Category Archives: Kids

Asimov on creativity

extracts

“A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.”

“Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)”

“My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)”

Isaac Asimov

Source the creativemind.net

 

 

 

 

 

Diary@Large

washi tape inspirational doodle

Her sketchbook drawings have dates incorporated into the art, which makes me wonder if this is a form of journal. Typography in the illustrations is often inspirational or emotional in subject, which suggests something therapeutic for the artist. There’s also a nostalgic aspect which comes from using snips of patterned washi tape to add elements of collage into the sketches. A scrapbook made of sketches instead of photos? You can follow Mall Licudine’s instagram or tumblrto see more.

Source – doodles anonymous

More Doodling!

‘I sat through two 45-minute lectures in high school social studies and not only was I super focused because I was doodling, I could also basically give the lecture afterwards.’
Shelley Paul, Director of learning design at Woodward Academy

Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick

Shelley Paul and Jill Gough had heard that doodling while taking notes could help improve memory and concept retention, but as instructional coaches they were reluctant to bring the idea to teachers without trying it out themselves first.

“It causes you to listen at a different level,” said Jill Gough, director of teaching and learning at Trinity Schools. Doodling has long been seen as a sign that students aren’t paying attention. But it may be time to give doodling an image makeover.

“This is a way to get your working memory to carry more,” Klemm said at a Learning and the Brain conference in San Francisco.

A ninth-grader's doodle of a discussion about Mark Antony's rhetorical strategies in Act 3 of 'Julius Caesar.'(Courtesy of Shelley Paul)

Source

Hallelujah to non-cognitive skills!

So what are these non-cognitive skills?  They are the intangibles – the “it” factors like grit, hope, growth mindset, self-control, resiliency, self-efficacy – that drive greatness, whether it be within students in the classroom, athletes on the field, or employees in an organization.  These are the skills teachers love to see in their students.  These are the skills coaches desire to find in their athletes.  And these are also the skills that employers seek to find within the individuals leading their organizations. In recognizing the power of these non-cognitive skills, major testing companies are now in the process of developing assessments that target these skills. Likewise, institutions of higher education are beginning to move beyond simply looking at ACT and SAT scores and are now placing greater attention on applicants’ non-cognitive skills when determining which students to admit to their universities.  Most recently, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) announced that beginning in 2017, they will also begin measuring non-cognitive skills as part of their assessment of the nation’s students.

Let’s Start Teaching the Skills that Matter Most – fullarticle here

Source the creativity post

About Dr. Brian Davidson
Brian Davidson is the founder and president of the Intrinsic Institute, a research, coaching, and consulting firm discovering and building the best in individuals and organizations. The Intrinsic Institute specializes in the measurement, training, and development of non-cognitive skills, the intangible “it” factors such as self-motivation, grit, and resiliency driving greatness. With a mission to ignite the greatness within, the Intrinsic Institute partners with individuals, educational institutions, and businesses to build the non-cognitive skills that drive exceptional human performance.

 

 

 

Untranslatable illustrations

14 UNTRANSLATABLE WORDS TURNED INTO BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS

1. Cafuné

What could this word mean. It sound a bit -deriving from french – as if that it has something to do with combing hair but it does not seem to mean exactly just that … what then?

“- the act of tenderly running fingers through someone’s hair
Brazilian-Portuguese: For the third time in my life, I’m caught in a daze, I tripped over the heart of a beautiful girl, and stumbled, helpless, straight into her gaze, now nothing else matters, but her beautiful curls. People might tell me that this is a craze, “it’s nothing, you fool, but the honeymoon phase!” But I don’t believe them, no, not for a day, I’ll run my fingers through her hair, and practice “Cafune”.”

See the rest of them here … amazing collection! 🙂

 

 

Sir Ken Robinson – Element (extracts)

All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think. When my son was four, his preschool put on a production of the Nativity story. During the show, there was a wonderful moment when three little boys came onstage as the Three Wise Men, carrying their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I think the second boy lost his nerve a little and went out of sequence. The third boy had to improvise a line he hadn’t learned, or paid much attention to during rehearsals, given that he was only four. The first boy said, “I bring you gold.” The second boy said, “I bring you myrrh.”
The third boy said, “Frank sent this.”

Who’s Frank, you think? The thirteenth apostle? The lost Book of Frank?

