Reflection I — I Am Creative

“One does not discover new lands

without consenting to lose sight of the shore

for a very long time.”

André Gide

My “hard-wiring” is definitely more from the logical side of the brain — math, spelling, etc.  For most of my life, my creative side was totally frustrated at my lack of drawing skills — I used to think that was what made a person creative.  But I’ve since discovered that even us logical people can be creative in a vast assortment of ways — I thought this was succinctly quoted by Scott Amson [French artist Marcel Masse?] that the creative “journey is not to find a different landscape but a different eye”.  That is exactly what I need to do — use my creative eye.

As usual, when told to “be creative”, I found it hard getting started & not sure how to find my zen but realized from Zen Theory and the Creative Course by Edward Stephens & Thomas Burke, that only I can find it.  Okay, now what?  An Inquiry into the Factors Related to Creativity by Ronald D. Klein helped answered that question & a lot more.  Why did I feel I wasn’t creative?  My early environment certainly had a lot to do with that — eldest of six children of conservative, young parents who didn’t understand my non-athletic mind.  Art?  That’s all those old paintings hanging in old museums in places far from cow-town Calgary.  Modern art?  That’s those really weird, skinny, NAKED statues in front of the School Board Office that citizens are complaining they spent way too much for!

I learned to read at 4 yrs old & voraciously consumed books, so academic school work came easily — just follow the rules.  No problem — math has rules, spelling has rules, even science has rules — but art didn’t have rules.  I had a friend, Colleen, who could draw such wonderful pictures of her horse.  We would sit on the grass on a high foothill overlooking town & let the horse graze nearby.  But, no matter how much detail I saw of the shadowing of the horse’s legs, head, nostrils, or the softness of his eyes, or the hardness of his hooves against the wavering of the tawny grass — none of it showed in my crappy stick-horse drawings!  Ugh!  I was so envious of Colleen — look at the shading, the movement in the mane, the muscles of the body — how can her hand replicate what she sees but mine can’t?  I’m not creative — I’m a bookworm.

Prior to reading these articles, I often felt a phony at being creative — that I just have boring ideas that have all been done before, i.e. my Creative Act II is a landscape panorama of a bay in the ocean — been done by someone else & much better than me.  BUT after reading, I realized I had a lot of the creative behaviours listed by Klein — like being able to maximize options, defer judgment, seek freedom, take risks, be aware of both the inner & outer worlds — that’s what I bring to the creative table.   Being positive & action orientated creatively has been a lot harder to come by but I can see that by going through this process of discovering myself creatively, I will be more positive & thus more action orientated to create art — my way.  A behaviour that surprised me for being on the list was inconsistent — this is a good trait?  Klein pointed out that this can be growth-producing; I can see how I can use inconsistency in my creative work now — and not being negative towards myself about this will allow more ideas to flow & more experimentation.  Okay, that didn’t work — I’ll just try some other idea — no big deal, I learned something!

So, I pushed forward with my “boring” landscape — it was new for me & I was actually more excited about using my camera than afraid of it.  But I found I was frustrated with my low knowledge level of wordpress, the digital camera, Photoshop software — it felt like a pretty high learning curve for such a simple act.  But, since I had to create something for my blog, I pushed forward again & now the mechanics came easier — I spent a lot of time “fiddling” with trying to fit my three original images together but realized it was time to admit it couldn’t work & finally merged two for a satisfactory panorama.  Thanks to Klein, though, I don’t feel defeated — I learned a lot about lining up my camera & keeping the horizon even, and I learned about Photoshop layers & merging — so I can try to do better next time.  I have grown creatively.

I look forward to continuing to creatively grow.  Twyla Thorpe (sp?) made an excellent point in The Creative Habit about self-knowledge; I need to discover my “creative DNA” — find destructive patterns as well as “common threads” in my work.  Her questionnaire forced me to look at how I feel about my creativity —  I definitely want to spend more time exploring in-depth answers to her questions.

I have always been detail orientated — the bios, which made for an excellent computer programmer — but the zoe, or the “larger picture” harder for me to formulate.  I can still hear that frustrated boss from 20 yrs ago repeating & repeating, “Remember the big picture!”  So, I am going to journey through this course with a different eye — MY creative eye.

"Being Rapt" by Beth Dunlop (

One comment

  1. hey Vanessa your blog is really good enjoy reading it. cant wait for new ideas. Hope you n Blair had a good night last night i herd how the dog was licking blair’s neck all night, thats funny haha. anyways talk to yah soon take care.

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