What Causes a Creative Hot Streak?
Feature Artist: Georges Rousse
What Causes a Creative Hot Streak? A New Study Found That It Often Involves These Two Habits.
Is there a magic formula that can lead an artist to a “hot steak” of creativity? There just might be, says a new study from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
When it comes to creative careers, success can be hard to achieve and even harder to define. But what if there were a magic formula that could increase your odds of a creative breakthrough?
A new study suggests that this magic formula may well exist. The secret to creativity lies in hitting “hot streaks,” or bursts of repeated successes, like Jackson Pollock’s “drip paintings” begun in the late 1940s, or Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the early 2000s. Published in Nature, the study explores exactly what people do before and during a hot streak.
Using artificial intelligence to comb through rich datasets related to artists, film directors, and scientists, the researchers identified a pattern that is present across all three fields. The study author believes it could apply to designers, too.
The secret involves experimenting with a wide range of subjects, styles, and techniques before perfecting a specific area of one’s craft—what the authors describe as a mix of exploration and exploitation.
“Although exploration is considered a risk because it might not lead anywhere, it increases the likelihood of stumbling upon a great idea,” the study’s lead author, Dashun Wang, said in a statement. “By contrast, exploitation is typically viewed as a conservative strategy. If you exploit the same type of work over and over for a long period of time, it might stifle creativity.
But, interestingly, exploration followed by exploitation appears to show consistent associations with the onset of hot streaks.”
Wang’s findings, published in the journal Nature, sought to identify periods of intense creativity in the work of visual artists, as well as film directors and scientists. The team used image recognition algorithms to analyze data from 800,000 artworks from 2,128 artists, including Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, and Vincent van Gogh. The rest of the study was based on Internet Movie Database (IMDb) data sets for 4,337 directors, and publications and citations on the Web of Science and Google Scholar for 20,040 scientists.
Creative trajectories and hot-streak dynamics: three exemplary careers. Data analyzing the work of Jackson Pollock, Peter Jackson, and John Fenn.
The paper identified patterns in the creators’ work over time—changes in brushstrokes, plot points or casting decisions, or research topics. It noted the diversity both in the period leading up to a hot streak, which typically lasts about five years, and at other times in the subject’s career.
In all three fields, the trend tended toward a more diverse body of work in the period before a hot streak than at other points in time. Then, during the hot streak, the creators tended to continue to work in the same vein, suggesting “that individuals become substantially more focused on what they work on, reflecting an exploitation strategy during hot streak.”
On Creativity and Play
Feature Artist of the week - Mark Rothko
David Zhang of Guangzhou University recently led a group high into the Tibetan Tableau of Southwestern China, an area known as “the roof of the world” for its elevation 4,000 meters above sea level. There, they found a piece of limestone that had fossilized a playful composition of hand and foot impressions. The pattern was “deliberate” and “creative,” according to a paper that Zhang and fellow researchers published in the journal Science Bulletin in 2021, and the piece “highlights the central role” that artistic exploration and play has held for our species. Uranium series dating determined that this artwork could be 226,000 years old. With our hands and our feet as our first artistic tools, we’ve been leaving behind our imaginative impressions since Earth’s last ice age.
Play is a key component of the arts and aesthetics in myriad ways. Art and play are like two sides of the same coin, with play being a part of artistic expression, imagination, creativity, and curiosity. Though it often gets buried in adulthood, the urge to play exists in all of us. It has been a major part of how we’ve evolved as a species. As Plato famously said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
Sir Ken Robinson Quotes & Marco Reichert - Feature Artist of the Week
Berlin-based Marco Reichert is an emerging abstract painter who is challenging our ideas of what contemporary art is by using traditional painting techniques in conjunction with experimental “painting machines” to create multi-layered artworks. On the one hand, there is a classical pictorial methodology linked to materials and painting in the way we traditionally think of. On the other hand, there is an overtly technical-digital component through the construction of homemade machines as “robot designers” made by the artist himself. Reichert’s work is reflective of today’s society, a society that is increasingly dominated by computers and technology. We may like it or not, but technology’s influence on our everyday lives is undeniable.
SIR KEN ROBINSON.
Was a British author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was director of the Arts in Schools Project and Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick, and Professor Emeritus after leaving the university.
“We are all born with extraordinary powers of imagination, intelligence, feeling, intuition, spirituality, and of physical and sensory awareness.
― Ken Robinson,
“If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original.”
― Ken Robinson,
“Human resources are like natural resources; they're often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they're not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.”
― Ken Robinson
By Judy: This is precisely applicable to visual art.
“For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail - it’s just the opposite - we aim too low and succeed.”
― Ken Robinson,
“Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it's the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.”
― Sir Ken Robinson
“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”
― Ken Robinson
“Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”
― Sir Ken Robinson
It’s about discovering your self, and you can't do this if you're trapped in a compulsion to conform. You can't be yourself in a swarm.”
― Ken Robinson,
“Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent not a singular conception of ability”
― Sir Ken Robinson
By Judy: That talent is precious and to discover this is not easy because there are no roadmaps. You have to search for this yourself. Anyone who shows or says “ follow me” is a disservice to you.