What I loved about this was that it illustrated that, when they are very young, kids aren’t particularly worried about being wrong. If they aren’t sure what to do in a particular situation, they’ll just have a go at it and see how things turn out. This is not to suggest that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. Sometimes being wrong is just being wrong. What is true is that if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.

What is catastrophically wrong with this mode of thinking is that it severely underestimates human capacity. We place tremendous significance on standardized tests, we cut funding for what we consider “nonessential” programs, and then we wonder why our children seem unimaginative and uninspired. In these ways, our current education system systematically drains the creativity out of our children.

Most students never get to explore the full range of their abilities and interests. Those students whose minds work differently—and we’re talking about many students here; perhaps even the majority of them—can feel alienated from the whole culture of education. This is exactly why some of the most successful people you’ll ever meet didn’t do well at school. Education is the system that’s supposed to develop our natural abilities and enable us to make our way in the world. Instead, it is stifling the individual talents and abilities of too many students and killing their motivation to learn. There’s a huge irony in the middle of all of this.

This problem of old thinking hardly ends when we leave school. These features of education are replicated in public institutions and corporate organizations, and the cycle goes around and around. As anyone in the corporate world knows, it’s very easy to be “typed” early in your career. When this happens, it becomes exceedingly difficult to make the most of your other—and perhaps truer—talents. If the corporate world sees you as a financial type, you’ll have a difficult time finding employment on the “creative” side of the business. We can fix this by thinking and acting differently ourselves and in our organizations. In fact, it is essential that we do.

Sir Ken Robinson – Element (extracts)

In many ways, though, the education system in the United States is very similar to that in the United Kingdom, and in most other places in the world. Three features stand out in particular.

First, there is the preoccupation with certain sorts of academic ability. I know that academic ability is very important. But school systems tend to be preoccupied with certain sorts of critical analysis and reasoning, particularly with words and numbers. Important as those skills are, there is much more to human intelligence than that. I’ll discuss this at length in the next chapter.

The second feature is the hierarchy of subjects. At the top of the hierarchy are mathematics, science, and language skills. In the middle are the humanities. At the bottom are the arts. In the arts, there is another hierarchy: music and visual arts normally have a higher status than theater and dance. In fact, more and more schools are cutting the arts out of the curriculum altogether. A huge high school might have only one fine arts teacher, and even elementary school children get very little time to simply paint and draw.

The third feature is the growing reliance on particular types of assessment. Children everywhere are under intense pressure to perform at higher and higher levels on a narrow range of standardized tests.

Why are school systems like this? The reasons are cultural and historical. Again, we’ll discuss this at length in a later chapter, and I’ll say what I think we should do to transform education. The point here is that most systems of mass education came into being relatively recently—in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These systems were designed to meet the economic interests of those times—times that were dominated by the Industrial Revolution in Europe and America. Math, science, and language skills were essential for jobs in the industrial economies. The other big influence on education has been the academic culture of universities, which has tended to push aside any sort of activity that involves the heart, the body, the senses, and a good portion of our actual brains.

The result is that school systems everywhere inculcate us with a very narrow view of intelligence and capacity and overvalue particular sorts of talent and ability. In doing so, they neglect others that are just as important, and they disregard the relationships between them in sustaining the vitality of our lives and communities. This stratified, one-size-fits-all approach to education marginalizes all of those who do not take naturally to learning this way.

The current systems also put severe limits on how teachers teach and students learn. Academic ability is very important, but so are other ways of thinking. People who think visually might love a particular topic or subject, but won’t realize it if their teachers only present it in one, nonvisual way. Yet our education systems increasingly encourage teachers to teach students in a uniform fashion. To appreciate the implications of the epiphany stories told here, and indeed to seek out our own, we need to rethink radically our view of intelligence.

These approaches to education are also stifling some of the most important capacities that young people now need to make their way in the increasingly demanding world of the twenty-first century—the powers of creative thinking.

Sir Ken Robinson – Element (extracts)

Some of the most brilliant, creative people I know did not do well at school. Many of them didn’t really discover what they could do—and who they really were—until they’d left school and recovered from their education.

He told me he went through his entire education without anyone noticing that he had any musical talent at all. He even applied to join the choir of Liverpool Cathedral and was turned down. They said he wasn’t a good enough singer. Really? How good was that choir? How good can a choir be? Ironically, the very choir that rejected the young McCartney ultimately staged two of his classical pieces.

