We all know, at least in our heads, that creativity is beneficial for us, and neuroscience has now given us unequivocal proof of that. Many people are now attempting to do creative things from time to time, but the bigger question is this: why do we find it so seriously difficult to make creativity happen as a life habit?
Jane Beaumont is an artist running award winning collage and mixed media courses in Hepworth, Suffolk. In this guest blog, Jane explores the way we hold ourselves back when creating art.
We’ve recently had a social event in our tiny village. We’ve never had a Pudding Club evening before. It went swimmingly well. At the end, the fifteen scrumptious dishes lay in various degrees of devoured-ness on their trestle tables and we sat, full to the gunnels with creamy delights, having sampled most of them.
The team who had toiled to make the event happen, were now moving from table to table, while we showed our appreciation. I was full of my wicked indulgences and wondering what my guts would have to say about it all later.
At the door I chatted with a wonderful lady; a stalwart of our community. I told her that I was preparing for my next art exhibition. She looked at me, and with a glint in her eye said, “Will I like it?” “No”, I replied, and we both laughed. I’d learnt years ago that she wasn’t a fan of my abstract art and would have far preferred that I’d stayed making realistic countryside art work.
When you stick your neck out into the open and show the world what you’ve made, it can feel like standing naked on your local High Street. So why bother making art, or creating your own unique crafts, if it might mean being vulnerable to criticism, from without or within?
We all know, at least in our heads, that creativity is beneficial for us, and neuroscience has now given us unequivocal proof of that. Many people are now attempting to do creative things from time to time, but the bigger question is this: why do we find it so seriously difficult to make creativity happen as a life habit? I’m talking about regular, daily or certainly weekly designated time, to make, create and stimulate our imagination with playful activities that bring us joy. I‘m wondering if the reason for our hesitation is that we fall prey to our inner critic. That tiresome voice that tells us that we’re not good at creative things, or that we’ll only end up throwing our creation away, so why bother! That destructive narrative gets a fair old airing through the years, so we lose trust in our ability to fall into creativity and see it as an end in itself. It doesn’t have to be quantified, critiqued, judged or given a rating. It can just be for the sheer pleasure of allowing our imaginative selves to come out to play.
I use the habit of collaging in my daily art practice. I use other things too, but collaging is a fantastic way to loosen the guy ropes on my critical left brain. It allows me to use my deep intuition, spot unexpected patterns, trust serendipitous hunches, make random choices and take some exciting risks.
The question isn’t, will others like my creation, or, will I be suitably impressed with what I’ve made, but rather, how did it make me feel? When you left that day-course, how did you feel? Was your heart light and free? Did you feel lost in the activity, free of your normal worries, as those hours flew by?
My observations of the people who attend my one-day courses is that they are blown away by the rich creativity they see suddenly flooding out of themselves. Wondering where it came from, they experience surprise and delight, which instantly silences their inner critic. They leave feeling sure they want to keep that feeling.