Creative Abilities and Genes
There’s this notion that the world is divided into two groups of people, “artists” and the “rest of us”. While this division is supposed to make artists a “special” group of people, it really doesn’t help.
Imagine the artist who hasn’t yet discovered that she’s an artist. She may never do so based on this classification. Since she’s counted herself in the “rest of us” group, she’ll wrongly conclude, based on this grouping, that there’s no way she can ever join the “artist” group.
The truth is it’s not a case of you’re either in or you’re out. We’ve all got what it takes to be creative. And not only that but when we challenge ourselves to learn new things, our brains change and our creative abilities actually improve.
We become more creative when we create.
Reflecting on my one-year self-directed challenge, which I completed this week (woo hoo!), I know I’ve greatly improved in my creative abilities and thinking. And without a shadow of doubt, I’m convinced that anyone who takes on such a challenge will also find themselves making great strides in their creative abilities.
So it’s not just what your creative abilities are to start with, it’s how much more creative you choose to become by consistently creating.
Master Artists Were Not Always Masters
There’s a “story” told of Picasso (I’m going to paraphrase here). A woman in the marketplace asked Picasso to draw a picture for her. Within a matter of 3 minutes, he was done drawing a masterpiece. He gave the picture to her and asked her to pay a large amount of money for it.
The woman responded by saying “but it took you only 3 minutes to draw this”. Picasso’s response was, it took him 30 years to learn to draw a masterpiece in 3 minutes.
The lesson here is even the masters improve with practice. We’re not permanently fixed in either group – you can work your way from the “rest of us” group to the “artists” group.
I’m a living proof of that. And it’s the reason sometimes I feel like shouting it at the top of my lungs. “If I can do it, you can too.” That’s why I’m so passionate about writing so that more people will uncover their creative awesomeness.
You might be saying, but Clara, this or that is hard for me. Don’t let that dissuade you. Small consistent steps are all you need to master whatever that hard skill is. You can turn your weakness into your strong suit if you do that.
When I started in textile art, free motion stitching was the hardest thing for me. Yet I decided to take on a challenge that involved free motion stitching. A simple weekly commitment was all it took.
Overcoming Challenges Moves You Towards Skill Mastery
I started off my challenge with a desire to create simple “pencil-like” drawings on fabric. The highlight of the challenge for me was this. For my solo show, I sent a photo of one of my stitched drawings to an art editor of a publication. He wrote back to ask if it was a pencil drawing?
I was doing a happy dance when I read his email. Immediately, I knew I’d accomplished what I set out to do. I wrote back to say it wasn’t but he insisted his readers would not be able to tell the difference. And he was right!! Sometimes, I cannot tell the difference between the images of my pencil shadings and my thread shadings.
So I say all of this to encourage you. You’re not stuck wherever you find yourself right now. You can get better. The great masters of creativity improved their creative abilities over time, and so can you. Don’t let those skills that first elude you, stop you.
One Challenge Down—–More to Come
I completed my one year challenge this week with a simple “pencil-like” shading as you can see in the photos. This was the original inspiration for my challenge in which I completed 62 pieces in 62 weeks. I felt it was just fitting to return to what started it all – a simple “pencil-like drawing”. Now that I’ve completed this challenge, I can’t wait to see what other difficult tasks I’ll take on in this creative journey.
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this quote from Psychology Today
For some creative people, the urge to master skills that first elude them motivates them more than quick success. When combined with persistence, the attraction to mental realms that feel foreign can lead to extraordinary work.
Here’s my take. The word “extra” in extraordinary, stands for extra effort. Put extra effort in something ordinary and watch it turn into something extraordinary.
What extraordinary work do you desire to create? Have you tried taking small consistent steps towards making this a reality?
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