In the final post in this series on creativity I'm going to do something I have been waiting almost two months to do: show off some of my wife's abstract art photographs. She had a display at our church last weekend and asked that I not use anything of hers until that was finished.
I am using her photos not just to promote her work, though that is a side benefit. What she has done with creativity fits with the theme of this series: look around you, see something common, and think of a way to make it different.
Betty took several pictures of water falling from our two backyard fountains. She used a simple point and shoot camera, on automatic setting. The original photos were taken at different times of the day to get different light hitting the water. She did use the closeup setting to keep things in focus. So far, nothing different from what anyone does.
Then came the creativity. She took several of the pictures she was most happy with and uploaded them into Corel Photo Shop. For those familiar with digital editing programs, this is one of the more versatile programs which works quite well on a standard home computer with an off-the-shelf printer. She began to warp and re-shape the pictures. She altered the colors and saturations. She adjusted contrasts, brightness, sharpness, and focus. By the time she was done, the photo of water falling from a fountain had become something completely different. She had taken an everyday picture and made it into an expression of her creativity.
Here are some samples (including the one at the top of this post):
I'll admit I am biased, but I am just fascinated by the ability to do what she has done with these photos. One of my goals for 2011 is to help her market her photos. What do you think? Is she on to something that people would want?
Creativity is really about the doing, not the end result, though in Betty's case I'm quite impressed with the end product! Not all of us have her eye. But, that shouldn't matter. Even if something you write, or photograph, or paint, or sculpt out of peanut butter is never seen by another human being, that is not important. The simple act of creating enriches you, broadens you, and gives you pleasure.
Where to get ideas? Go to a museum you have never visited. Maybe you are convinced you wouldn't like it, and you may be right. But, if you approach it with the desire to take something you see and twist it, or change it, or see it in a different way, your visit might be an unqualified success. I go to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) occasionally. I am not a fan of most of contemporary art. But, each visit does inspire. It may be a new sensitivity to light and shadow. It might be deciding a certain wooden bowl has a shape I like. I'm still not a fan of the actual art. But, I am an admirer of uniqueness.
How long has it been since you have visited a craft store. I'm not a crafty person, but I really enjoy walking up and down the aisles. I am impressed by the display of ways other people can turn bits and pieces of stuff into something pretty or useful. I am stimulated by all the colors and shapes and textures. I can go home from such a trip and see something completely unrelated to the material at the store in a new way and think of how to re-purpose it.
The power of curiosity and creativity to enrich your life is real. Until retirement my idea of creativity was pretty much limited to how to increase my frequent flier miles. Over the last five or six years I have found a reservoir of creative ideas and output I had no idea I possessed. There was no magic. I just allowed myself to explore and fail and explore again. You have the same ability. Actor Alan Alda said it well: You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” Amen. Your satisfying creative retirement awaits.
The first Facebook book giveaway is now underway. As I promised in an earlier post, as I learn more about FB I am giving away copies of the book I am using to help you start your own Facebook page or develop what you already have.
Just drop me an e-mail with Free Book in the subject line to enter.