Creativity Cross Training
12 Moves to Up Your Art
Part 1 of 3
Your creativity is like a muscle. To increase its strength, you must use it. Just how cross-training improves your fitness workout, cross-training your creativity will make you more agile, limber and strong, and your imagination will improve.
1. Making art activates the whole brain and awakens your senses
Observing art activates mirror neurons and increases well-being. Making art pumps it up. You just need to smear some paint, doodle or play with some clay. It will activate your child-like joy. When you are in this state of wonder, anything is possible. The key that unlocks the door is to play without judgement.
Dig into the past to discover your future. Select an artist from history that you love, or even find a new artist to explore. One of my earliest influences was Cezanne and later Kandinsky. I identified with Kandinsky because of his combinations of spirituality, music and art. When I listen to music, I see colors and sense movements. I could move into a meditative state, as powerful as when I was creating in the flow or transformed by the beauty of nature. View art, listen to music, dance or sing to activate the mirror neurons and pump yourself up with some feel good dopamine.
2. Do Your Warm-Up Stretches
Stretch your imagination. What can ordinary objects be used for? Bizarre ideas are perfect. Embrace the natural curiosity of a child, play like a child and be filled with wonder at your discoveries. Look at the world upside down. Stand on your head, or as I must do now, lay on the bed, let your head hang off the side and see the world from a new perspective.
Your imagination needs freedom to expand. Put away electronics, books and just lay back and let your mind roam. Your mind will jump all over, like a monkey, but this isn’t about taming the thoughts, it is just observation. The more often you do this the quicker your imagination will be activated. As you progress, you may choose a word or a scenario to let your imagination play with. For example, imagine that you have wings. What kind of wings would you have? What would they be made of what size would they be, what color, and what would you be able to do with your newfound wings? Let your imagination take flight.
3. Art Heals
Dream and you will improve your art-whether it is visual, music, dance, writing or inventing. Art is created when you move beyond your fears and doubts. Creating is not for the timid; it takes courage. When you are afraid, but you do it anyway, that is real courage.
Allow yourself enough time to sleep. Set a schedule, keep electronics out of the bedroom, keep your room dark. These are all known to benefit sleep. Keep a notebook next to your bed and upon opening your eyes, write down dreams you had. Even bits, fleeting feelings or sensations should be documented. When you return to this later it will act as a cue to activate more sensations. Dreams from both night and day are a stress releasing device that your brain uses. Less stress leads to enhanced imagination.
4. Try a Different Medium to Improve Your Creativity
Creative Cross training boosts your muscles just like physical cross training does. When you use the same muscles in the same manner, they become bored. If you are moving through your exercise routine mindlessly, then it’s time to shake it up. This will activate new pathways in your muscles. It is the same with your creativity. If you want to up your creative thinking, then it is time to vary your routine.
Cross-train by trying a different medium. If you are a musician try painting or drawing to a live musical performance. If you are a painter try dancing. A writer can sculpt in clay to express the emotions they wish to convey, an actor may write poetry, try designing clothes, quilting, cooking, singing or flower arranging.
As you explore new modes of expression notice how it increases your interest in your usual medium. Pay attention to new sparks of inspiration and apply them to whatever project you are creating.