The Creative Eye

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If you have a dozen people look at the same thing, chances are you’ll get a dozen different descriptions or thoughts on what the object is. And it is with this unique ‘lens’ that everyone ‘sees’ things differently. Without those different perspectives and life filters, we would all have the same view of everything. Talk about boring! If you believe that only artists have a creative eye, I invite you to try out the exercises below. You just might like what your imagination offers up.

At the writing group that I meet with on Tuesday afternoons, we are given usually two prompts, one at a time, with several minutes in which to write something. It is our choice to share or not. I’m amazed at how the same prompt can elicit such a wide variety of responses. Some are written in first person, others are autobiographical in nature, and yet others turn out to be poems or songs. It all depends on what catches our attention, as to how the words come out.

If you paint, lay out some colors (tubes, jars, or some on a palette). Take a moment to think about how the colors could be used. Don’t sketch lines on the canvas or pick up a brush just yet. If a vase with flowers flashes in your mind, fine. Wait and see what else your muse offers up. A puppy? A spring day? A beach? A junkyard? A jail cell? Pick one and get to work (or play). Notice your mood, your main emotion. Has that influenced which topic you chose to paint? Was it a particular phone call, or outing, or expectation that has the colors sifting through your ‘lens’ at the time you picked up the brush and made the first stroke?

A musician or dancer? Before you pick up your instrument or put a CD in the player, close your eyes and tap into which emotion is first in line at that moment. Did you have an argument with a significant other? Not get offered a gig for Saturday night? Miss rehearsal? Pick up flowers for a sick friend? Noticed how the kids played on the swing set in the park? And if five other musicians or dancers followed you around today, I’m betting they would have a different melody floating through their mind, a different beat that moves their body. Nothing wrong with either or all ‘lenses’. Just different.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then creativity is in the eye of the muse (and at the risk of stepping into the esoteric, the ‘I AM’ that moves through everyone and everything, artist or not). The ‘lenses’ that filter and color our moment by moment life are created by our experiences. If my moments are made up of rainbows and smiles and hearts and flowers, then when I see the paint colors or the puppy in the park, or hear a few notes on a guitar, I’ll create that which is a reflection of what I know, meaning rainbows and smiles and hearts, etc. Conversely, if my time has been spent unsupported or without a home or indulging in sensory stimulation (legal or otherwise), then I could look at those same colors, hear those same few notes, and immediately my muse will toss me something that will become touched by my filters. So instead of smiles and hearts, I may paint frowns or an angry fist or a rabid dog in a dirty ally instead of a puppy in a park. Neither is better than the other. Everything that an artist generates is a gift from the muse, an expression of the individual’s creativity.

This doesn’t mean that if my life has been a particular way that my art can’t be something different. There are no rules in creativity. There are many times that as an artist works on a project, that the art is cathartic. By exposing and then releasing something that doesn’t serve the creative person or the endeavor, then the act of creating the project or piece could be viewed as a purging. And that purging can be of the dark ally or of the puppy in the park. As events shape the artist, the filters of perspective change. The creative eye shifts. It all depends on what comes out, on what catches our attention.

I’ve mentioned before that those who delve into their creative urgings ‘see’ things differently. They might pick up on details from the senses, and depending on their thoughts, which senses are paid attention to and which ones are ignored comes into play as well. At the open mic on Saturday, I read my poem (posted on my web site) titled “Absence of Home”, which is a description of a homeless woman who I watched cross the street. Everything that I had paid attention to in those few moments was influenced by my mood and my experiences up to that point in my life. If I observed the same woman cross the same street in the same place today, I’m betting the poem would come out differently. No right or wrong, not better or worse. Just different. My creative eye would have changed the tinted glasses it ‘sees’ through. If you’d like to read the poem for yourself, visit www.myjoyenterprises.com   Leave a comment about your creative eye, such as what catches it? How does it interpret your environment?

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