Vision, by definition, is the act of seeing. It is also the word used to describe something experienced in a trance or dream. The same word describes a force of imagination. As words go, it’s an easy one. As concepts go, it’s pretty hefty. Creativity relies on vision–all kinds of vision. (Okay, maybe not everyone creates from visions through trances or dreams, but many artists do.) Having perfect eyesight isn’t a guarantee of creativity. Even a broad base of knowledge about what you are seeing doesn’t translate into creativity. And you can certainly have all kinds of visions of yourself as an artist without any basis in reality.
So what is it that sets apart a Creative from everyone else? What happens in the brain and mind to turn sensory input into something other/new/different? Is it something you are born with? Or can you train yourself to “see” like a Creative?
While the general populace tends to believe you are either born with a creative bent or you’re not, I disagree. I believe we are all born with the ability to be creative–in some way, to some degree. I believe it’s part of our humanity, our soul. For many, the creative urge has been stifled. Usually, early on and with repetitive attempts to “normalize” behavior.
Often, that creative urge is lying dormant, waiting to be valued and set free. All it takes is a tweak to your vision, a change of perspective. After all, what is creativity but a different way of seeing the world and expressing it?
But even if you recognize that creative part of yourself, you may be frustrated. You may feel woefully inadequate at executing the creative visions you do have. Don’t despair. That’s perfectly normal. But you can’t wallow there. You have to build skills, practice your craft and create, create, create.In the meantime, you can feed your creative self by adjusting your perspective. Our eyes take in much more than we actually “see”. Our brains apply filters so we don’t go crazy from all the information we receive visually. But there are additional filters we can apply to change our focus and fill ourselves with beauty. We don’t have to “see” the imperfections, the unappealing details. We can choose to focus on the things that feed us and inspire us. Once you start to do this, it becomes automatic. You can train yourself to pay less attention to some things and more attention to others. The choice of where your attention, your focus, goes is entirely up to you. Look at this photo:It’s just a bunch of plants waiting to be put in the ground or in pots. They’re not even grouped to look particularly appealing in the interim. But that’s exactly they way they were when I grabbed the two close ups of the marigolds. And this photo:That’s the potato bush waiting to be planted, in exactly the same spot as I got the first two photos in the post. I chose to look at the details and focus on them. Not on the stuff that needs doing in the yard–the weeding, the trimming, the ground cover, etc.
It’s a practical example of what I’m trying to communicate. Vision is not only about the light passing through your eyes and telling your brain what’s in front of you. Vision is as broad or as narrow as you choose. Focus on the things that are beautiful, interesting, different and you’ll soon be drawn to those things wherever you may go. Unexpected textures and colors combinations will show up. Bizarre details will pop out of mundane architecture.
One of the easiest ways to explore beauty and document the things you choose to focus on is to take photos. Those bits of captured inspiration can be turned into all kinds of creative “stuff”. And it’s a good way to train yourself to “see”. In an upcoming post, I’ll tell you about my cameras and how I use them. I’ll share the editing steps I take and talk about how to get eye-catching photos.
So stay tuned!