Thursday, May 5, 2016

Creativity and Fear

Cold wax and oil paints with collage bundle, 2016, Donna Watson

NOTE:  2 Day Workshop - Boro/Wabi sabi:  The Japanese Spirit of Collage.  May 28-29, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN.  For more information on the workshop, supply list, venue and how to register go to  

Sometimes I have a hard time "beginning"... starting something new.   The books on creativity basically say... just get started..  do "it".  If you can release yourself from the anxiety that might be associated with the word creativity, you'll see, in fact, that you are an enormously creative person.

That sounds like great advice but how do you do it?  

collage, 2016, by Donna Watson

What's your personal definition of creativity?

"Starting with nothing and ending up with something.  Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in."  punk rocker
Henry Rollins

Fear and creativity go hand and hand on the same road trip.  Work hard and stay focused and do not allow fear to have a vote or to drive.

BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert ( author of Pray, Eat, Love)

I have been reading BIG MAGIC...  basically it is about getting started... just begin... leave fear in the dust.  It is easy to read, and easy to say... but hard once I get in to the studio.  

"Its all just an instinct and an experiment and a mystery, so begin....  Begin anywhere.  Preferably right now.  And if greatness should ever by accident stumble upon you, let it catch you hard at work."
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.

Collage, 2016, by Donna Watson

Always this energy smoulders inside
When it remains unlit
The body fills with dense smoke.----  David Whyte

So, what is your definition of creativity?


Trace Willans said...

I like to get started by tidying up the studio or looking at past visual journals as a last resort I would look at my pinterest pages, there is bound to be a nudge/idea in there somewhere.
Otherwise I just make a mark any mark it doesn't matter what it is as it will get covered up anyway. Or sometimes I write a poem on the page/board and see what happens. Maybe creativity is too big and intimidating a word, Me I just make stuff.

magpie said...

not that I can always follow it but I always liked something jasper johns wrote...
"take an object / do something to it / do something else to it. repeat."

ELFI said...

l'introduction de personnages dans tes créations est très nouveau.. beau comme toujours...pour moi, la créativité est comme une spirale... à la fin il y a une libération...

Debbie said...

Lovely to see you back. I just tend to fiddle around in the studio looking at stuff, opening drawers, discovering items I had forgotten about until something clicks. It can take time though I didn't weave anything for about three months before I found inspiration to start back.

Judy Shreve said...

For me - the biggest lesson is not to measure my creativity against someone elses - this helps the fear drop away. Of course this is easier some days than others. I also think it's important to work daily - it's in that rhythm that keeps me from taking myself too seriously.

Sharmon Davidson said...

You're so right, Donna; "just do it" is so much easier said than done. I have been battling that same old fear lately, and it's not always easy to see your way around it. You have so obviously done that, though, with these gorgeous pieces!

Caterina Giglio said...

really great to see you pop up on my side bar... and I just play... do something with no agenda... paint on a book page usually works, or a few stitches..
That last piece of yours is simply fabulous...

artpropelled said...

Just begin. It sounds simple but sometimes beginning is the hardest part. I have to take myself by the scruff of the neck and plonk myself in front of the workbench. Once I've bullied myself to begin things start happening. Great to see a new post Donna.

Barry said...

Hi D - love that David Whyte quote. I think what might stop me from starting would be the fear or just repeating what I had previously created - and we all need to do that it is our niche work - but what gives me a lift is to turn away from one stream of creativity and turn to another - like don't make bowls but rather make lamps -assembling rather than hammering. And I agree - cleaning the studio in anticipation of doing something new. Peace. B

Mo Crow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mo Crow said...

I don't like defining things too much... a nice loose idea to hang the threads of thought on with a non binding timeline of say 5-10 years with allowances for sidetracks and revisions.. "it's a good life" to quote
my favourite artist's statement by Christian Boltanski a few years back-
"I come to my studio every day at 10.30, and I stay and do nothing. I go to Paris sometimes. I have a few ideas. To be very pretentious, sometimes I believe it is mystical. Sometimes you find nothing, and then you find some-thing you love to do. Sometimes you make mistakes, but some-times it's true. In two minutes, you understand what you must do for the next two years. Sometimes it's in the studio, but other times it's walking in the street or reading a magazine. It's a good life, being an artist, because you do what you want".

