By Paige Fallon
I can’t say I have never viewed myself as ‘creative’ because at onepoint in time I was, but as I have grown older I have lost the passion forcreativity; lost it between everything else going on in my ‘grown-up’ life. Inever really paid attention to the fact that I had lost it either, which is myfault, slightly. I say slightly because there were so many people andinfluencers and leaders that could have helped me remember, but amajority of them just plagued me with busy work. Busy work that took myattention and my time away from being creative - or from at least allowingme to remember “Oh, it's time to be creative!”.I’ve always loved to draw and would, and still, constantly doodle innotebooks during classes but I never do anything with it - I never expandupon it. So, when I went to Florence, Italy this past spring semester, Idecided why not expand upon it? Why not expand upon it in a countryenriched by and full of famous works of art and passion? I ended up takingan introduction to painting class. I have always loved to paint, I’ve neverbeen good at it, but I’ve always loved it, so why not get good at it?. Well, letme preface this by saying, it’s not that easy to just “get good at”. However, Idove right in.The thing, or the person I should say, that pushed me beyond mycomfort zone and really opened my eyes to what it means to have creativity
flourishing in one's life, was my professor. She is the type of professor thatinsists you call them by their first name, the type that has decoratedspeaking signs you hold up when you wish to speak - for college students Imight add - and one that encouraged you to think outside of the box and notto hesitate. “When you hesitate you diminish your opportunity to becreative” she would say. She pushed us to become five year olds again. Forour first assignment we were to learn brush strokes by using differentbrushes to just throw paint all over the canvas. The catch, she said that if itlooked purposeful we would lose points. This was so beyond my comfortzone. I like organization and fluidity and matching colors, but her? No. andshe certainly did not encourage it either.I have always known what mind maps are and the process of beingfluid with the thoughts I am putting to paper. They were what my middleschool teachers forced me to use in order to write stories or solve problems,but I had never valued them. I always thought I could just do with whatcame to my mind - a sort of mind map in my head. This art class taught methe opposite of that and Dr. Habib has expanded on my opposition to thatidea. The class taught me to value the ideas I put to paper because the moreyou expand upon them the greater your results and solutions are bound tobe. I learned to yearn for fluidity in my creative process and desire my needto just write down a bunch of words that could turn into somethingbeautiful.
My art professor in Florence, alongside the art, assigned journalsketches. We were required to complete two a week that were in responseto prompts the professor posted - vague prompts; prompts that let ourcreativity flow and do whatever inspired us. One of my favorite prompts wasone where we just wrote the first words that came into our heads for sixminutes. It embellished the idea fluency, and as defined by TeachersFirstfluency is important because it is “the first step to problem solving orgenerating anything creative is having as many ideas as possible to choosefrom. Fluency loosens up the creative wheels” (TeachersFirst, Dimensionsof Creativity: Fluency). This idea and concept was new to me, but it seemedlike a challenge I would like, and it was. I was able to analyze all theserandom words that came to me. I watched how the ones that came after theone before it bounced off of each other. How messy my everyday thoughtswere and how I don’t take enough time to really look into what's on mymind. The cool part about this assignment was that it actually led to theinspiration and creation of my final painting assignment.By the time the final painting assignment came around, I found myselfutilizing all of the creative things we had been both consciously andsubconsciously learning throughout the semester. I found myself looking atrandom things and wanting to draw them or jot them down. I found myselfmore able to let my paintbrush go where it wanted to and not where Iwanted it to - something that took me pretty much all semester to get down.It’s crazy how different I thought I saw the thing I was painting - or wanted
to see it - compared to how I was actually seeing it. I had to let walls andbarriers down that I had been building up for pretty much the last decade.This class really allowed me to open my eyes to not only the idea of beingcreative, but the power of being creative in everyday life, not just whenassigned to be.
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