Creativity—One Size Doesn’t Fit All

1. Think about what goes into making a visual metaphor. What kinds of elements or characteristics can you put into a relationship with each other? In other words, what kind of pairings can you create? For example: light/dark, bright/neutral, curved/straight, large/small, organic/geometric, busy/calm. Challenge yourself to make a list of 20. Then choose a few to incorporate into a painting. Think about the different ways you can put these elements into a relationship with each other—side by side, separate, or on top of.

2. Each time you finish a painting, make a list of the relationships you’ve established between the elements or various subject matters. Do you remember when, as kids, we counted the number of hidden faces we could find in a drawing of the woods? Look for the relationships in your painting the same way. Where are the changes from dark to light, color to color, shape to shape? (Don’t worry about using correct terminology or “artspeak.”) Or, if you like, make a list of any other relationships you discover in the paintings presented in this article&#!51;even the relationships that seem too obvious count.

3. Give examples of Creativity with a big C and creativity with a little c. Look for examples that are manageable and friendly rather than intimidating. For example, setting a goal of creating a painting that is more original than any that have been done before (big C) is probably unrealistic and would paralyze most of us. Setting a goal of creating a painting that compares many shades of blue (little c) might be more fun.

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