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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What is Creativity?

"Window Shopping"
Oil on linen - 9x12"
purchase info

I have pretty much always believed that I am not creative. Technically proficient yes, creative no. A couple of recent conversations got me thinking more about this, and began to lead me to a new perspective.

In pondering what exactly creativity is,  I'm starting to think that it isn't some mysterious thing that we have to find within ourselves and draw out, some magical something that rises up from the depths when it's ready to show itself. It's occurring to me that creativity is simply about curiosity.


Focusing on the Questions

Instead of starting a painting with the intention of getting to the end of it, I'm noticing it's different when I focus on how many things I can get curious about going in. Things like:
  • what exactly compels me to paint a certain subject, and why
  • what is my specific, unique way of looking at the world
  • where does my excitement to tackle a subject come from
  • what drives my personal choice about what to leave in and what to take out
  • what is my immediate response when I lay one colour, one value, one edge down beside another
  • what's it like to really experience, moment by moment, the act of transforming a flat white canvas into bits of colour that tell a cool story 
When I forget about attaining a finished product and dive deeply into experience, I become connected with my authentic creative self. It's been there all along, but I was thinking it was something different. This is where I seem to be being led to, and the more I open to it, the more the act of painting is becoming a fascinating adventure. A successful outcome, when it happens - is icing on the cake.

"Art isn't a result; it's a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of our heart and soul." - Seth Godin

PS: A friend suggested I start posting some close-ups of my paintings. Here's a closer look at the detail in this one:

20 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post Liz...thanks for sharing! I think you are right...creativity means loving whatsoever you do, it's an inner approach how you look at things!

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  2. This is a very thought provoking post, Liz!
    Even the painting "Window Shopping" causes a viewer to stop and think.
    Love the use of close ups...please keep it up! :)

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  3. Very nice painting! I like the colors and your composition. Your post is also thought provoking. Good way to begin my day. :-)

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  4. Liz, I love the way coaching concepts keep showing up in your work. Curiosity is such a powerful tool for so many areas of life. It definitely takes us into the process and away from any emphasis on outcome. Thanks for being inspirational.

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    1. Yay Becky, I couldn't agree more. Curiosity opens up our capacity for creativity in every situation.

      As soon as we conclude, the game's over. It's like a challenge to stay open and curious for as long as possible, always trusting there's all kinds of great stuff to discover.

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  5. Whoa! I am really impressed with your work. Another great thing about this challenge...finding fabulous work by other artists.

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  6. Love your work and your thoughtful words... a lot to think about during this 30/30.

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  7. Hey Liz, Great thought to hold onto while I paint the next little one. Thanks for that!
    I was thinking tonight about how Daily painting has similarities to morning Yoga practise and I'm excited to see if this will stick in the same way. Loving your paintings and really like the closeup idea!

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  8. Love it, Liz!

    The 'detail' is like having the opportunity to put one's nose right on the window pane! Always a fun thing to do :)

    Looking forward to the next!

    Bobbi

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  9. It is like getting up close and personal isn't it? Thanks for the suggestion friend :-)

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  10. There is nothing like a good question...I think your painting evokes questions and sparks curiousity. Perhaps curiousity is the connection between your experience and the experience I have as a viewer. Creativity being your ability to connect wirh me the viewer, perhaps...love the painting and the question! :)

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    1. Would love to hear more Randy. What type of questions does the painting evoke in you?

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  11. First of all I love windows, sparks my imagination,"what's inside" the darker interior is very intriguing. It's a window into a different world possibly chock full of fun things like bikes and rain jackets!! And compared to the rather bare exterior, that's where I want to be. You have taken me to the brink and sparked my curiousity but left the rest to my imagination...:)

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  12. Thanks, Liz Wiltzen for sharing your feelings with us all this before the world and art, with so much soul!!!
    A year 2013 with all the best .................

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  13. Hi Liz, just want to thank you so much for sharing your feelings and frustrations. In my eyes you paint so beautifully, and I aspire to be at your level. So, it is very validating to hear that you struggle with 'what is creativity', with focusing and going slowly, and with all the 'head stuff' that I struggle with! It's the stuff that makes me think "well maybe I'm not a 'real artist' because many days this sure ain't blissful". But then I can point to your example and tell those thoughts to quiet down. So, thanks!

    All the best,
    Sophie

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    1. Hey Sophie, if that is the only thing this blog accomplishes, it is so worth it. Glad to hear it helps you tame the demons :-)

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  14. Hi Liz, just want to thank you so much for sharing your feelings and frustrations. In my eyes you paint so beautifully, and I aspire to be at your level. So, it is very validating to hear that you struggle with 'what is creativity', with focusing and going slowly, and with all the 'head stuff' that I struggle with! It's the stuff that makes me think "well maybe I'm not a 'real artist' because many days this sure ain't blissful". But then I can point to your example and tell those thoughts to stuff it. So, thank you!

    All the best,
    Sophie

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