The Creative Continuum™
I believe there is a continuum in art-making that runs from an emphasis on skill-building, technique and ‘how to’ on the one end, to full-out, flat out, intuitive and spontaneous self-expression at the other end. In between lives our unique voice, our personal style, and our joy. And while all art-making – any art-making at all embodies a creative process, the first aims for an artistic ‘product’ – an outcome – while the second has no specific outcome in mind; it’s more about approaching that big white void in front of us, and pouring out or teasing out creative energies out in the moment – or simply allowing them to emerge, and following our intuition. We all move back and forth and along that continuum and pause to play at different places at different times in our lives depending on our situation and our needs, how much we identify as ‘being creative’ or being artists, and how much we can attend to our creative practice and our process.
Art that moves people and embodies meaning isn’t always the product of technical expertise. Skill building contributes to self-confidence, and balancing skill-building with the opportunity for spontaneous, intuitive self-expression enhances the ability to explore thoughts, feelings and ideas. It is important to have creative experiences that reach to both ends of the spectrum. And, it is helpful to look at each endeavour as a ‘grand experiment’ that merely leads to and informs the next one.
Art-making includes learning, experimentation, conceptualizing, self-expression, and self-reflection, and then extending our involvement in each of those grand experiments over and over again, as we develop new insights and new capabilities. That’s the ‘practice’ and the ‘process’ parts of it.
Sometimes thoughts that float to the surface as we focus on what we are doing or our breathing, or frankly – on nothing in particular; sometimes those thoughts generate a seed of an idea, that that idea expands into a concept and creates a huge shift in how we think about our creativity, and our ‘work’ because we come to it with a new type of intention, and a keen desire to explore a concept, an idea, an inkling, further.
My ‘thing’ is creative renewal, whether that’s an art lesson or a workshop or a coaching session. No matter how we attend to our creative spirit, we learn new things about ourselves – things that provide a sense of accomplishment, and a type of self-awareness that brings beneficial affects into other areas of our lives. Sometimes we make art. Sometimes we share the stories about what’s happening in our lives. Often we do both, and it’s all good.