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The Creative Process: What An Artist Can Teach Us I was at an art gallery this week doing some research for a program we are running. I absolutely love spending time in galleries. I find them so inspiring not only as an artist but also for the sheer amount of self-expression that you see. We were all created with the ability and need to express ourselves (but that is another post) I came across this explanation of the inspiration of a Jeffrey Smart painting Central Station II and I thought it really summed up the creative process well. His words about the background to the painting were: “In the morning, a friend took me for a tour around those strange parts – strange architecturally – in Sydney. We went to Glebe, Annandale….. then Balmain and the houses on the water there, and Leichardt finally. By this time my imagination was stirred to such an extent that when Michael Ramsden, who drove, stopped near Central Station to run off and buy a paper, I saw him and those hoardings in such a way that I thought I should like to have it forever…it was a moment of hallucinatory beauty”. The notes for the painting went on to say ‘Returning to the spot early the next morning, Smart made a number of sketches and drawings from which he developed the final painting when he returned to Italy’  Smart stirred his creativity that day. He stirred it mightily and then most importantly, he went and acted on it. How did he stir it? He really opened his eyes to all that was around him. He thought about the world around him in a different way. We could even say his thinking/actions was out of the box (or out of the studio). He provided his mind with a whole load of stimulus and freshness. He didn’t just look at one building. He looked at loads. He moved. He didn’t restrict his stimulus to a conversation, a text book or a meeting room. He moved and engaged with his environment. All of these things stirred his imagination. Importantly, he was open to it being stirred. He was open to being inspired. He was a sponge ready to soak it all up. He then did something about it. He could have so easily not gone back in the morning. He would have had to change his plans, miss appointments etc. but he went and did it and harnessed his creative drive at the moment. For me, it sums up the creative process really well. You have to allow your imagination to be stirred. You do...

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I follow an indie travel writer/blogger/free flight king/non conformist called Chris Gullibeau and he had a great blog today on being yourself. He talks about being brave enough to trust who you are, keep moving forward, caring for others and some other slightly motivational stuff. I didnt make any new years resolutions this year (and most years) but I have made one today and it is purely to be myself and the rest of the good stuff will follow. Following that mantra made me set up Visualfunk and work with people to bring out and use the wonderful creativity that we all have in us. I wont tell myself to paint more or it may become a chore, if I am true to myself and who I really am I will spend plenty of quality time in my studio. My experience working with people has shown me that we all have something  that we would love to be doing more of or trying but the negative internal voice, the OGRE will often  tell you to back off. Tell that guy to get lost! At the risk of sounding like a Tony Robbins type, be open in 2011, engage your creativity and be true to yourself. The good stuff will follow. That is what I will write on my wall right now. No, maybe paint it...

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When I run workshops on creativity, I ask everyone to think of a creative person that they know and then tell another person about what they do. parajumpers parka Great stories come back about what these ‘creative’ people do – quilting, guitar playing, cooking, photographer, landscape gardener etc. I worked with a group who all universally agreed that they all didnt have a creative bone in their body but, as per the exercise, they knew creative people. I asked them the question “Where these people always good at what they did?” The answer was no. They had to practice. They had to keep practicing at it. This developed both their skill and their creativity. Advanced Backpacks At the beginning of taking the group out of their creative comfort zone (and looking at a lot of terrified faces!), this got plenty of nods, agreement and smiles. Jackets shell Creativity is something that we all have in abundance. Its natural. It’s like any skill or pursuit like any skill – you have to start somewhere. An artist isnt briliant the first time they create something but with practice they get better. Yuu then have to keep practicing or filling up at the creative bowser to stay good at it and to continue to develop your potential. You cant watch TV all day and then complain that only your friends are much more creative than you because they play in a band. They make a choice to start and keep filling up at the creative bowser. I spent about 6hrs in the studio today painting. Long overdue, it felt great to put some petrol in the car! I cant complain that my art career is stalling if I am not filling up at the creative bowser...

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A question of time For someone who has made a living from both practicing creativity (The Arts) and then teaching creativity (Visualfunk) I think one of the most important contributors to creativity (at a personal or corporate level) is time. There are may other contributors at play but time is a huge one. Trolleys Mammut I am finding this more and more in my own art practice and creative pursuits. I am lucky to have an art studio attached to my house for creating art. What’s missing? The time to spend in my art studio. With running a company, having children and attempting to exercise to maintain some sanity, there is very little time to paint. I am a great believer in the creative flow. Jackets fleece Once you are in the creative flow, great things happen. When you are painting in the creative flow (every day), great things happen. When you are painting only once/week, the creativity flow slows. It doesn’t mean that I am not creative any more. Creativity exists everywhere and in all forms. It does mean that my painting becomes stifled, the output isn’t as great as previously and I have plenty of unfinished works. A certain area of my creativity (and my passion) has slowed down. I am the first to acknowledge that my painting output has slowed. I also acknowledge that every time I paint, a spark lights inside that gives me a sense of both personal and creative fulfillment. I just cant fit it in! So is creativity also an issue of time management? Is it a matter of making the right choices as to what to do with your time? Is it a matter of priorities? Is it the ramblings of a mad artist in the Qantas Lounge on Friday evening? I am not sure but I know that there are only so many hours in a...

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