
  5. Search music and art – On the internet it’s amazing what’s out there, and at times you can find links to the ways others have used these sorts of connections to create art, so see what others are doing too.
  6. Swap it around – Blues music is called “Blue” as it is often sad and makes people reflect on or feel “blue” what if you were to chage it so that the music could reflect an opposite stance? What if you did blue pictures but in vibrant oranges and yellows? the results could challenge some of your perceptions about the way objects and colours interact…
  7. Do the reverse – If music can inspire us, then what about art inspiring music? Hey do a search on the net for that… Or if you are musically inclined can you make music to an artwork? Go on give it a try and see where it leads to.
  8. Nature’s music – How about sounds in nature and considering recordings of sounds that are nature based? If a group of birds were chirping for a few minutes, could that be the starting point for creative exploration? You bet… If you could record some natural sounds and on a computer soundtrack program (Like Garage Band on a Mac) you could play about with various sounds on a variety of tracks, then you might create a starting point to explore.

That’s Eight starting points to creating musical starting points, are there any others? Sure there is, and if  you want to share them here, add a comment to this post to explain how  you or others went about it.

Geometry in Art

Throughout the history of Visual Art there has been a series of reference points to the use of geometry in art and quick search on the net will show many examples of Persian tiles and mosaics, Indonesian Batiks with repetitive patterns, Japanese screens with patterns, right through to Op Art and in the digital age in the use of fractal formulas to create designs and images of intrigue and great visual depth.

It can be an interesting area to explore and often the designs have stemmed from nature, with floral patterns, symmetrical flowers, sea shell sections and crystalline structures, there are many ways that geometry manifests itself.

Finding ways to explore geometry is limitless and can often give designers and artists an intriguing source of inspiration and starting points. Look up the work of Bridget Riley, M.C. Esher or Victor Vassarely as a start…

The three sources of subject matter?

There are just three sources of subject matter in art;

Come to think of it I see this list as a bit deceiving, really I think it should read “Three devices the artist can call upon to explore subject matter.”

The initial statement I came across on a search of “Artistic Inspiration” and this popped up in the middle of a spiel on children’s art… I feel sure it’s not the first place it has been seen.

So this then raises a point, am I too pedantic, to quibbley about words… or are they right?

Sources for subject matter I feel would be more akin to  – still life – landscape – figures, I could be wrong, perhaps there are others.

The thinking here is to get you thinking, therefore exploring, and it is this area the arts can cause you to work in quite effectively.

Teachers, use the above as a brainstorm starter then explore from there and see what comes up.

Students, do a bit of informal research and find out if there are other sources of subject matter.

Creativity explored…

Here’s a link to an article that outlines some useful ways to explore things in a creative manner. the idea being to find ways to break down barriers we may have in our conditioned thinking to come up with fresh ideas. try some and see what happens, oh and report back here in the comments about what you find.

Creativity boosters

How about some ideas for boosting your creativity…

For some, creative ideas seem to flow readily and they can launch from one creative project to the next with ease but for others the ideas can come in “fits and starts” and often it seems like “flits and stops…” So here’s a few creativity boosters you might like to explore.

  1. Record your dreams – Keeping a dream journal about the dreams you had the minute you wake can assist you to recall dreams with greater clarity, this can be useful for exploring your subconscious and the imagery it evokes.
  2. Mind maps – This is a great area to search on the Internet and can give you great ways to explore ideas you might have floating about in your head, basically the idea you have starts in the middle of a page and the thoughts  you have relating to it radiate out from there, adding images and words together can be highly useful in freeing up the creative development process.
  3. Do the opposite – If you are a realistic artist try some abstract works and vice verse. Or if you draw in Black and white try painting in colour, the resultant unconscious exploration can free your mind up to develop fresh ideas. there can be a wide range of ways this technique can be developed in lots of areas of your life, try a few and see what happens.
  4. Get Absurd – Similar to the opposities idea, getting absurd is about finding different approaches to things, an example might be making a tragic scene humorous a funny scene tragic or any combination in between. You might start to document in your Visual Journal absurd situations you come across in everyday life, then explore how you might communicate these visually. Word association games that can get absurd is one strategy that comes to mind as being useful, great fun too!
  5. Use the accelerator! – Allegedly staring at this picture can present us with different colours and visual stimulus, after a while start writing, jotting, doodling, and exploring thoughts that come into your head. Try writing, drawing etc with your opposite hand as well to give the new ideas an edginess you might not other wise have explored. If you are clever on the computer you could create a whole range of these in different styles, colours, shapes and check out the effect they have… This one is Copyright to Michael Munn PhD.
  6. Collage – Get a range of images and articles on a subject and explore ways to make them come together, try a 3D exploration, or way to colour the images, perhaps scan them and move them about on the computer. Play with it and see what comes up.
  7. Relax! – Creativity under pressure seldom seems to work, so chill out and find ways to let your creative “juices flow”, the more you start looking for ways to do this the more you might find great ideas coming to the fore.
  8. Explore! – Make combination of the above and find new ways to explore creativity. Like doing No:5 but with tiny photo’s. Do an Internet search on creativity and find other examples, then post about them in the comments for this post.
  9. Journal – How is  your visual Journal anyway? does it provide you with a personal sounding board? Or does it simply give you a way to download…. is it full of words, pictures, colours, links, ideas, options, art, options and possibilities, if not why not!

Teachers, get your students to pre read this article and discuss it in class, and or extend the idea by getting them to research other creativity boosting techniques and share them in class. Want another idea? Get them to create their own creativity accelerator (as per the above diagram), perhaps discuss what qualities they might want their accelerator to posses.

Students, Don’t wait for your teacher or lecturer to guide these activities! JUMP IN! and do them yourself…

Creativity busters

Here’s an article on creativity busters by Kris Bordessa The idea here is to give parents ideas on how to avoid stifling creativity with their children, but what about us as adults? What sorts of things can we learn from this list that might be keeping us from being creative, or more creative?

Sure the above list is just a starting point, but the reach of such creativity busting devices could be huge. So make a list of things that could be holding your creativity back from being all it can be and find ways to work with and or eliminate them.

Exploring other worlds

When it comes to creating art there is a myriad of theme starters, however for many if a creative block kicks in there can be no end of trouble getting started. Here’s a few possibilities you might want to try out, so get your visual diary out and have a crack.

There, that’s a few ideas to get you started, if you find any more drop a comment or an email and I will see if I can add it to the list!

Teachers, get your students to pre read this article and discuss it in class, and or extend the idea by getting them to research other techniques and share them in class.

Students, Don’t wait for your teacher or lecturer to guide these activities! JUMP IN! and do them yourself…