“The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you’re present in the current moment; when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing; when you are fully alive.”
― Ken Robinson
“To be creative you actually have to do something.”
― Ken Robinson,
“We stigmatize mistakes ( in art ). And running a systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make - and the result is that we are educating students out of their creative capacities.”
― Ken Robinson
“Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler did not solve an old problem, they asked a new question, and in doing so they changed the whole basis on which the old questions had been framed.”
― Ken Robinson
By Judy: “So ask questions related to our class subject. There are not enough questions asked.
“Young children are wonderfully confident in their own imaginations ... Most of us lose this confidence as we grow up”
― Ken Robinson,
“Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play. This turns possible underachievers into happy warriors.”
― Ken Robinson,
Overcoming Creative Anxiety
Talk - Zorana Ivcevic Pringle Ph.D.
Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
This article has been edited for Intuitive Abstract Art Class Students.
Overcoming Creativity Anxiety
Understanding the nature of creativity can help one avoid misinterpreting its challenges as lack of skill.
What is most difficult about creativity is committing to original ideas and developing them through a non-linear process.
Creativity requires a willingness to tolerate a level of risk and a variety of emotions.
Creativity is not commonly found on the lists of self-care activities. Yet, evidence is accumulating about creativity helping us come up with more effective emotion regulation strategies, enlivening our relationships, improving moods, and enhancing our sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Creativity can be anxiety provoking. It requires us to face a blank canvas. Because creativity means doing something that has not been done before, there are no roadmaps. And we never know how will others react to our ideas or creations.
These are very real challenges. The good news is that there are two kinds of lessons that can help. To overcome creative anxiety, we first need to understand how creativity works. Because if we rely on (common) misconceptions about creativity, we might misinterpret some aspects of the creative process, get more anxious, and eventually discouraged. And second, we need to have strategies—things we can do to think more creatively, manage inevitable obstacles and challenges, and finally transform ideas into reality.
Creativity can be little and big. And different kinds of creativity are important in different ways.
When asked for examples of creative individuals, people readily think of geniuses, such as Nikola Tesla, Toni Morrison, or Antoni Gaudi. These individuals are examples of what creativity scholars often call Big-C creativity. Their creative achievements have profoundly and enduringly influenced or changed culture or the world at large. It is understandable that these individuals come to mind first—their creativity is obvious and we have heard much about them. But if we think that creativity is only or even primarily in the domain of genius, it is easy to get anxious and dispirited about it.
Luckily, there is much more to creativity than Big-C. Creativity happens in mini ways in the learning process, such as when making a connection between new concepts and personal experience or when a child independently discovers a new learning strategy. This creativity enriches and improves our learning. Creativity also exists in our everyday activities and interactions. We can think of an original way to cheer a friend who is going through difficult times.
Our culture sends us messages that creativity is an innate ability and that we either have it or do not. These messages are often implicit. That is, we are not directly taught that we have a fixed amount of creativity, but we get this message indirectly. We are not taught creative thinking or strategies for developing creative ideas at school.
Anyone who ever took part in a brainstorming session understands that people are good at generating ideas. Indeed, a survey of organizational leaders shows that they believe that people have no trouble generating ideas; it is bringing those ideas to life that is a problem.
What is most difficult about creativity is committing to original ideas with the potential to be effective and developing them through a process that is not linear and is full of challenges.
It's not just you; creativity is a rollercoaster of emotions.
Just as creativity requires a willingness to tolerate a certain level of risk, it requires a willingness to tolerate a variety of emotions, from anxiety in front of an open-ended task to frustration at obstacles to disappointment or even angerat challenging feedback to the joy of accomplishment. And it is understandable that we might want to avoid unpleasant feelings.
Experiencing difficult emotions can make us doubt ourselves, feel discouraged, and want to give up. It is easy to think that the difficulties are diagnostic of our lack of skills. But unpleasant feelings are not unique to this experience. Many artists describe emotions in their creative process from pleasure to melancholia or even desperation. When you know that difficult feelings are to be expected, it becomes easier to remind ourselves that they are temporary once we experience them. This, in turn, can help us wade through them.
Creativity is related to both vulnerabilities and strengths.
In addition to higher psychological vulnerabilities, creative individuals also have strengths which can help them deal with challenges. For example, creative individuals have a sense of personal agency—the ability to contribute to achieving their goals—and they can think of different ways to get to their goals. They also have attributes of psychological well-being, such as a sense that they have grown and developed as a person over time and a sense of direction and purpose in life, as well as attributes of resiliency (i.e., getting over and recovering from difficulties).
Psychologists have repeatedly shown that how we think about something greatly influences our actions. This general lesson applies to creativity, too. If we think creativity is innate, any difficulty or obstacle can seem to confirm our doubts and anxieties. Knowing that creativity can be self learned can make us more likely to try. And in those times when we have doubts about whether we want to be creative, we can remind ourselves of the potential benefits it can bring to our well-being.
