January 17, 2021: Choosing A Creative Life
I have often described myself as a “late blooming artist”, taking up jewelry design, nature photography and watercolor painting later in life. My confidence has eventually evolved to accept the idea, “I am an artist”, but I still find myself needing reassurance that what I create is worthy.
In discussions with other artists, I’ve learned that we all struggle at times with feelings that our work doesn’t measure up to what our imaginations tell us it should be. Instead of focusing on the joy of creative process, we can get stuck on the idea that if a final product is not perfect, it is not valuable or worth doing. This emphasis on perfection and resulting anxieties of potential failure are too often roadblocks that keeps us from leading a more creative life.
Yet the very act of creative process can lead to feelings of joy, happiness and being in a flow of positive energy. Creativity is not the hallmark of only artists. According to its definition, creativity is:
- the state or quality of being creative.
- the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality
- the process by which one utilizes creative ability: stimulated his creativity .https://www.dictionary.com/browse/creativity
One mental roadblock to living creatively, is that only artists are creative. Creativity is part of our human biology. Throughout time, it has allowed humanity to not only survive and surmount challenges, but to transcend them, using the arts to make meaning of our existence. Yet to be creative, one must be willing to be vulnerable, encounter failures, make mistakes, and persevere. It also means absolving ourselves from the specter of past failures and inviting in hopeful inspiration.
Expanding our definitions of creativity opens doors to our own creative spirits. Whether we are brainstorming ideas for problem solving, experimenting with a new recipe, envisioning a garden, or redesigning a living space, when our efforts result in something new, we are being creative.
But the joy and application of creative process will be both different and unique in each one of us. My best friend Liz, a gourmet cook, loves to experiment with recipes, while I consider myself domestically challenged in the kitchen. I do know how to cook, but is not one of my passions, therefore I don’t give it much energy or time. Being creative takes time.
Choosing a more creative life, means being willing to explore new ideas, put our hopes into practice, and make time for the learning process. It also means to accept the fear of potential failure and acknowledge the frustrations that can accompany our endeavors.
“The frustration, the hard part, the obstacle, the insecurities, the difficulty, the ‘I don’t know what to do with this thing now,’ that’s the creative process,” she says.Elizabeth Gilbert
Yet the antidote of these “perceived negative aspects” is the pleasure and satisfaction we receive when our efforts have resulted in something that brings us a sense of joy or a quiet sense of contentment.
I didn’t touch painting until later in life. Surrounded by family members who were “bonafide” artists, I was afraid to fail. But I have always loved watercolors and after taking a leap of faith into the art, have learned that if I want to be a better painter, I need to paint more….learn from my mistakes, and apply what I’ve learned to the next piece. Each time I paint now, I take time to celebrate both the creative process of applying paint and watching it flow onto the paper, to the final product.
What are the areas of your life, where the process of creativity brings you joy and satisfaction? What steps can you take to allow creativity to become part of your life’s focus? I welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
As always thank you for taking the time to read our blog. You are invited share it with someone who might find it meaningful.
Betty Jean Wilcox
January 17, 2021
I enjoy your thoughts and your process and your evolution in being an artist as you define it for yourself. “Expanding our definitions of creativity opens doors to our own creative spirits. Whether we are brainstorming ideas for problem solving, experimenting with a new recipe, envisioning a garden, or redesigning a living space, when our efforts result in something new, we are being creative.” I was especially pleased by this statement. People say over and over “I’m not an artist” or “I’m not artistic” when I’ve seen their gardens, or how they decorate their homes, etc. and explain to them that that, too, is art. We just have to find for ourselves our way of expressing it. We’ve really enjoyed watching you expanding beyond your jewelry into your painting and photography, and doing so with great joy and success. Congratulations to you!
January 17, 2021
Thanks so much for taking the time to not only read our blog, but to respond to it as well. When I describe my journey as an artist, I was serious about not considering myself “an artist” for a long time. A conversation with my daughter Heather (a very talented artist) this week inspired this blog. When I used the words “late blooming artist”, she told me, “Mom you’ve always been artistic….your gardens, your miniature houses, home decorations, etc.” I just didn’t consider these as Arts……..I’ve learned a lot about the willingness to explore, fail, and most importantly persevere. Every time I create a painting, I look for something I love about it. It takes away the onus of having the whole piece be perfect! Thank you for your encouragement & greatly appreciated thoughts!