Seven Secrets to Unleashing Your Inner Genius Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman

2.  Understand the Bias.

Whether they’re in elementary school or a corporate office space, people who think and process in unique or creative ways might feel stifled by conforming to traditional means of production output.  “We do seem to be biased in most schools and workplaces against individual expression and unique choice,” says Kaufman. “That sort of standardization of behavior is really a Killer of Creativity.” How can students and nine to fivers overcome confining and rigid structures? By trusting in your own intuition when you show enthusiasm or excitement in something new, and then finding some kind of outlet to express it

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I like these words….!

DESIDERATUM –  something wanted or needed.

ORENDA –  a mystical force  present in all people that empowers them to affect the world or to effect changes in their own lives.

QUERENCIA – a place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where you find your most authentic self.

MERAKI- THE SOUL, CREATIVITY, OR LOVE PUT INTO SOMETHING; THE ESSENCE OF YOURSELF THAT IS PUT INTO YOUR WORK.

Art Quote for the Day

WHEW!!!!!!!

I just finished another Winterim session at my place of employment, Edgewood College in Madison WI. This is a 2 week long period of time that students can take classes and get a full semester’s worth of credit. We meet EVERYDAY  for 3 hours and I had one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon.  Six hours of classtime,  2 hours of prep-time, I was out of the house everyday at 7 am and home by 4:30 pm……. with maybe 30 minutes to gulp down some kind of lunch.

I’M EXHAUSTED!

4 days off , and then, the real semester starts and back at it!

I LOVE IT !!!

The Winterim is proof of  how much can actually get done in a very short time if that time is concentrated and focused. It is proof of what students are capable of learning and doing in that same amount of quality time.

The morning class I taught was in Figure Drawing. Drawing the nude…. everyday a live model, everyday a new set of skills to be learned: proportion, measuring ,bone structure, musculature,modelling 3-dimensional form, gesture/motion, media,patience, focus, imagination. We ended today with a 2 hour long pencil drawing of 2 poses in one drawing that related to each other in some way. Students had to draw a sitting pose and a standing pose that would relate to each other , switching back and forth about every 5 minutes….. After only 9 days of intense instruction and LOTS of practice they all managed to complete a pretty accomplished drawing! Some of the students had never had a drawing course before so I’m pretty proud of them!

The afternoon class was called Art Structure and it is specifically for NON-ART majors. Again, everyday , a new set of skills and information: drawing, color theory, design, painting, abstraction, printmaking, sculpture….. total chaos everyday…. CREATIVE CHAOS! And , once again, the work completed was fantastic.

Some of the work is posted here Enjoy!….

Art Quote for the Day

“Remember when you were three or four years old and you would just scribble or smear paint around for the fun of it?  At this time in your life, you were totally absorbed in the creative process, and you never gave a thought to what your paintings looked like or what it was that you were tyring to say or express.  As we move along in life, we tend to lose this sense of play and spontaneity that we had so naturally as young children.  Here’s a story that illustrates this point.  An art teacher arrives at a friend’s house for dinner and is introduced to his host’s kindergartener.  The little  girl asks the guest, “what do you do?”  He replies, ” I teach art students to paint and draw.”  Looking confused , the little girl says , “Why? Did they forget?”  Indeed, sometimes we do forget that we were born with powerful instincts to create and that those instincts can get trampled along the way by all the adult responsibilities and baggage that come with age and experience.

In this chapter, I am asking you to revisit those basic creative passions that were so strong in your childhood by sticking your fingers in paint and playing for the pure pleasure of the process.  If you  can suspend your inhibitions about acting like a kid for a  few hours, the exercises in this chapter will help you find the roots of your creative intuition and inspire a renewed sense of excitement and adventure in your art-making.  Exercises listed are:  ACTION PAINTING, PAINTING WITH STRAWS, PAINTING WITH COMMON OBJECTS,PAINTING TO MUSIC-BLINDFOLDED, AUTOMATIC DRAWING, 30 SKETCHES IN 30 MINUTES, OBSERVE AND DRAW SHADOWS, CREATE ART GAMES, SPEAK IN MARKS, SHAPES AND COLORS,DRAW A CONCEALED OBJECT USING ONLY YOUR SENSE OF TOUCH…”

Art From Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art – More Than 60 Drawing & Painting Exercises by Dean Nimmer

Art Quote for the Day

ORIGINALITY AND STYLE

Now we should consider the difficult question of how to be original.  You’ve doubtless been told there is nothing that hasn’t been done already – or as Herman Melville, recalling Ecclesiastes, wrote in Moby Dick, ” Verily  there is nothing new under the sun.”  Fortunately, there’s an unpretentious but strong idea that runs counter to this bleak pronouncement.  It was put most succinctly by a jazz musician who said, “The way to be new is to be yourself.”  Georgia O’Keefe added, “….. the simple fact of yourself – there it is-just you-no excitement about it – a very simple fact – the only thing you have- keep it as clear as you can.” From a very different world we hear a similar refrain.  In a Toltec codex, we read” ” The true artist….. maintains dialogue with his heart, meets things with his mind”

You’re probably asking, “What does that mean?”  Think about what ideas, experiences, and passions have influenced you most profoundly.  Do you find your eyes and your attention returning to certain things again and again?  Perhaps there are some aspects of the world you are peculiarly sensitive to?  The responses to these types of considerations may appear to be alternately of immense import and seemingly trivial.  Somewhere among the answers lie the road markers for findng your own expression.  You may very well not know for a long time which of these answers are the most significant;however, you can be certain they all point in the right direction.

