Definitely go over and read this one – it is inspiring.
What’s Blocking Corporate Creativity?
Creative ideas don’t have metrics. They haven’t been around for a while. You might not know anybody that’s been using them. What ends up happening is, you get a creative idea, it has weird metrics, you don’t really know much about it, and it doesn’t allow a decision-maker to make a correct decision. They don’t have the data.
Instead, a way to think about creativity might be better served by not thinking like a decision-maker but like an inventor figuring out and getting curious about the answer.
From a corporate perspective, creative ideas and creativity are necessary but often, elusive despite the opportunities inherent in organizations for creativity to flourish and being much needed. This article explores it very well. There is a podcast about creativity too, from Wharton.
Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Seth Godin on the role of creativity in business
from Maya Angelou. As she put it, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
This concept of creativity being a resource that grows with each use and diminishes in strength when left tucked away in silence, runs counter-intuitive to how we view most finite business resources like time and money.
. . . successful entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Seth Godin, treat creativity as sacred. They often view creativity as their strongest competitive advantage, and taking the time to actively nurture the creative process, gets priority in their daily routines.
Screw-ups are inventors’ delight or horror depending on how it happens, when it happens and how it is used thereafter. Murphy’s Law says that, “What can go wrong, will go wrong.” And in engineering, it is used as a point of perfect, that the more closely anyone works to get something “perfect”, the greater the chances of errors, mistakes and irretrievably disastrous results become likely.
You can read more about Murphy’s Law at Wikipedia’s entry about it. In art, in music, in writing and sculpting, the same thing is obvious – mistakes happen. And, in engineering, science, math, creating, designing, making, building, inventing and innovating, mistakes can and do happen as well.
Knowing that errors and goof-ups happen is valuable, not project stopping.
Most people know about brainstorming and have used the process at school, at work or at home to create possible solutions and to create ideas. This process is valuable to know and easy to use, once it is learned. Brainstorming for inventing, creating, making, building, innovating can be applied to virtually any area where it can-do solutions are needed.
There are only a couple rules to follow when brainstorming and it is easy to get side-tracked and forget them. They are very important for the process of creating ideas to flow successfully and generate possibilities.
The Two Rules of Brainstorming Are –
Reserve the critical and especially, negative barrage until some other time and that includes the thinking in those negative and critical terms, as well.
Letting go of preconceived notions of what can’t be done, won’t work, can’t work, doesn’t work and why it won’t work. Those valuable and critical analysis skills are hindering to the brainstorming process rather than helpful although AFTER the entire process has created possibilities, those analytical skills will come in handy.
Judgmental and limiting constructs of thinking are not helpful in brainstorming real solutions to real world issues, nor to designing and inventing new things that have never been done before.
Letting go of what won’t work together, what must be used for specific purposes and nothing else, what can’t be used for that, what can’t be bought, what has never been done that way, can’t be possible for this and what MUST be used ONLY in certain ways.
Not only does thinking and speaking this way at every turn in the process, deplete the energy for creating solutions, it does nothing else of value either because in doing so, no other solutions are generated or created by it either. Set that kind of thinking aside and put as quick a stop to it as possible or the process of brainstorming might very well miss rather than produce results.
It doesn’t prove anything nor help anything when creating new ideas and innovations through the brainstorming process, to express or think through WHY IT WON”T WORK or WHY IT DOESN”T WORK THAT WAY or WHY IT CAN”T HAVE THOSE THINGS USED IN A DIFFERENT WAY or WHY IT ISN”T RIGHT TO PUT THOSE PARTICULAR THINGS TOGETHER for a possible solution.
Not only distracting, these expressions don’t prove how much better one person is thinking than another in this situation. It is a waste of time – until much, MUCH later in the process of inventing and creating and well after the brainstorming portion of the inventing process is well over.
From the Oxford Dictionaries –
cre·a·tiv·i·ty – [ˌkrēāˈtivədē] NOUN –
The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Synonyms: imagination, innovation, innovativeness, originality, individuality, artistry, inspiration, vision, enterprise, initiative, resourcefulness
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Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible or a physical object.
Brainstorming in three steps –
Decide on a problem to solve, something to create or state a question to be answered.
Generate ideas of possible solutions, turn it around other ways, seek other ways to answer the question or to solve the problem.
Writing down all – and I mean, ALL the information as the process of brainstorming and generating ideas occurs, take one more step and ask the question again for the subconscious to generate possibilities and solutions. WRITE THESE DOWN TOO.
Notes on the Process of Brainstorming –
In those three simple steps, the brain / the mind can begin assessing a problem, critically analyzing what it will take to solve the problem and generate possibilities for solutions.
