Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sometimes I Just Get Carried Away

I've been reading a book on how we create--the science behind creativity. It's called Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer. (His website is ) I had gotten some hype about the book from a couple of lists I belong to, and I was curious to see what all the fuss is about. Creativity has been on my mind a lot these days; one of my good friends has been bemoaning her lack of it, meanwhile being creative about a problem in her life--she just wasn't making ART and saw that as not being creative. Lehrer's book is a look at how creativity works in the brain, and it is written in a handy accessible narrative style so it makes an enjoyable read as well as an informative one.

I am fond of saying, in accordance with the standard Left-Brain-Right-Brain definition of what in our brain controls what, that I am always in my right mind. Apparently, though, one needs both halves to do any thinking about anything. Throw in the Prefrontal Cortex and you are on your way to being creative, if you just go along with what your brain is doing. But please--don't take my word for it--read the book!

"Cabinet of Curiosities" using stuff from Deviant Scrap

Now my biggest fault in being creative is that there are too many choices pulling at me--should I write a poem? Should I paint something? Collage? Sew? Work on a novel? I am constantly being pulled this way and that, each shiny new thing attracting my attention. Right now I am loving digital art, playing with art journals, making liquid polymer skins, and putting earrings together to sell at the Northwest Polymer Guild's Artisan Gift Show this year. All--or should I say each--of these requires a certain amount of creative thinking, though this kind of decision-making is not earth shaking in its consequences. I don't think I will ever invent Scotch Tape (after all, it's been done) or the Post-it Note, or anything as useful as a Swiffer (all these are talked about in Lehrer's book). I might--though it isn't highly likely--write a poem as game-changing as Bob Dylan's "Rolling Stone," but I only have about twenty-five years or so left to do it, and my Poetic Muse is busy elsewhere right now. What I really have to think about is my upcoming classes and demonstrations, the first of which is next Saturday. So what am I doing? Writing this blog, and posting my digital art to it.

"Woman Escaping Her Stereotype" using Deviant Scrap and other images

These two pieces of digital art are made with the copy of Photoshop CS6 Beta that I downloaded a couple of days ago. I have been a Photoshop user since forever, and am still finding new things to do with it. Some of the new things in CS6 Beta are fun to experiment with. But the old standbys of layers, masks and blending modes are still the big guns in my arsenal. I heart Photoshop! (And that iconic phrase is in Imagine too!)

That's all for now--Nan

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