Updated: Nov 20

Intuition is the beginning of creativity, a seed that needs certain nourishment to bear fruit. If you were a farmer of creativity, you would give intuition creative light and water, warmth and time. Artists are farmers or creativity. So are scientists and poets. Any goal that requires innovation follows a process of creative problem solving that begins with intuition.

In my many years of teaching, I have had literally thousands of conversations about the creative conundrum: what to do after you have the idea. In all my conversations with students of art, their most dominant questions were not about what brush to use or how to mix a green. They most often wanted to know how to manifest an idea to completion. During my 20 years of teaching, I spent a lot of time with the creative process and this blog will focus on creative problem solving as it relates to the visual arts, specifically drawing and painting. Keep in mind your creative pursuits are as individual as you are. Metacognition, thinking about your thinking, helps. Managing creative problem solving increases the odds of taking an idea to completion. But don't be surprised if you find pieces of this process in other innovative pursuits, maybe even science and poetry.

So begins a guide to creativity. I will post on easy to remember dates: day 1 of each month to day 21, following the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21. If this post was a class syllabus it would look like this...

Day 1: Intuition. What is it? Why is it important? Is intuition only the spark at the beginning or does it follow an idea to manifestation? How does it feel when it strikes? What is my experience of intuition? Are the ways to strengthen intuition?

Day 1: Inspiration. Where to find it and why? Visit the Denver Art Museum with me, I will show you examples of creativity from all walks of life and through the ages.

Day 2: Exploration. Got a good idea? Explore how others answer similar questions in a variety of areas of study, industry, concept and the like. Here, I will lead-by-example as I explore the world of landscape painting and still life traditions.

Day 3: Understanding. What foundational knowledge and concepts assist in the specific puirsuit of drawing and painting? Are there rules to visual communication? Get ready for a (comically) low-budget introduction of the Elements of Art & Principles of Design as they relate to the visual communication of mood, meaning and message.

Day 5: Play. How can a playful approach to creative problem solving be effective? What approaches to play are most useful? See how the manipulation of the Elements and Principles can change mood, meaning and message.

Day 8: Approach. This section will categorize and show examples of realism, idealism and stylism. Then move into the imaginative and at last into figurative abstraction and non-objective abstraction. Don't worry if you don't know what any of this means, I will show you what these approaches mean and what they look like.

Day 13: Pivot. Keeping the original intuitive idea in mind, how do you filter the influences of inspiration, areas of explorations, levels of understanding and open-minded play so that purpose becomes more clear? Read between the lines: how to not go crazy!

Day 21: Appreciation. What is creative success?

Of course, I hope this blog will introduce you to my artwork, but I also hope it might introduce you to yours as well! Whether you are a new artist or a confirmed non-artist, I hope time spent here is both informational and entertaining. If you hang in there 8 times a month, each month will add to your ability to navigate creativity: part informational, part anecdotal, part interactive, part lead-by-example. This is just the introduction. (Important disclaimer: I am a painter. I paint pretty much every day. That comes first. So I will post to the best of my ability on the dates of 1,1,2,3,5,8,13 and 21. However, painting, family and friends come first. On the flip side, I will edit previous posts as I find better ways to illustrate or explain.)

Finally, why blog? I find that the metacognition that comes from teaching creativity assists in my own creative journey. Enjoy this blog, sequenced each month - Intuition, Inspiration, Exploration, Understanding, Play, Approach, Pivot, and Appreciation.

Below, find reference photos for Surreal Rocky Mountain Picnic, taken at Rocky Mountain National Park and a TED talk about creativity. The photos were taken at 11,000ft, off of Trail Ridge Road and the TED talk is one I have shared many times with students of art.

Here, in his TED Talk, Sir Ken Robinson shares some valuable insights about creativity.

Intuition participates in the beginning, the middle and the end of the creative process. It is a constant compass and evidence of your individuality. Keep intuition in the loop. It sometimes feels like a light bulb moment, sometimes it feels like the next logical step.

Below are the reference photos for a paintings inspired by a Artist in Residency in the France and a charming and very palpable experience of the creative process by one of my very favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert.

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