Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Capturing fleeting impressions

Hi Everyone
It’s commonly assumed that you need to be creative to attempt any of the arts, but it’s more true to say that we need artistic media to be able to give shape to our creativity. Personal creativity is about capturing fragments of thoughts, focusing on them, and paying enough attention to allow them to reveal the reason for our fascination – a clue about ourselves.

Creativity Quotes
Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it – William S. Burroughs 

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift – Albert Einstein 

Capturing fleeting impressions

Why are drawing, photography, theatre, music and writing important for creativity? Because these media allow us to capture the fragment – to truly bring to life ideas that exist only around the edges of our imaginations. Without needing to have any one purpose, these pieces of  artistic expression fill a function nowhere else seen in daily life: just to expand our knowledge of ourselves.

Artistic freedom gives us the opportunity to come face to face with these snippets, to give them form and life outside of our minds’ eye, and therefore to engage with them in a meaningful way. Short bursts of poetry, a line describing the energetic push of a tree, or a branch through space – these quick sketches connect us to a deeper aspect of ourselves, and help us to get a handle on emotions that are otherwise obscured by the mundane day-to-day of what we call ordinary life. When we acknowledge them and pay attention to them, they are our clues about our true feelings, a kind of inner compass for direction.  

When we encounter the works of others that resonate with us, art both illuminates the shared human experience and elucidates our personal stories, broadening our scope for understanding ourselves and each other.  This is also why states such as meditation and daydreaming are important: these states create the spaces in which our minds are receptive to the impractical and irrational, when we are able to grasp those fragments of thoughts and feelings.

One way of bringing this practice into daily life is to take 20 minutes of your day to just sit and relax, watching the world go by (I like to do this over lunch, making sure I get a real break even if it’s short). Try to find one object each day to contemplate, from a stone to a tree to the patterns on a building. 

Paying attention to what appeals to you about it, what doesn’t, and what particular thing/s you notice about it, provides a framework for catching those edge-type thoughts unawares. Writing is one of the most powerful tools for this, where we often surprise ourselves with observations and opinions we hadn’t been conscious of thinking. Lurking just beneath our standard, ‘set’ thoughts lie a wealth of questions, queries and impressions waiting to be engaged.

As you embark on your creative journey, may your captured impressions become insights that transform the routine into a daily adventure.