“Be a good steward of your gifts,” the poet Jane Kenyon urged. Our gifts come unbidden — that is what makes them gifts — but with them also comes a certain responsibility, a duty to live up to and live into our creative potential as human beings. “Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.” That durational willingness to work at our gifts, to steward them with disciplined devotion, is our fundamental responsibility to them — our fundamental responsibility to ourselves.
Creativity is much more than a skill. It speaks to our natural magic: being able to make something out of nothing. Creativity is also how we express our individuality and make neat things happen in the world.
Apr 19 Barnett Newman
April 12 Etel Adnan
There has been a slight change in text to focus on the visual art.
According to Forbes article by Ashley Stahl.
Abstract Art by Instinct embraces a different dimension. Which is sometimes a challenge for the artist and viewer.
Turns out, tapping in to that creative energy can actually improve your overall health. It might sound too good to be true, but simply engaging in creative behaviors (even just coloring in those trendy adult coloring books) improves brain function, mental health, and physical health.
The theory of cognition postulates that being creative is actually a basis for human life. Basically, being creative is pretty important!
So how can playing music or doodling make you healthy? There are a few different ways. Let’s look at the various health benefits to creativity, and break it down from there.
Increases happiness. You’ve probably heard of flow — it’s the state you get in when you’re completely absorbed in something. Have you ever been working on a project and completely lost all sense of self and time? That’s flow. It reduces anxiety, boosts your mood, and even slows your heart rate.
It’s not just being in flow that helps your happiness. Repetitive creative motions like knitting, drawing, or writing help activate flow, and are all tasks that create a result. And when you succeed at creating a result, no matter what it is, your brain is flooded with dopamine, that feel-good chemical that actually helps motivate you.
Reduces dementia. Creativity goes beyond just making you happy… It’s also an effective treatment for patients with dementia. Studies show that creative engagement not only reduces depression and isolation, but can also help people with dementia tap back in to their personalities and sharpen their senses.
Improves mental health. The average person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day. A creative act such as painting can help focus the mind, and has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body.
Creativity reduces anxiety, depression, and stress… And it can also help you process trauma. Studies have found that painting or drawing helps people express trauma or experiences that they find too difficult to put in to words.
Boosts your immune system. It’s time to start taking creativivity seriously. Studies show people who create about their experiences daily actually have stronger immune system function. Although experts are still unsure how it works, painting increases your CD4+ lymphocyte count, the key to your immune system. Listening to music can also rejuvenate function in your immune system.
Makes you smarter. Visual artists, this one’s for you. Studies show that people who paint or draw have better connectivity between their left and right brains. The left brain is responsible for the motor functions, while the right brain focuses on vision. When the two hemispheres of your brain communicate with each other, your cognitive function improves. It’s pretty amazing that doing the activities that make us feel good (see that dopamine rush) are genuinely good for us. Grab a pencil or brush and start doodling, or coloring. Get your hands dirty. Listen to some music. Whatever you decide to do, it’s time to start getting creative!
Teaching information 1
About Intuitive abstract painting.
To create successful abstract art is the most rewarding and the most challenging of all the visual arts.
My approach to creating abstract art appears random and innocent. To achieve great abstract art is by combing that childhood innocence with the present adult.
It’s about creating art as an awakening to a deeper awareness. The result should captivate the imagination on multiple levels of imagination.
Including LIBERATION ‘JOY’ and CONNECTION that feeds the soul. Creating a painting is also a visual journey of self discovery. Essential to each of us.
This awareness has the potential to make life brighter and fuller for the artist.
Optional use of found objects which can be added.
This liberating approach is for everyone who has the courage to explore their personal creative journey.
Be the student of your creative growth.
I begin an abstract painting with an approach of knowing nothing. It is only towards a 90% completion of a painting that my past accumulated knowledge will help, assist or destroy my painting. When destroying a painting or painting over THAT’S WHEN YOU LEARN.
Tips for working with Abstract Art.
How to start - put creativity at the heart of action.
I don’t pretend to know what I don’t know.
But present awareness internally and externally will manifest itself in the balance between life experiences, nature and humanity.
My First Blog
As a lifelong artist, first commercially, which paid the bills, I was always under the direction of employers and client’s expectations. Creatively I felt more like a robot. My seven years of formal education in art, followed by over 20 years of commercial work for national and international clients served me well. This eventually lead to a job as Art Director. A job that did not fit me at all. Through a major life change and event, I questioned my contributing value of what I was creating.
I have no trouble painting and drawing figures, landscapes and anything representational that comes from nature. But it wasn’t enough.
There was always an emptiness and a searching.
Falling into abstract paintings was not intentional, it just happened.
But I discovered that I became alive creatively.
The only way that I can explain this is when I work in the abstract it is the hardest and most rewarding of all the visual arts. I feel as if my brain is on fire and it feels good even though there are many pitfalls while I work. But it makes life worth living. I’m not quite sure how to express the benefits of working in abstraction but boundaries are gone and new discoveries are available to me and to everyone willing to take risks though visual expression. The proof is seeing these rewards in students I teach. The benefits of abstractions is far beyond creating a representational painting.
Seeking more difficult challenges has become vital and forces me to find better solutions with each new painting.