Throughout the process of brainstorming, no matter how outlandish, silly, unattainable, ridiculous, insane, crazy, new, never done that way before or STUPID an idea or thought may be – WRITE IT DOWN ANYWAY without judgment. DON”T exclude ANY of them.
The reason for this is because the mind and subconscious will generate more rather than shutting down, if EVERY single idea is given the merit of recording it by writing it down, saying it aloud for a video or audio record of it and by putting it on a whiteboard, post-it note or on a chalkboard,
The fact is, some of those ridiculous, crazy and unattainable ideas end up producing other ideas or combinations of ideas – and sometimes, they even turn out to be the ideas and solutions that do work.
To not record those ideas which are judged along the way as stupid, silly or crazy, only serves to hinder the process, thwart the generating of more possible solutions and maybe even cheat you out of real solutions that can and will work in the real world.
Brainstorming is only one facet of generating solutions and creating ideas that will work as part of the inventing process. Among a group of people, focus groups and teams of people, brainstorming often yields surprising solutions that would not have been considered nor created at all.
Creative brainstorming is an amazing process and quickly delivers to the individual inventor or teams of people, large groups of possible solutions and novel approaches to create something new, to innovate something or to solve an existing problem. It also awakens the intellect, the subconscious and the creative mind to continue applying what is known and unknown to create solutions to the problem and to invent new ways to approach it.
1. Go through the house, office and studio – sharpen every pencil – make sure anywhere with a writing surface has a cup of pencils, pens and an old-fashioned hand held kid’s pencil sharpener. Place some sheets of clean, un-lined paper nearby, plus posty notes and 4×6 sheets of unlined paper to make thumbnails and notes.
2. When paint tubes are near their end, cut them open and use the last of the paint directly from the casing or scape out with palette knife and use from the palette. Save the lid, cause sooner or later . . .
3. Place paint cloths, paper towels and cloths filled with thinners or turpentine into old metal coffee cans with lids. Keep out of reach of children and away from foodstuff until ready for disposal. Be sure and mark can with red electrical or paint tape and label with marker what it is.
4. A piece of rubberized, textured shelf liner cut 4″ square is good for opening paints, paint jars and tubes, jars of medium and varnishes. Pliers, if used, must be held firm but with gentleness or they can rip the paint tube and press the lid and tube lip beyond recognition.
5. Baby wipes will take almost any paint off hands including oil paints, acrylics, alkyds (which are very nasty) and acrylic mediums – as well as some glues. Masking fluid can be cleaned up with dawn dish soap and a baby wipe. Brushes dipped in dawn dish soap and water before use in masking fluids will allow the masking fluid to be removed after use.
6. Dawn dish soap will take oil paints and other paints, except alkyds, off hands and out of brushes. Xylene and toluene based enamels must have their own thinners to be removed from anything. Do not use dawn dish soap or toluene based thinners on natural bristle brushes because the natural oils in the hairs are also removed and the bristles will eventually disintegrate. Do not leave brushes in water, turpentine or thinners for any extended length of time. Glues that hold bristles can dissolve and are compromised. The bristles will then release in the painted surface as it is being created. The bristles can also give way entirely from the metal casing that holds them to the handle..
7. Old brushes with dried paint make perfect tools to create certain special effects in painting surfaces. Don’t yell at the kids and don’t throw them out. Set them aside in a cup or box with similar tools for special effects when painting and sculpting.
8. When stores go out of business – there is a lot of unusual shelving they also sell – make them an offer. Also, hair salons’ shelving and store displays make good additions for studio storage. Cabinets from kitchen remodeling can be acquired and cleaned, resurfaced, painted or glued with new formica pieces. Countertops can be added pre-made from the hardware store or from cabinet shop remakes. Any solid door or old table top can be placed on top of several cabinets for a worktable.
9. Some design markers (professional grade like ad agencies and illustrators use) can be reconstituted by placing alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover) into a shallow dish and placing the tip into it to absorb the carrier. Some art markers can be reconstituted with water, alcohol (or mineral spirits and/or painting mediums). Use of pigments are available in a new form with the latter and are no longer appropriate for children to use.
10. As new work is being created or experimental ideas are being explored, take digital photos or scans throughout the process at different stages. Viewing them on the computer gives a better view and a different understanding of what is being conveyed in the paint. Then, the process can continue with the additional information during the creation of the work.
Standing At The Threshold About To Create –
By Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2008
When I stand on the threshold about to create – entire universes stretch out before me.
Behind me is everything I’ve ever created or wanted to create. Before me is everything that could be created. To either side is everything that exists which has been created by someone already both historically and currently.
Above me are all the things and ideas that have existed only as possibilities and have yet to be created. And, below the edge of the threshold is everything that exists now somewhere.
From the vantage point of this moment in time standing on the threshold about to create, any combination can be made from what is beyond it. Sometimes I choose a goal before entering this threshold because I intend to create something for a particular person or situation and want it to suit that.
