Following our theme this week, I’m going to share what I’ve recently learned about creativity. I used to think you were either born a creative type or you were not. Such thinking is not based on reality. I had also convinced myself that creativity is some sort of magical spark that can be forever lost. That probably isn’t true either. Seeing creativity in a new light is empowering.
When I was a young woman with children at home, I played the piano nearly every day. I even gave piano lessons to neighborhood children to earn a little extra money. I also thought of myself as a creative soul –I’d taught myself to paint and draw with pastels. I also made some additional money painting windows for businesses during the holidays.
A Lost Spark?
Once I returned to school and then entered fields requiring more analytical skills, I felt as though I’d lost any creative spark that I ever possessed. For nearly 15 years, I barely touched the baby grand piano that my mother once played. While I did spend a little time trying to pick up oil painting and even tried stained glass art for a while, I didn’t persist with these interests; I told myself that I’d rediscover my creative side after I retired. Then I waited for some sort of inspiration to magically strike. It didn’t happen.
Are Some People Naturally Creative?
For several years, I had the privilege of working in an environment with some very creative people. Some of my colleagues were amazing artists, musicians, poets, and novelists. In my mind, each of those people was able to produce such incredible work because of their innate talent and natural creativity. It didn’t take me very long to realize I simply didn’t possess such talent. Now I am learning that I simply did not understand all that was involved when my colleagues created stunning work.
After spending time reading several articles about creativity over the past week, I am starting to see the creative process in a new light. Yes, creative people may think a bit differently and may make connections that the average person does not see. Nonetheless, everyone has creative abilities. However, individuals who create truly beautiful work typically have a great deal of training, experience, and years of disciplined practice. These individuals are generally very devoted to their work.
Is It Possible to Benefit from Making Art Without Being an Artist?
Because I am pulled in other directions, I cannot imagine myself investing the time, expense, or energy devoting myself to any form of art. Yet, the research I’ve looked at reveals that the simple process of making art or music has benefits.
A study by Drexel University involving 39 adults revealed that after just 45 minutes of art-making, 75% of the participants had lower stress levels based on measurements of their cortisol levels. Another study involving 150 people – all older- revealed that participation in an art program resulted in fewer visits to the doctor, and more involvement in overall activities. Other research suggests that art and music can help support a sense of well-being and may keep our minds more flexible.
Creative expression does have value regardless of the outcome. Because I am starting to see the creativity in a new light, I feel freer to simply enjoy the process. I did discover that I could paint along with Bob Ross on YouTube and create something satisfying in less than an hour. I haven’t produced anything I am ready to hang on my wall, but I feel like I’m learning something new and am having fun too. As for my piano, I think I’ll start working on one piece of music at a time. I am in no hurry. I will simply do it because it makes me happy.