Dancing to your own creative tune

Coats church carvings by CrenellatedArts
Coats church carvings, a photo by CrenellatedArts on Flickr.

I have been enjoying playing with lots of different artforms recently, which has made me consider more clearly what my own creative voice actually is.  Talking to friends and colleagues about how they go about “being creative” is rather interesting.  Ideas come to us in so many different ways, and we all document our thoughts slightly differently… our outputs are completely different (be it specialising in mainly visual art, photography, music or writing novels) but we all share a desire to make our ideas come to fruition and to some extent to share our work with others.  I think another common factor is play; we all want to enjoy our creative work (whether it is done purely as a one off piece or for a bigger paid project) and put our heart and soul into it.  Exploring art forms which I am not familiar with has really helped me generate more creative ideas, as has working with others with different backgrounds as it is great for approaching a project in a different way.

I had been reading the book “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron and she suggests that creative people take themselves on an “artists date”, spending time doing only creative things for a certain period of time; personally I have been making time to visit galleries (as in my previous blog post) as this immerses me in the gallery experience, taking in both the work itself but also how it is presented and the additional materials which many exhibitions now put out (I have spent many a happy time exploring the books and publications, or web materials, accompanying my favourite exhibitions).

I love my studio but sometimes taking time away from my usual space also helps me be more creative, it is funny how an hour in a coffee shop can make me think of all sorts of ways of tackling a new piece of work.  Listening to music can help too.. I read with interest a post by Jane Hannah on her blog recently where she talked about how she started her day with music (and made some great drawings).  Sometimes music can really uplift us and also guide us to new places (I liked the recent Sonica festival where technology, visual art and sculpture all combined to make dramatic work in the Tramway arts space).

Do you make your own creative tune?  Do you have a place to “be creative” or does it just happen naturally or when you are least expecting it?


  1. Wolves in London

    I think that’s so true about taking time out and doing something completely different to get creativity going. I always find that, when I’m struggling with something I’m writing, inspiration for what to do next will come to me while I’m doing something completely different, like taking a walk or looking round a gallery.

    I read the Julia Cameron book too, some time ago now, and really enjoyed the “artist’s dates” — though I sometimes felt a little awkward doing them at the time…

  2. Jane Hannah

    Indeed creativity and music are totally linked. Interestingly, I did my thesis on “Music, an Invitation for Creativity” and the study showed that in order to achieve some form of creativity, there has to be the existence of flow. To achieve flow, which stems from some form of optimal experience (either by gardening, playing or listening to music, doing tai chi, anything that the doer really cares about) then creativity can be unleashed. What my study found, was that if music was played, then stress levels went down (for most people) and that the creative flow could begin… there were no more inhibitions to prevent this.

    So all in all, just to say that yes, you are right, music and creativity DO have effects upon each other, and if you like music, then you should be listening to it when you are painting or doing whatever you love to do.

    God! I’m so sorry for ranting, but I truly believe in this and have spent years researching it… so music and painting can equal to creativity 😉

    • crenellatedarts

      How excellent to have been able to study this in such depth, fascinating! I seem to lose all track of time when lost in “flow” as you mention, it is good to be absorbed and full of inspiration. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Evenlodes Friend

    Thanks for this post, its fascinating, and I love the photo, very MR James. I’m about to do The Artist’s Way again, having done it once ten years or so ago. Its a hugely invigorating experience, and I’m looking forward to the new ways I will find myself stretched. Planning some fun artist dates too! I agree about the music, I think music and creativity of all kinds are instrinsically linked because they are non-language, right-brain activities. I am always enormously inspired when I listen to music. (And now I’m going to go away and gorge myself on the rest of your blog!)

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