To me, the threshold of about to create is like an open door frame standing in the midst of infinity. It is an infinity that moves out in all directions and is filled with possibilities, knowledge, skills, ideas and tangible things already created somewhere, sometime by God, nature or someone. It is all available for me to utilize or create or combine into something new, or rework, refine and modulate into my own creation.
I do usually start with a purpose but not always. And, where some may go timidly over that threshold, I love to stand on the threshold encompassing it all then fling myself into it. I take a leap of flight into that place and soar through its realms.
I love flying through the elements that are there, choosing from them, considering elements that catch my attention and weaving what is being created as I go. I don’t forcibly keep my goal in mind but it is there and I don’t exclude anything. It is all available regardless of my mind’s constraints of limitations and resources.
This means that whether I have the means to acquire something or not doesn’t matter – it is still available for me to use in the creative process. I don’t exclude things because of limitations currently in my life. Anything can be acquired if its really needed to accomplish creating something.
Some people strive within their limitations to accomplish and to create. They exclude what is beyond this threshold that cannot be accommodated by their current means to acquire it. Usually that is whole worlds of things and believe me, it is an unnecessary constraint. I ignore my limitations of known quantities that are currently in my life and offer everything to the creative process without limitation.
Truth is, I can probably get my hands on it if I need it to work with anyway. There is no project too big, too complex or too out of reach to consider. I don’t feel I have to make and original and unique creation of my own exclusively. Mostly I do, but it is not limited to that and it isn’t a requirement of the process.
What I do is to fly through these infinite worlds beyond the threshold and test, play, choose, combine, study, consider and add together like things and unlike things until I’ve created something that suits my purpose. So, the purpose that brought me to the threshold does define what is being created but it isn’t required to have that definition. It can be done without form or definition set ahead of time. I love doing this too when I have no purpose in mind and want to free-form create. What is done in this process may become a painting, an idea, a writing, a musical composition, an invention, a situation or a project but it does beome an end result that is tangible.
I can set parameters and conditions if I want like, “I want something that will do this,” or “I want some things that will suit this or this person.” The process will use that variable to compare and work with everything beyond the threshold as I create. When I happen upon something that doesn’t fit that parameter, if it has taken my notice – I grab it too and bring it with me. I don’t try to figure out how it fits or whether it belongs to some other project or need I have. Later, it usually becomes obvious without me setting my mind on figuring it out or sorting it out to where it belongs.
On Creating –
There is a dance that happens when I create. In this moment of dance spiritually all things are changed. It is a dance of fire and light and water and power that surges through me and what I am creating – back and forth – dancing together with all of creation in the heart of the universe.
There is nothing else except the song of creation being woven into this beautiful intense dance as it is happening. The dances of this song send ripples out through every living thing and into every spark of an atom in the world and beyond. It flows between time and space surpassing now.
The creativity of that moment in creation influences every moment in my life and every life touched by it that follows. It enlivens, it inspires, it awakens, it enthuses and infuses power into everything the song gently nudges with life.
How much more worthwhile could something be?
For me, it doesn’t matter what form the creating takes – the dance happens when I paint, make music, write, invent, sing, sew, cook or create anything. It is possible to create without giving in to that essence but what it creates isn’t nearly as good. Like comparing a light bulb to the sun.
* place a sign on the bathroom mirror that says, “Paint first – Do music – Create. And leave the mundane to do later, it can wait.”
* the best palettes for oils and acrylics are glass, old pyrex casserole dishes, thick glass cutting boards – smooth side only, microwave browning plates for watercolors and thick plate glass can be used for oils or acrylics and gouache.
* a wonderful brush cleaner can be made by cutting a circle from rubberized open-weave shelf liner in the same size as the bottom of a washed applesauce cup, small bottle or container.
* using a wet paper towel folded over beneath acrylic paints will keep them ready to use for several weeks with plastic wrap covering the palette. Edges of wrap need to be snug.
* point guards for brushes, bamboos, calligraphy pens, styluses, djanti and specialty tools can be made with small pieces of cardboard or plastic boxes cut to fit from a fold and taped together.
* strong tea makes a sepia toned dye for paper and made strong enough, can serve as a watercolor paint to do under-painting work or as the basic wash and paint for a vintage look artwork.
* one way to organize thumbnails and small composition sketches is to cut them into the size for a 4×6 photo album. Also, it’s possible to use the inner papers from these albums for thumbnails and then store them in the albums by subject to locate later.
* most vegetable based and India inks are not waterproof. Many fixative sprays made for pastels, watercolors and pencil drawings will set the surface and allow the ink to become permanent.
