Assignment: The Creative Impulse

I have decided that I am going to share some of the assignments that I have completed. This will give anyone who is curious about the fibre arts course I’m taking even more insight as to what is being covered 🙂

Creative Impulse really is something that I find difficult to put into words. It’s one of those topics that, unless you have surrendered to it, I don’t feel that a person truly understands it. One of the many beautiful things about it is that when you do encounter somebody who has also experienced it, quite often there is an immediate connection. There is even a different type of communication. You speak, but the person (or people) you’re speaking with “gets” you on a whole other level. I also think that these people look at your work and understand it in a way that those who don’t nurture their creativity are unable to understand. I say this because I have been on both sides. It has only been within the last couple of years that I have truly understood this.

Until I started giving in to my creative urges, I never really appreciated art the way I do now. Sure, it was pretty to look at. But I never actually looked at it and contemplated it. I didn’t get that the piece I was looking at was a window into the creator’s soul. I had no idea just how personal art can be. I never understood that the creation in front of me contained the energy of that person who created it. Now, to me that is a big thing. I find it easier to tap into the energy of the piece and it is easier to understand what the artist is saying. I’m not saying that you have to be an artist yourself in order to understand this. However, I do believe that one needs to allow their own creativity to surface in order to wrap their head around a piece.

The creative impulse is something that is within all of us. Sadly, it is also easily trained out of us. The book speaks about how we all “try to shape materials in our environment into artistic creations.” Unless there is somebody in our young lives that encourage us to create and helps nurture this, it is something that can be easily lost. It’s also not something easily recovered. Children are so fragile. If you don’t help to feed the fire within, it will eventually extinguish. With me, all it took was a bad mark in art or creative writing class to make me believe that I wasn’t creative. My early elementary school teachers did nothing to encourage my creativity. I never received any encouragement from the adult figures in my life in the ways of drawing, other art mediums or creative writing. As time went on, I found these classes very painful because I had it in my head that I wasn’t any good at it. By the time I had encountered a teacher who did try to encourage me, it was too late. I didn’t even take art in high school. What was the point? I wasn’t creative. I now realize just how delicate and finicky the creative impulse can be. It’s like a fragile little seed. It needs to be nurtured and protected until it is strong enough to stand on its own. Once that happens, creativity can blossom and keep growing.

Many artists referenced in the book speak about something that is bigger than us. They speak about the “unseen”. For example, Paul Klee stated in his Creative Credo that “visible reality is merely an isolated phenomenon latently outnumbered by other realities.” Joseph Raffael left the hustle and bustle of New York for a much more peaceful place on the Cote d’Azur. He declared that the beauty of his garden with flowers, fish and birds are “entry points into an invisible reality.”

I fully agree with these artists. I feel that once you allow the creative impulse to take over, magical things happen. Sometimes one can get so drawn into their work, that it’s comparable to a meditative state. With myself, I have been blown away with some of the things I have created. When I stand back and admire my work, quite often I think things such as “Where did this come from?” or “I didn’t know I could do that!” The ideas flow, one after another. I have no idea where they come from. You can choose to capture them or you can just ignore them. I also feel that the more you capture these ideas and work with them, the more ideas will come to you. If you allow that door to remain open, great things will appear. You just have to allow it to happen. When I get on a creative role, it’s not uncommon for me to get chills. These are the same kind of chills one might get from watching a happy movie or hearing a touching song. To me, that is an indicator that I am on the right track. I am getting approval from whomever or whatever may have put the thought in my head in the first place.

Another beautiful thing about the Creative Impulse is how if you allow it, it will work with you to allow you to express it. Auguste Renoir had developed arthritis in his hands. It caused him excruciating pain to continue his work. He was so passionate about his work, that he found a way around it. Since he was unable to hold the brush, he strapped it to his hand. He was able to continue with his painting. If your passion is that strong, the Universe will find a way to help you keep that fire going. Always. You just have to believe.

I believe that Creative Impulse has some other components to it. There is the obvious creative aspect. But there is more to it. I also believe that you need to have the passion to create. I think you have to love what you’re doing in order to be truly successful. There is also the spiritual side as well. When I say spirituality, I’m not speaking of religion. I believe that when we open up the door to our creative impulses, we are communicating with our higher selves. We’re giving our soul a chance to say what it has to say.

The creative impulse is a gift. Some choose to use it, others ignore it and many have no idea what they have been given. I am so grateful that that door has been opened for me. When I’m creating, I feel more at home anywhere than I ever have. Creativity is allowing yourself to walk through that door to “home”.

The book I’m referring to is our textbook, The Art of Seeing. So far, I’m really not impressed with this book or the pretentious, narrow-minded views expressed by the authors. Perhaps that will change.

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One thought on “Assignment: The Creative Impulse

  1. Oh I loved this post. I only wish I was listening to you speak the words. We could have had an hour’s conversation after every paragraph. I agree with all of it. Art is my life. Not because I’m any good at it, but because it is the only thing that makes sense to me. I see beauty in all things now. I keep cameras everywhere to take pictures of the beauty. I gather natural things to use in my art. I can’t throw anything away because I want to recycle it into art. I look at everything, every single thing I see, as something I want to paint or draw, or use in textiles, or give as a gift, or….and the list is endless. I want to live on a farm without a vacuum cleaner, and just be ever creating instead of ever cleaning and cooking. I’ve hit an age where I can really let loose my artistic talents. I get up in the morning with an opportunity to create anything – do anything – just feed my soul with art. That’s the best thing about my age. The latitude of my life is so incredible. But I have to control myself and stand up and move around or I will one day find my arse glued to this chair. That’s why I have made myself enjoy swimming and walking and kayaking, and golf.

    The pity is that they’re taking art out of the schools, and I don’t know about your neighborhood but mine is not what I would call creativity inclined. I think it’s more: Why make it if you can buy it? They don’t know what they’re missing. They don’t seem to care whether their children are subjected to art – to at least see if there’s an interest.

    It used to be that I traveled for fun, to play and eat and golf and sit in the sun. Now I travel to see art; to soak up all the beauty in this world and bring it home in my mind where it somehow manages to stay until I need it for a project. And taking individual classes in drawing or painting is fun and satisfies my needs in some areas, but you have this opportunity and desire to do it all. That’s the way I feel. Frankly I’m not really good at anything, but that has never, ever been the point. It’s the creating that is the “good” in art…not the thing created. Half the time I look at what I’ve done and think “What the hell was I thinking?” But the enjoyment I derive from doing it, looking at other’s work, being inspired almost all the minutes of my life – that’s the greatest gift anyone can have…to FEEL that way about art.

    I am the luckiest and unluckiest person you will ever meet. My luck comes from my appreciation of art, and apparently you have this gift as well. Treasure it and it will never fail you. It is your safety net. It’s a potion that can keep you alive when you shouldn’t be. And it makes the rest of the world seem almost worthy of existence.

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