Thursday, June 14, 2012

Intuition and Creativity

intuition, creativity, age, photography, vintage, subconscious,
This year I'm concentrating on growing as an artist and a big part of that has been figuring out how to get out of my own box. Recently, I've been reading a book about using intuition - it was recommended by a friend, artist Linda Parnell, who's one of the most unusual and creative artists I know.

The book (Practical Intuition by Laura Day) posits intuition as a sixth sense - intuition isn't magical, it's the process of opening up to what you're actually feeling - and then using your experience to evaluate and inform those feelings. It is the process of becoming more sensitive to your environment and thoughts you might otherwise have been unaware of.

In many ways I feel I already use it in teaching, since part of being a teacher is responding to, or asking questions about, the intuitive feelings you get from a student or their work. Some areas are almost too painful to touch, and I will often ask a question on the edge of an issue to give the student a safe space in which to enter into the dialog, or ignore it. Other intuitive feelings fall in the category of insight and are merely a benefit of having the clarity to see another's issue without being distracted by ownership of it. It's always easier to see from the outside. 

What I find interesting about the author's approach to intuition is the idea that it starts by asking a question, and then you use that question to inform what you need to notice in the world around you. This feels logical because when you've chosen to become aware or sensitized to something, you will see it everywhere. So, intention seems be to a big part of intuition.

This past week I worked on an exercise that asks you to take a moment, relax deeply and bring a visual image into your mind. The next step is to allow the image to make up a story about itself and follow it through the narrative until you feel it's ended. Afterwards you examine the beginning and end images, thinking about the changes between the two, and what qualities seem to exist in those changes. I started with an image of a shining city semi-submerged in a vast lake or ocean. Through the narrative that evolved, I saw the image as part of a millennia  cycle of waters advancing and receding, with the city's inhabitants doing a "sleeping beauty" cycle as well.  It didn't feel scary, more like one of those "circle of life" type stories.

When I was done with the exercise, I decided to start putting these ideas into action and create an image based on this vision. So, the above image is called "The Waters Rise" and shows the start of the cycle as the waves softly move into the forest.

What are your thoughts about creativity? Where do ideas come from? Do you trust your process? Do you use intuition?

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