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Curious About the Creative Process / Hat of the Day Sketch – straw shepherdess hat

February 20, 2010

Daily Thought

I’ve been curious for years about the creative process and occasionally I question other creative people about their experiences.  Now I’ve got some questions for you artists out there.  But first, a few words about my creative brain.

I’ve done art my whole life – my dad is a trained commercial artist and a wonderful draftsman, and I followed in his artist footprints when I got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, sculpture, and ceramics.  Now, I’ve never been the type of artist who has lots of images floating around my head that I just have to get out on canvas, in clay, etc.  In fact, I’ve always been jealous of those artists; it seems so much easier having creative ideas handed to you rather than having to work for them.  I’m probably wrong about it being easier, but the grass is always greener, isn’t it.

Sure, I get flashes of inspiration out of nowhere and try to get them on paper in crude sketches… or risk forgetting that I ever had the idea!  I’ve also recently noticed that I experience synaesthetic visualizations (not always of hats, mind you) during relaxing physical sensations like someone brushing my hair or massaging my shoulders (not that that happens very often, unfortunately).

I’ve been trying to figure out how to tap into the productivity of absentminded daydreaming, but “productive absentmindedness” seems to be an oxymoron.  Meditation seems to me the best way to open up those creative channels while staying lucid (lucidity is a very good thing when you’re trying to be productive).

Anyway, I realized years ago that I am a tactile creator, the type of person who tends to work backwards from that other type of artist – I prefer to play with materials until a final piece emerges.  I like to let the materials tell me what they want to do and partner with them in a dance, rather than forcing them to go against their nature.  I’ll frequently have a mood or basic inspiration that informs the choices I make, but I like it to be an organic process, open to change and fluid.

So all this rambling has me wondering:  how do all you creative people in the world go about your creating?

Do you work like I prefer to, handling materials and growing your inspiration as you go?  Do you have the voice of inspiration screaming in your ear as Beethoven claimed to have, and it’s your job to find a way to express that voice outside your head?  Are you somewhere in between or not even on this radar?  Perhaps you’ve got some wacky, freaky way you like to create.  Either way, I’d love to hear about it!


Hat of the Day Sketch

Today’s hat is a lovely blue straw shepherdess style hat from the late 1800s (roughly 1880-1890).  The blue straw has contrasting brown straw in a band around the brim and near the top of the funnel-shaped crown.  Satin ribbon and sheaves of wheat trim out this lovely, strange little hat.

shepherdess style straw hat, late 1800s


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