When I look at drawings and paintings made by small children, I always get so amazed by the sincerity in these little artworks. In the simplest way children are able to show exactly what they have in their mind. They are the masters of simplification. I admire this ability that seems to be so natural in kids.
If we ask a bunch of kids if they would like to play with clay for a while, I can’t imagine any of them saying no to this offer. My experience is that they’d rather fight for a lump of clay, and once they’ve got it in their hands they’ll start squeezing and work it with great enthusiasm. In general they seem to very much enjoy the process and not worry so much about the result. (And of course they don’t mind at all to get dirty.) They work concentrated with the clay until, suddenly, voilá, finished and perfect. The younger they are the less critical they are to their result. And we, the adults, look at it, and ask: “What is it?”
Did you ever say to your self : “I wish I was a little more creative” or “I don’t have any creativity”? I think many of us have had that thought, and I think it’s a very normal attitude in adults. So what happens to us between that moment of creative joy and this resigned attitude?
When we grow, they teach us to draw what we see, but in a realistic way. We learn that the drawing has to look like the reality with its corresponding perspective, light and shadow. So we kind of forget what was the real reason we wanted to draw in the first place. A child can easily get discouraged by constant correction and criticism. The satisfaction of expressing themselves is getting reduced when they are forced to put more focus on the result. The pressure can get so hard to deal with that the child eventually stop drawing. I believe this is the moment we start to disconnect from our creativity.
So maybe the level of creativity in us adults is about our mindset towards our own creativity. I think it’s easier to reach a creative state of mind if we are not afraid to be judged or to fail. If we can free ourselves from the: “What will the others say about this?” we have come a long way ahead.
I also think that our creativity is something we have to take care of, we have to keep it alive. I’d like to compare it to a houseplant. If it gets water, light and nutrition it will grow healthy, and sometimes even bloom. What does it take to get our creativity to grow? A creative person has the senses open and is always looking for something inspiring. My experience is also that the more I create the more creative I feel. It’s like one idea leads to another, and the ball starts rolling. But I think the most important is to free ourselves from the fear of failing and just let the ball roll.
Here are two examples of children’s drawings, that for me are indeed inspiring! They are highly intuitive but yet so descriptive, showing a great ability for observation and focus.
photo credit: Charlie’s Farm via photopin (license)
photo credit: A Happy Pussy Cat – Drawing via photopin (license)