artlab: what is creativity?

CMCA ArtLab Bronstein- paint chip mosaics

It’s the first week in January. The Maine landscape has been more than ravaged by frigid cold and ice. Everyone, even the heartiest most upbeat & outdoorsy people say they’ve had enough of winter. (Or more precisely, as a friend recently wrote, “This cold white shit is becoming a bit tiresome.”) Fortunately, at the first ArtLab for All Ages workshop, there was nothing but color and creativity.

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Even though the cultivation of creativity is at the very heart of what drives me as an artist, a teacher, and a believer in the power of prompts, creativity is a word I actually try to avoid using. It’s a big word. But it’s not really big enough to describe what it’s actually describing.

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It’s an active (not a passive) word. It’s about making active, decisive choices in the moment.

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It’s about moving within a clear, uncluttered flow of energy…

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…energy that’s private and internal, even within and amongst a group of people.

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When you’re riding this private, uncluttered wave of energy, things happen. There’s so much space. You’re creating space. Space for serious Deep Play.

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You can’t even guess what you might do.

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Even if you have an image or idea in mind, that image, as it begins to come to life, will grow beyond you.

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Shapes you design and compose will speak to each other. A story will emerge.

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Then your work will talk back to you… it will tell you to add another flame to your fire,

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it will ask you to grab a pencil to add some lines.

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It will tell you to just keep following your own moves…one shape will lead to the next,

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until finally the work will tell you that it’s complete.

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And then when you sit back and look at what you’ve done, you’ll feel a strange but satisfying sensation.

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You might marvel at your work with some pride

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but you might also think of Piet Mondrian, who said: The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.

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