/ Creativity Challenge

Josh Takes up Art!

For Week 51 of the Creativity Challenge I would like to share a little art project I have been doing the last few weeks. I have not painted since I was a kid, and when I was young I thought I had no talent for visual art. I finally realized, who cares whether I have talent? It's still fun to do. So I got some pastel sticks and canvas papers and started making art versions of some nice landscape photos I have taken. This was a fun one!

My first picture from July 20 of the sunset on my local beach. Quite the amateur effort!

I had a very enjoyable time and learned a lot. One thing I learned is how fun art is, and another thing I learned is how difficult it is! Certainly it's a lot easier to just point a camera and push a button.

Picture #2, a picture of Crestone Needle in Colorado, a gift for Mark Hyams's birthday, who climbed the mountain with me in 2015.

I also made a good deal of improvement in a short time, applying the same principles as I use in the 10 Principles of Music series. The main ideas of that approach I applied here were to pick subject matter I cared about (these beautiful landscapes), working without too much self criticism, and trying to produce quantity and learn as I go.

Picture #3, a shot of my local beach on Lamma Island:

I heard a great story of beginning pottery students from the book Art and Fear about the benefit of this quantity over quality approach to learning.

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one - to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Picture #4, a sunset from Mandrem Beach in Goa and a birthday present for Mark Gelfo who was with me a few years ago when I took the photo.

I found that I have achieved good improvement in the last 19 days! The principle involved is: if we want to learn something new, like an instrument, or art or coaching or writing or making videos or any other creative output, to just start doing it before we feel totally "ready" and just crank out work and learn from the process.

Picture #5 a shot from Pai, Thailand while I was there last week. My hut was just off camera on the left by the road. The brown thing in the middle is actually supposed to be the Pai River!

Picture #6, a beautiful sunset on August 6, 2016 from the ferry Pier on Lamma.

And finally #7 from today, August 8, 2016, yesterday's sunset from the local beach.

Joshua MacCluer

Joshua MacCluer

Joshua MacCluer is a musician, coach, philosopher and explorer committed to the pursuit of excellence, true artistic expression, self and universal discovery and the greater good.

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Josh Takes up Art!
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