McCartney is not alone in having his talents overlooked in school. Apparently, organizers kept Elvis Presley from joining his school’s glee club. They said his voice would ruin their sound. Like the choir at the Liverpool Cathedral, the glee club had standards to uphold. We all know the tremendous heights the glee club scaled once they’d managed to keep Elvis out.

If these were isolated examples, there’d be little point in mentioning them. But they’re not. Many of the people you’ll meet in this book didn’t do well at school or enjoy being there. Of course, at least as many people do well in their schools and love what the education system has to offer. But too many graduate or leave early, unsure of their real talents and equally unsure of what direction to take next. Too many feel that what they’re good at isn’t valued by schools. Too many think they’re not good at anything.

I’ve worked for most of my life in and around education, and I don’t believe that this is the fault of individual teachers. Obviously, some should be doing something else, and as far away from young minds as possible. But there are plenty of good teachers and many brilliant ones.

Most of us can look back to particular teachers who inspired us and changed our lives. These teachers excelled and reached us, but they did this in spite of the basic culture and mindset of public education. There are significant problems with that culture, and I don’t see nearly enough improvements. In many systems, the problems are getting worse. This is true just about everywhere.

Julia Cameron the Artist’s Way

Welcome to Julia Cameron Live from Julia Cameron on Vimeo.

Using our creativity is our gift to god.

The Artist’s Way movement began more than two decades ago as author Julia Cameron shared her ideas with a few friends in her living room. Today, The Artist’s Way has helped millions of people around the world discover–and recover– their creativity.

Whether you are brand-new to The Artist’s Way or have a bookshelf filled with years of Morning Pages journals, whether you are working on a large artistic project or simply wishing to experience more creativity in your life, welcome to Julia Cameron Live: the online home of Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way.

Source

Invention @ Large!

Richard Turere: My invention that made peace with lions

In the Maasai community where Richard Turere lives with his family, cattle are all-important. But lion attacks were growing more frequent. In this short, inspiring talk, the young inventor shares the solar-powered solution he designed to safely scare the lions away.

Richard Turere is a young Maasai man who lives in the wilderness of the Kenya savanna, on the edge of a national park full of rhino, giraffe, buffalo and lions. Since he was 9, Richard has held the honored chore of tending his father’s cattle; in his free time, he tinkered with electrical gadgets. After dismantling the few household appliances, Richard taught himself how to fix them, and then he started inventing. He fit his parents’ home with fans made from car parts and other junkyard components harvested from junkyards, then built other inventions for his neighbors.

A Creative Soul

“For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.” ~ Jean Dubuffet

Here are 26 signs of an artistic, creative soul:

1. We don’t wait for inspiration—we are the inspiration.

2. We might still have a day job, but that doesn’t hinder creative—or productivity.

3. We believe in ourselves, even when it feels like the world does not.

4. We are tenacious—and not only because we know that an artistic temperament is dogmatic, but because we have no choice but to keep on creating.

5. While we believe in ourselves, we also believe in the talent of others—we drink in the art and work of our peers and we learn from it whenever possible.

6. We know that our early work is definitely different from our emerging, more sculpted talent—and we can’t wait to forever witness our own growth continually take shape.

7. We take breaks from producing in order to live, but we never take breaks from being creative; finding fodder in life too.

8. We never work tomorrow when we can work today.

9. We appreciate other art forms.

10. Creative souls come in a variety of colors and styles, but one thing that regularly matches is our passion, our drive and our willingness to be different.

11. We think “weird” is a compliment.

12. We don’t follow the rules of tried-and-true molds from previous artists—we create fresh, new ones.

13. We may or may not have good business sense, but we absolutely see the benefits—and joys—of networking.

14. When we tell people that we’re “self-employed,” we don’t care if they think it’s code for “unemployed.”

15. Even when “self-employed” feels like it translates to “unemployed,” we continue forth with our dreams because we can’t do anything else.

16. Our work clothes and our play clothes are often the exact same thing.

17. We’re observant—we may or may not be empaths (many of us are), but all of us have “observant” encrypted within our DNA.

18. We expect failure.

19. And then we get back up.

20. Time does not exist when we are working within our medium.

21. Whether introverted or extroverted, we see alone time as a way to rejuvenate, and we see social opportunities as a way to become inspired.