The Blank Canvas – Inviting the Muse by Anna Held Audette

Art Quote of the Day

NOTES 1990

12 SEPTEMBER 1990. Accept that I can plan nothing.

” Any thoughts on my part about the ‘construction’ of a picture are false, and if the execution works, this is only because I partly destroy it, or because it works in spite orf everything – by not detracting and by not looking the way I planned.

I often find this intolerable and even impossible to accept, because, as a thinking, planning human being, it humiliates me to find out that I am so powerless. It casts doubt on my competence and constructive ability.  My only consolation is to tell myself that I did actually make  the pictures – even though they are a law unto  themselves, even though they treat me any way they  like and somehow just take shape.  Because it’s still up to me to determine the point at which they are finished ( picture-making consists of a multitude of Yes/No decisions, with a Yes to end it all).  If I look at it that way, the whole thing starts to seem quite natural again – or rather Nature – like, alive – and the same thing applies to the comparison on the social level. ”

Gerhard  Richter – The Daily Practice of Painting

Art Quote of the Day

“Every intrepid traveler knows that each journey, no matter what its length or degree of difficulty, begins with a single step.  How one take that initial step and in what direction determines much of what will follow. As the order of the journey unfolds, we need to design the sequence of our encounters while being mindful of several characteristics of journeys that seek not simple the new, but the transformative.

The invitation to take the first steps should be presented in such a way that everyone can take that step; in other words, it should present the lowest threshold to participation.  If we feel in any way inadequate in these initial engagements, our sense of inadequacy is likely to permeate reactions to all subsequent activities. The initial engagement should therefore require the least amount of specialized information about art or any external subject matter.  For instance, the following would seem a poor initial question: “If you could be any artist during the Italian Renaissance, who would you be and what would you paint?”  A thoughtful introspective, question, but one that presupposes detailed information about time, place, circumstance, style and biographical information.  NO affect is required; it is all  conscious and deliberate work.  There is nothing personal to wrestle with and overcome.  Furthermore, response to the question requires  a degree of visual literacy and memory that not many people possess.  A better phrasing might be: ” If you could transport yourself to any time and any place, where would you go, when would you arrive, and what would you see?”  Here, the response can go to any time and any place and the only place they can go is where they CAN go; the place is of their choice and making , not the questioner’s .  They can image whatever they are capable of imaging, not something esoteric and difficult as is the task of imaging someone else’s style of seeing image- making.

The first steps (to  making art) ought to be technically easy for the same reasons.  Technique is always one of the great fears of any apprentice. The greater the fear, the greater the preoccupation with technical things.  This in turn leads to  timidity about the scope of imagination, narrowness of range of expression, and a concern for safety rather than depth.

The initial portions of the creative journey have as their prime purpose the establishment of a sense of trust and comfort in oneself, one’s peers , and the general kind of terrain to be explored.Once this foundation is developed, we can move on to the subsequent phase of the transformative journey, a gradual expansion of the invitation to fathom the whole depth and range of our thoughts and feelings concerning the place in the world we would have for ourselves.”

No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London

Art Quote of the Day

“Your role in [ creating art] , if not easy, is at least clear: learn the things you need to learn in order to do the work you need to do. To learn and grow, artists  need to be able to take comfort in their own small steps, especially at the beginning.  Almost all progress comes in small steps, not wildly improbable leaps.  If you need to paint a hundred paintings before you’re satisfied with one, then your job is to paint the hundredth painting. Truth is, caring about the work you do is the single best indicator  that others will also care about it.”

Ted Orland – The View from the Studio Door

Art Quote of the Day

” Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.”
Brancusi-

One week down,one to go. What’s that you say? One week done , of teaching the Winterim session at Edgewood, where students get an entire semester’s amount of work and credit.It’s an intense experience, 3 hours a day for each class ( I’m teaching 2 classes) for the students and for me as well. I chose today’s quote because  as an artist I know what Brancusi is talking about but , HEY, as an art TEACHER he has hit the nail on the head! I create the environment for them to make art, I “command” them to try their best, and seriously folks, teaching 6 hours of art everyday is working like a slave!! Teachers out there , are you with me??

This past week started out with me standing in for the model for Figure Drawing class. He hadn’t arrived yet so I got up on the platform and started explaining the measuring tools used by artists to map out the human figure. At some point I got down off the platform to check on people’s understanding. Thinking I would LEAP back up onto the platform gracefully , I miscalculated and fell flat on my face , IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY!! NICE! Great way to make a first impression. I have big black and blue marks on my legs marking the exact spots of impact….

The rest of the week went by in a blur of activity. The students get so much accomplished with so much time to work every day.They work ,”like slaves” and I’ve seen  the frustration, the tears ( oh yes), the excitement when it starts to come together, the relief when I tell them to not worry about the GRADE but make a big mess instead. I’ve heard all the excuses, ” I have control issues,” ” I was never good at using charcoal”, ”I CAN’T DRAW !!!!”  And have given them all the same ‘feedback’ , (command) ” Just keep trying”

If all goes like it has in the past , the second week will be more of the same; different projects, more frustration, more successes  and by the time it’s all over , most of the students are amazed at what they’ve accomplished in 2 short weeks! They’ve created art, gained some insight into what it takes to BE an artist , and gained confidence in their abilities to continue making art in the future.  It’s an amazing thing to see!