Annie said...

Hi Donna, Love your work and I love all the advice and quotes here. For me I also like to clean and go through my "stuff". Inspiration can come from anywhere and that is usually where I find it. xoxo

candi harris said...

I force myself to just sit down & begin - pick up the paints, the stencils, the stamps, the found objects - start painting & moving things around. Since I work in acrylics, I remind myself that if I don't like what I see there's always gesso & I always have the option to paint over it - just start already! Nothing is ever going to happen if I give into brain freeze.

Dee Spillane said...

I always look forward to your links and posts. Wonderful art, new artists and places, a joy!

Ruth Armitage said...

I loved Big Magic! And your new work is beautiful. For me, creativity is the spark of excitement that happens when I say 'what if...'

Jo Reimer said...

Hi Donna,
As usual I'm inspired by your lovely work.

Creativity is who I am... a maker of things, an arranger, always and automatically putting things together so the combination looks good, whether it's bits of paper, furniture and accessories in a corner of the room, food on a plate, colors juxtaposed, thread and fabric. Robert Rauschenberg spoke of making "combines". I guess that's what I do to be creative. Being somehow creative hasn't left me yet, though it's not always about making art with a capital A.

trish quilty said...

I love your new pieces featured here. You so inspire me. You have so much talent, putting together items/colors that are so perfect together, while I am just flubbing around trying. I do have fun and enjoy myself though. Thanks for sharing your work and thoughts and quotes.

Sandra said...

Beautiful words about fear and creativity! Great work.

VIckipMaguire Art Studio said...

Creativity to me is "living in the moment of awareness". Often, the thread is heightened by noticing.. Details of many stimulus. Going for a walk becomes a meander as I notice leaf shapes, shaped vines, trees, the fragrances but the blues, the atmosphic shift of different oceans
From west coast to lower Gulf teals. Music, poetry, fabric, lighting, just being aware...and exercise, yoga.. Personally, I love my oils, cold wax and my large palette knives and organic serene designs. Blues are my favorite... And tonal.
Loved your work and article in April 2016 Artist Magazine.
Love Thoureau. Not so much on Gilbert at all... Think it was the first book. ...
Definitely takes time to walk from fear. One very seasoned artist says in her classes "No one dies, it's only paint" . Thks Donna.

Kathy Johnson said...

We've all been stuck at some point. Like many others have said here, if you just start something....anything (making a mark, even if it gets covered up later) will inspire you creatively.

The biggest thing to remember: be in the moment and don't be so invested in the outcome. Through playing we find creativity. We hear music, smell a fragrant flower or see a color that sparks something.

That's magic. said...

الان تعرف علي مهام مكافحة حشرات من خلال الشركة الفرنسية التي تعتبر الاولي في اعمال ابادة حشرات ويمكنك التعرف عليها الان من خلال فريق عمل متخصص في تلك المهام باقل اسعار شركات مكافحة حشرات بمصر التي توفر عليك الراحة التامة والتكاليف الباهظه .الان تعرف علي مهام مكافحة حشرات من خلال الشركة الفرنسية التي تعتبر الاولي في اعمال ابادة حشرات ويمكنك التعرف عليها الان من خلال فريق عمل متخصص في تلك المهام باقل اسعار شركات مكافحة حشرات بمصر التي توفر عليك الراحة التامة والتكاليف الباهظه .

Unknown said...

يمكنك الان الاستعانة بفريق عمل شركه حراسات امنية لطلب خدمات التامين والحراسة علي ايدي فريق من امهر افراد الامن في مصر والذي يقوم بالعمل بكل كفائه وخبرة في شركه امن وحراسة بمصر في اي وقت تواصل معنا للتعرف علي المزيد .

essay writing service from US said...

Being a creative person is not fun. These are constant anxieties, fears, a search for inspiration. You can have a bad mood and you can not create. You can have a good mood and still you can not do anything. Because for any creativity you need your time and your circumstances. The author is just about this and says.

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