We have amazing brains and they operate by coordinating information from the world around us. We are natural experts at reading signs; the ability to recognise faces is a very complex skill but we all do it quite easily. Not only that but we can read the looks on those faces, or even intuitively pick up other people’s moods. We continually interpret body language, conversational hints and other signals around us all the time. Humans are very successful at this. Our survival often depends on it.
We use these skills in all kinds of creative ways. It’s in our human DNA to seek innovative solutions to problems. It’s what keeps us progressing and developing. We are endlessly creative, not only in positive ways but also, unfortunately, in negative manifestations too. Some of our inventions are morally or ethically frightening, such as cluster bombs or terrorism. Think of the endless weapons and terrible ways we invent to hurt each other. Generally though, our personal creativity is channelled into making our own lives more comfortable and pleasant. Everyone is creative in some form or another and we display obvious inventiveness in our cooking, home decoration, even making our guests welcome; we need not be ‘artists’ to be creative.
Drawing is only one key to unlocking our creative potential and helping it to flow into our lives. When we begin to open ourselves to new and different experiences this affects all other areas of our life. Once the synapses in our brains make new connections they seem to look for further innovation in other areas too.
There’s only one useful label that can be used when talking about ourselves, and that is ‘creative’. Very creative people are often labelled ‘crazy’ because they can have such unusual and sometimes challenging views. Suppressing our creative tendencies can make us very depressed and frustrated. Finding outlets to channel our creativity in some way can be a wonderful release of frustration. There are many ways to access this – by learning to sing, dance, play music, cook, make pottery or crafts.
Drawing is a relatively simple and cheap way to enhance our creativity, and seems to be a common desire. Most people wish that they could draw, or draw more accurately. There’s something magical about being able to capture the world around us on paper.
Making a drawing about something helps us to understand it better, whether the drawing is of an actual object or not. Focusing on, say, a bottle, while we try to draw it will teach us a lot about line, form, space, tone and the abstract relationships of shapes. It will also shift our minds to a peaceful, almost meditative state, away from our day-to-day worries and cares. If we judge our efforts too harshly afterwards we may become demoralised, of course. If possible draw for pleasure and practice and not for the individual end product.
Using the same skills of line, form, shape, tone etc, we can explore how we are feeling inside, literally drawing out our inner feelings. Deep inside, we are all creative beings; created to be creative and to express our own unique voice in the world. Sadly, many people have never found that voice, and have had it squashed down inside them until it can hardly see the light of day. We all know that there’s a glimmer inside us though. Nobody makes bad decisions on purpose; we all think we’re doing the ‘right thing’, however misguided it may be. We may have huge regrets afterwards. Atoning for our misdeeds and learning from our mistakes is what gives us hope for the future.
Great works of art are created by people expressing their deepest feelings of being human and alive. They are able to use their depressions, revelations, despairs and frustrations to inspire and touch the rest of us. Seeing, hearing, reading another human being’s outpouring of emotion can spark our own inspired creativity too, and help us live richer, enhanced lives.