22. We believe in ourselves, but we can be pretty harsh critics too.

23. We generally have problems with authority, because we embody innovation.

24. We aren’t afraid to ask questions.

25. We care more about quality than quantity (and this includes public opinion).

26. We’re moody—and we take advantage of this with our art.

Source

creative minds

What is your Element?

Sir Ken Robinson – Finding your Element (extracts)

Finding your Element is essential to your well-being and ultimate success, and, by implication, to the health of our organizations and the effectiveness of our educational systems.

I believe strongly that if we can each find our Element, we all have the potential for much higher achievement and fulfillment. I don’t mean to say that there’s a dancer, a cartoonist, or a Nobel-winning economist in each of us. I mean that we all have distinctive talents and passions that can inspire us to achieve far more than we may imagine.

Understanding this changes everything. It also offers us our best and perhaps our only promise for genuine and sustainable success in a very uncertain future.

Being in our Element depends on finding our own distinctive talents and passions. Why haven’t most people found this? One of the most important reasons is that most people have a very limited conception of their own natural capacities. This is true in several ways.

The first limitation is in our understanding of the range of our capacities. We are all born with extraordinary powers of imagination, intelligence, feeling, intuition, spirituality, and of physical and sensory awareness. For the most part, we use only a fraction of these powers, and some not at all. Many people have not found their Element because they don’t understand their own powers.

The second limitation is in our understanding of how all of these capacities relate to each other holistically. For the most part, we think that our minds, our bodies, and our feelings and relationships with others operate independent of each other, like separate systems. Many people have not found their Element because they don’t understand their true organic nature.

The third limitation is in our understanding of how much potential we have for growth and change. For the most part, people seem to think that life is linear, that our capacities decline as we grow older, and that opportunities we have missed are gone forever. Many people have not found their Element because they don’t understand their constant potential for renewal.

This limited view of our own capacities can be compounded by our peer groups, by our culture, and by our own expectations of ourselves. A major factor for everyone, though, is education.

Book

 

Meditate!

Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain

Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. What she found surprised her — that meditating can literally change your brain.

….

We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks in five different regions in the brains of the two groups. In the group that learned meditation, we found thickening in four regions:

1. The primary difference, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self relevance.

2. The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.

3. The temporo parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.

4. An area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.

The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program.

The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels.

Full article

Bibliotherapy

Can Reading Make You Happier?
BY CERIDWEN DOVEY


Bibliotherapy is a very broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect. The first use of the term is usually dated to a jaunty 1916 article in The Atlantic Monthly, “A Literary Clinic.” In it, the author describes stumbling upon a “bibliopathic institute” run by an acquaintance, Bagster, in the basement of his church, from where he dispenses reading recommendations with healing value. “Bibliotherapy is…a new science,” Bagster explains. “A book may be a stimulant or a sedative or an irritant or a soporific. The point is that it must do something to you, and you ought to know what it is. A book may be of the nature of a soothing syrup or it may be of the nature of a mustard plaster.” To a middle-aged client with “opinions partially ossified,” Bagster gives the following prescription: “You must read more novels. Not pleasant stories that make you forget yourself. They must be searching, drastic, stinging, relentless novels.” (George Bernard Shaw is at the top of the list.) Bagster is finally called away to deal with a patient who has “taken an overdose of war literature,” leaving the author to think about the books that “put new life into us and then set the life pulse strong but slow.”

Today, bibliotherapy takes many different forms, from literature courses run for prison inmates to reading circles for elderly people suffering from dementia. Sometimes it can simply mean one-on-one or group sessions for “lapsed” readers who want to find their way back to an enjoyment of books. Berthoud and her longtime friend and fellow bibliotherapist Susan Elderkin mostly practice “affective” bibliotherapy, advocating the restorative power of reading fiction. The two met at Cambridge University as undergraduates, over 20 years ago, and bonded immediately over the shared contents of their bookshelves, in particular Italo Calvino’s novel “If on a winter’s night a traveler,” which is itself about the nature of reading. As their friendship developed, they began prescribing novels to cure each other’s ailments, such as a broken heart or career uncertainty. “When Suse was having a crisis about her profession—she wanted to be a writer, but was wondering if she could cope with the inevitable rejection—I gave her Don Marquis’s ‘Archy and Mehitabel’ poems,” Berthoud tells me. “If Archy the cockroach could be so dedicated to his art as to jump on the typewriter keys in order to write his free-verse poems every night in the New York offices of the Evening Sun, then surely she should be prepared to suffer for her art, too.” Years later, Elderkin gave Berthoud,who wanted to figure out how to balance being a painter and a mother, Patrick Gale’s novel “Notes from an Exhibition,” about a successful but troubled female artist.

