Friday, June 18, 2010

The Physics of Creativity

Isaac Newton's first law of motion (loosely translated) :
Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. These words ring true to the creative process.

Last year prior to Halloween, I was in the the midst of a spurt of creative energy. I had more ideas on new pieces than I could keep up with. There were times that I was literally making half a dozen pieces at a time to sell on Etsy, working on large pieces to display in my yard, and still had more ideas than i could possibly deal with. It was a fantastic time to be an artist, and I found myself in the shop working late nights, getting up early, and spending as much time as possible in between working on art sketching ideas and daydreaming new ideas. Ahhh, it was great, I tell you. I was an object in motion, and there didn't seem to be an end in sight.

Enter the outside force. I do not wish to elaborate on what this force was, but a bad experience with a visitor to my Halloween display served as a metaphorical brick wall in the direct path of my creative inertia. Every bit of energy I had built up was gone, it seemed. Just like that, the ride was over. I waited for the creativity to come back and start flowing again. There were times that it seemed it was nearly back, but I just couldn't get the drive to keep it going. I was an object at rest, and I stayed that was for months and months.

Enter yet another outside force. Yet again, I will not elaborate on what set the wheels in motion, but I finally decided to claw and scrape myself up off the couch and start creating again. The Pumpkin Creature was a very difficult piece for me to make. It took every bit of energy and determination to force myself to stay on task until it was complete. The very act of finishing this piece has turned on the creative flow, and I now have half a dozen projects started. I can't wait to get off work so I can work on the little beasties. All day long, I seem to be thinking of details to add, painting techniques to try, and other critters to add to my 'make this' list. Hopefully I can maintain the inertia and there will be no more forces to slow my progress, because I am truly happiest as a human being when I am creating something.


  1. I wonder how much we feed off of each other as artists? I have heard several artists, including myself, say that this past year has been stagnating for them.
    I resemble the 'at rest' creature you speak of, as of late I have done the same thing...again. I will literally walk into the Skullery, touch something I have been working on, stare at it for a bit, sigh and walk back to the computer.

    I too am at my best when creating. I'm happy, full of energy and silly/goofy all in one large dose. Not creating = depressed, lethargic, and not my childlike self.

    I'm going to feed off of your creativeness... but not like some artist creative energy vampire. More like let it be inspiration instead of food.

    Remember this... You friggin Rock!!!

  2. Kimbooly,
    I will gladly be that outside force for you...the nudge in the right direction. I think there is most definitley a tendency for a community of artists to ebb and flow together. I have seen (and felt) many times where one person's excitement or dissapointment is contagious.
    Beware of the depression...bite a claw your way back into that Skullery and kick the depression firmly in the ass.
    Now walk away from the keyboard and go make something! ;-)

  3. Very odd....last year I had a few things that really threatened to melt me down. (Like pack it up and be done with it meltdown.)

    I did not, but it is not to say that they did not do damage, they did, a lot and after the fact I really regretted it and was very, very angry at myself for letting the words of a few people effect me so much. I felt very foolish and small.

    Feeling foolish and small motivated me for a bit...but not enough....this year has been slow also...but things around me are changing so that is good. There is one particular situation in July that I really just want to be over, because no matter how much I tell myself not to let it bother me.... well.... :)

    So seeing where you are gives me lots of hope...thanks for sharing. Now that I am the lucky owner of several of your pieces....yeah I can do rock! Big time!!


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  5. This means that if everyone else is on an up-cycle it's time for me to get my act together and join in!
    I felt very enervated after last season, and a few things brought me down. Even though I did do one project for The Mad Lab I procrastinated far too long on it.
    Now it's time to reach into my idea box (that I keep on my desk and toss index cards with ideas written on them) and see what I can accomplish! Maybe the creative energy will help me finish some of the other things I've been procrastinating on...
    Thank you all, and keep up the inspiring work!

  6. glad you are getting yourself back together..I think that as artists we put so much of ourselves into what we create-the piece is US really-that when someone hits us negatively it hurts tremendously. I'm happy you're creating again.