The Art of Creativity

My instructor pressed the remote in his hand and a new image appeared on the projector screen at the front of the class.

“Who do you think painted this piece of work?”

The painting was of a solemn moment: a woman all decked in luminescent white kneeling before an altar. I was taking a European art history class.

None of us knew the answer.

We were all surprised when our instructor divulged that the painter was Pablo Picasso, to which someone piped, “But Picasso’s paintings were abstract. This doesn’t look like his work at all.”

“True. Those were his later works. But, like all great artists of his time, Picasso learned and mastered the fundamentals of painting first. He was 15 when he finished this large-scale oil painting of his sister taking First Communion.”

That night I learned of the symbiotic relationship between art and creativity.

Creativity is allowing yourself freedom to explore beyond established rules; art is knowing which of the conventions to apply and keep while creating something unique.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~ Maya Angelou

As children, we freely engage with our universe in creative ways. I remember as a youngster waking up one morning to a world engulfed by a thick ice-crusted layer of snow. With school cancelled, my brother and I spent the afternoon outdoors naively building an igloo in lieu of the more traditional snowman. It didn’t work out quite as we’d envisioned, but I don’t think that mattered. What we created was unique though.

At some point, I compared my skills to those of others and became convinced that my artistic and creative abilities were meager, at best. I was wrong.

The truth is that we are all creative. Besides artistry, creativity allows us to work through problems in life and find solutions. It allows us to find unique connections between different ideas and objects. It influences us when we are stuck in traffic and explore an alternate route home. It plays a role in the words and images we post on social media, and the strategies we develop to negotiate a raise or contract.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~ Pablo Picasso

One of my post-graduate lecturers’ perspectives resonated with me. He told the class that by the time we all graduated from the project management program, we’d have a tool box full of technical practices. The art of management came from knowing which practice to pull out of the box for any given project or situation.

Customarily we associate art with painting, sculptures and music, but it’s more than that. Art is the skill we use to express or apply our creativity using the tools, materials or practices with which we have confidence and experience.

There is art involved in much of what we do, like in running a business, raising our kids, decorating our homes, planting gardens, etc..

One of the areas I express my art is in writing. I see myself a nascent literary artist. The words I write and the mental images, emotions and thoughts they invoke are my paintings.

We are all artists – you and I – and the life we lead becomes the masterpiece we leave behind.

Carrot Ranch’s February 20, 2023 Flash Fiction Challenge about being a literary artist led me to revamp an outdated piece I’d written for Carrot Ranch’s Raw Literature series.

6 thoughts on “The Art of Creativity

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  1. I was stumped by Charli’s prompt, not called to dig deep and prune way back on a very important topic (and my series in process won’t let me loose). I’ve really liked the few I read so far on the CR prompt. I LOVE the way you let the prompt lead you, here. It’s longer than 99, no? Because that’s what was needed to fully express! Respecting the story! ❤
    And yes, we do assume the artist is just magically there, ignore that it takes time & nourishment to make it grow, and that each step along the way is crucial also.

    Liked by 1 person

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