For many, "creativity" means something like, "an ability to make new things or think of new ideas." Perhaps that statement works as a reasonable and broad definition, but actually making something totally new (a new kind of vehicle like the airplane, or a completely new art form like conceptual art) is very rare. Seems to me that we humans actually remake things constantly--we've made statues and sculptures
|Three Bison, Le Tuc d'Audoubert cave, France ca. 12,000 BC|
Saying that creativity means making "a new thing" is entirely too vague to me--every handmade copy of a Rembrandt, however bad or excellent, is by definition new, for example. So, too every identical copy of a Michelangelo sculpture produced in a 3-D printer is a new thing. And of course creativity isn't actually part of making either item. There is more than newness to creative production, too. You re-purpose old things as new ones. Picasso did that with his sculptures using discarded objects. Creating (to me) is finding new ways to do old things, and for that a person needs a curious mind.
Human curiosity, in the view of many, has fueled our species' remarkable history. The innate human
|Pablo Picasso, "Bull Head," 1942, found items|
Besides making pictures, the work of painters (other artists too) involves questioning and investigating our materials, our methods, even our forms of expression. Part of my studio time involves trying out new materials. Even though my main work is oil paintings, other media continue to intrigue me. New mediums of expression within the broad existing formats of painting and drawing. Over the years, in no particular order, and with varying degrees of success, I've used watercolor, acrylic, pastel, oil, graphite, metalpoint, charcoal, ink, gouache, casein, and computer programs. Here are a few examples.
|"Music," graphite, 2016|
A simple sketch of a friend listening to music. This is about a quarter page of an 11x14 sketchbook. Most of us, me included, learned to draw with graphite before anything else except maybe wax crayons. Over the decades graphite continues to be one of my most preferred mediums, and surprisingly to me, one that I still have much to learn about. Finding out how to make actual finished graphite pictures is a strong goal of my art. For many years rapid sketching has been the sum of my efforts with this medium, but in my maturity I'm hoping for much more.
|"Coneflowers," watercolor, 2016|
This is a watercolor sketch of a clump of purple coneflowers in my back garden. I did this one afternoon last summer, painting on a previously-tone page of a 5x5 watercolor sketchbook. Watercolor sketching outdoors in simple and pretty easy if you use a small book, small set of colors, and a waterbrush. This sort of picture is certainly a simple and satisfying way to record one's days, and something I intend to continue and expand in my practice.
|"Warrior, after daVinci," silverpoint|
The final image is a small silverpoint, 5x8, on gesso panel. It's a detail copy of the well-known silverpoint by daVinci in the British Museum. When I began doing metalpoint drawings, it was simply out of curiosity. Gradually, as I experimented and learned, these small drawings began to be ways to practice patience and care in making line drawings. That discipline, in turn, has translated into more thoughtful application of marks when drawing with almost any medium from charcoal to pixels.
In my opinion, curiosity is what keeps me learning. And it's the pleasure of learning that keeps me making pictures.