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Some thoughts on creativity...

What I share here is based on personal experience; it is what I’ve found to be true – for me. I am not suggesting that it should be true for everyone, or that there is some “formula” that will work universally. True creativity is birthed in freedom, free of all constraints and preconceptions – it is personal and individual.

I find that creativity is often linked to productivity. In my opinion one has nothing, or little, to do with the other. Pressure to produce can stifle creativity more effectively than any other influence. I’ll choose quality over quantity any day. I find that my most productive times are spent in waiting. “Receiving” is an integral component to “pouring out”, I find it impossible to do one without the other. I call my waiting times “soaking.”

The key to producing artwork that touches peoples spirit is found in intimacy with God - seek first His presence, spend time with Him. If we make knowing Him intimately our priority, the creativity will flow – its unavoidable. We are all gifted and talented to various degrees, but gifting and talent are not sufficient on their own to touch the spirit of a man. Gifting without Presence produces empty works. For a work to minister on a spiritual level, it must originate in the spirit. In this sense, I see myself as a translator, a facilitator so that God’s heart can be expressed. Time with Him… listening, is 90 percent of the creative process for me. Not crying out, but quietly listening. I find he is fond of speaking in whispers and I am hard of hearing.

Time. We live in a “drive thru” world expecting instant results. Don’t be in a hurry. God is not. Value the process, not the product. The benefits of my soaking times far out way any value of any artwork produced. The benefits of these times spent with him are in fact the gifts of the spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22, Love, Joy, Peace… etc. These gifts will carry us further and take us to places unattainable by fame and fortune.

I remember working on a piece entitled “The Promise”; it is a picture of an angel standing in a wheat field. A wheat field sounds simple enough until you start actually drawing it and you discover that God cares intimately about each individual wheat kernel. There were times when I found the work tedious and I was often frustrated by the time consuming aspect of it all. What made matters worse was that there was a house being built across the street and I could see their daily progress from my studio window. They had framed the whole house, and I was still in the wheat field! But then God’s presence would come and time would simply disappear. Under those circumstances, I lost sight of the “end product” and simply reveled in the process. Most of the things we deem “important” have a way of fading into insignificance when His presence comes. By the way, when that happens, we need to throw out the rulebook and our agenda… things will flow better for us.

Fear. Imagination is a gift from God, do not fear it or dismiss it. What starts as a small thread, when followed, often leads straight to the heart of God. After all, we are the result of God’s greatest imagination. If our heart is set on things above, there is little chance of our imagination being hijacked.

It is human nature to want to know how things work, to have a plan and to follow it. We like to feel comfortable in our proficiency – forget about it. I have found that God works very differently than I do (thank goodness). He’ll show us what we don’t know about what we think we do… if we let him. There is a freedom in not knowing, opening a pathway for the creator of the universe to work through us – with us. I’m not saying one shouldn’t study and perfect one’s skills. By all means do! I’m simply saying one shouldn’t become so confident in ones own ability as to shut out “divine intervention.” The divine interventions are the best part, it’s where God puts his signature – we need to leave room for that! Trust in his leading. Wait for him to lead you with his gentle whispers and don’t get ahead of Him.

True creativity exists in freedom. Freedom can be scary… there are no double yellow lines, no GPS. As human beings we are not accustomed to such freedom, we are not comfortable with it and tend to want to box things in, make it familiar. We want a road map and “how to” instructions. I have found that just when I think I’ve “figured it out” God changes things up on me. What worked on the last drawing, simply won’t work on the present one. He has never asked me to do the same thing twice in the same way. I believe this is to keep me reliant on him. I wish I could supply the reader with some practical methods… the best I can offer is to stick with the Holy Spirit like glue, keep an open mind and an open heart – expect the unexpected. Creativity is a difficult thing to define really, I’m not sure it can be. Like God, I believe it is infinite. Creativity resides in the spirit, permeating every area of our lives. I don’t believe the evidence of creativity need necessarily take on a visual or audio form – it is way bigger than that. In that sense, I think it’s a lot like Love.

Identity. Finally, I would suggest becoming more childlike. All children are creative. Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Have fun! Let not what you do determine your identity. We are first and foremost all children of God. Our Father in heaven is the creator of creativity, simply stay close by His side - some of it will rub off. When my focus is solely on my art, I limit my vision – it becomes myopic. I try to keep my focus on creation and its creator. All my artwork flows from that relationship.


Reader Comments (2)

Gentleness, of Holy Spirit is wrapping your creativity. I love that.

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Lariviere

thanks for your thoughts , sort of confirmation of where my head and heart are , and have been for a while , hearing God and how it affects , inspires , leads my work .

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin Niczynski

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