* when fixative sprays, spray finishes and glazes, spray varnishes and any other aerosol product gets near the end of the can, any type of artwork can be destroyed by the spitting drops of spray. This can also happen during very cold or very moist, humid weather.
* horizon lines, building edges and other straight-edged elements can be created with pieces of painters’ tape for a smooth, straight line. Make sure the tape is pushed into the surface to paint at the edge where paint will be.
Check back. More tips and tricks for artists are coming soon including easel ideas and designs. Take a look at my Ebay store sometime, I’d love for you to see my work!
Art is a dialogue between the artist and each person that will ever see that artwork. It is immediate and without limitation or boundary. There is no hindrance in the interpretation of words, meanings of ideas or expectation of rewards. It is appropriate to time, place, nationality and culture because art is a clear, direct communication. It is not silence. It is not static. Art is the communication of change and of presence here and now between the viewer and the artist.
Art is more than emotion. It moves something primal in each of us. It is the comfort of knowing we are not alone and that another has stood where we stand in our mind’s landscape and in our lives. Art is not because I told you something today through my art. It is because we chose to have this moment of dialogue today in the course of our lives with all their complexities. That is why it is important. And, that is what makes it special.
Art is a choice between two unlike minds to gather for a moment and consummate a dialogue and to compare notes on the experience of living. There may never be words for it.
Written by Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2008
February 14, 2008
Original post was entitled –
I paint to communicate – by Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2008
This is a reply that I made to a comment requesting information about painting ocean waves – particularly in watercolor and it expresses the way to get the paint to do what you want for making a beautiful painting of the beach surf and waves –
am trying to learn to paint ocean water, transparent water with little waves on a beach .Do you have any DVDs that I can buy, or suggest some to me,that would be good, and where I can get them, Thankyou, MILAN CVJETIC.
My response about painting ocean waves –
I’m sure there aren’t any I would watch – but that’s because it would be easier to get out some paint and play with it until it does what I want. Today, there isn’t a dvd that I’ve made about creating ocean waves in watercolor, however try this –
Imagine what the finished piece will be and the moment that you want to capture.
Everywhere there is to be sparkle, foam or waves – don’t put any paint there. Don’t wet the entire watercolor paper, but instead paint with limited areas of wetness across the page from side to side where the foam, sparkle and froth of the waves will not be.
Sounds pretty backwards, doesn’t it? In essence, paint everything in deep hues where the sea is getting deeper away from the viewer until it nears the horizon while leaving the irregular shapes of the wave crests near the viewer and where there are hints of building waves in the middle behind the detailed areas in the foreground.
There is a dry brush technique that works great for sparkle in watercolor – try it first on a separate piece of watercolor paper. Fill the dry paintbrush (stiff bristles have one set of effects, soft bristles have a different look done this way) with paint by gently, lightly dragging it across the top of the paint so it doesn’t fill the bristles completely. Then pull the color across the page drifting it across the surface in one smooth motion. Each swipe across the surface will fill in some of the color under the sparkle. This isn’t white paint in the brush, although you can do that with acrylics or oil paints.
For watercolors, the paper provides the only pure white in the painting, so when the sparkle happens – it is literally the paper showing through the other colors that convey visual information beneath the foam, the spray, the breaking wave froth, and the sparkly little bits that to the viewer seem to be on top of the water. It is easy to fill the brush with several colors of the water and sand to drag across the paper in front of a breaking wave to convey the sparkly foam in the shallows where we would splash and dig our toes into the wet sand.
There is a little shadow beneath each wave’s crashing froth – it can be created with a light wash with only a hint of wet pigment slightly darker than the sea water and depending on the time of day in your painting, the frothiness of the wave can be captured with swirls of very, very thin Prussian blue washes blended gently into the areas of white or using lightly wet soft bristles partially filled with a very, very thin wash of Payne’s grey. Try it on another piece of paper first.
The clouds and sky will be the same thing – where there are white volumes of clouds must be left unpainted because where the white paper is ever given a tint, it will never be white again. The horizon at certain times of day and in some weather conditions will be almost invisible and lighter than the surrounding upper sky or deep ocean areas. And, at other times it is well-defined and occasionally, deeper in color. What looks right in your mind’s eye? Clouds can be defined from the white surface of the paper using light thin washes of blueish purple, grey, or cobalt that develop the curving forms of shadows beneath their fluffy round forms.
Sunsets and sunrises, afternoons and dusk, all have particular tints to everything. As long as the tints match throughout the painting, it can be believable as if your viewer is standing at that place at that time of day.
The best thing to do is to have some fun with experimenting to find the different effects that can happen, but the basic rule for painting in watercolor is that white areas are left clean and lightly developed, lighter values go on first and each layer of color builds to the darkest which is painted last, rather than first as in acrylics and oil paintings.
Great fun painting – can’t wait to see the results!