We had some satisfying back-and-forths over e-mail, with Berthoud digging deeper, asking about my family’s history and my fear of grief, and when she sent the final reading prescription it was filled with gems, none of which I’d previously read. Among the recommendations was “The Guide,” by R. K. Narayan. Berthoud wrote that it was “a lovely story about a man who starts his working life as a tourist guide at a train station in Malgudi, India, but then goes through many other occupations before finding his unexpected destiny as a spiritual guide.” She had picked it because she hoped it might leave me feeling “strangely enlightened.” Another was “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ,” by José Saramago: “Saramago doesn’t reveal his own spiritual stance here but portrays a vivid and compelling version of the story we know so well.” “Henderson the Rain King,” by Saul Bellow, and “Siddhartha,” by Hermann Hesse, were among other prescribed works of fiction, and she included some nonfiction, too, such as “The Case for God,” by Karen Armstrong, and “Sum,” by the neuroscientist David Eagleman, a “short and wonderful book about possible afterlives.”
Source newyorker.com

We draw on the same brain networks when we’re reading stories and when we’re trying to guess at another person’s feelings.

ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH MAZZETTI

A whole new mind – D.Pink

Book Review and Summary

A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

Riverhead Books A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. New York 2005

The introduction to this book makes a bold statement about the future. Leaders with traditional business school skills and traits are now a dime a dozen. There is a new sheriff in town and he is in high demand.

The author says that the future belongs to those with a right-side mindset—creators, artists, empathizers, pattern recognizers and “meaning makers”. We are moving from the logical, linear, computer-based Information Age to a “Conceptual Age” in our economy and society, one where creativity, innovation, empathy and big-picture thinking will be rewarded and recognized. To support his big idea, Pink tells us that the most valued degree in business is now the MFA, Master of Fine Arts.

funny picture11

Pink says the MFA is the new MBA. He offers two reasons for this major shift in business thinking:

1) Jobs that the MBA used to do are now being done overseas through outsourcing and

2) business leaders have recognized that the biggest competitive differentiator they can have is for their products to be “physically beautiful and emotionally compelling”.

The author does a quick analysis of left-brain (L-directed) versus right-brain (R- directed) thinking. He believes we need to maintain our L-directed skills, but master six essential R-directed aptitudes, or “Six Senses”: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning.

With the description of these senses, I think that he has tapped into the subtle shifts that will shape our future. The rest of the book is devoted to a discussion of each of the six senses. At the end of each chapter, there is an additional chapter of suggested exercises or activities that you can do in order to stimulate these senses.

I will give a very limited description here of each of the six senses and I don’t expect to give them the attention they deserve, but I hope it’s enough to tantalize you into reading the book. With interesting detail, the author gives good examples and analogies as to how these concepts will play out in our future lives.

hemispheres

Design

Good design in our lives is essential—from appliances, cars and furniture to things like “butterfly” ballots that may have affected a presidential election. Design is critical to every business as products must be ever more user-friendly, beautiful, compact, energy-efficient, ergonomic and useful. Good design is essential to good products and R-directed thinking allows us to understand how people use products in order to make products better

Story

Pink describes story as “context enriched by emotion”. Story is how information has traditionally been passed from one generation to another. Even though facts are now available instantly and virtually for free, story will remain important because of the emotional Impact. It’s the emotional element that makes information stick.

Symphony

As Pink says, “Symphony is largely about relationships.” The Conceptual Age will reward those who can see connections between seemingly unrelated areas. They will be multi-taskers. They can blend their knowledge of diverse talents and skills to push the “boundary” of accepted practices—for example, someone who takes their knowledge of math into the medical field or someone who applies their knowledge of music to business concepts.

Empathy

The concept of being able to enter someone else’s “shoes” has always been considered an essential leadership attribute, but this ability will be in even higher demand in the future. Everyone can be more successful by being empathetic¬-business people, parents, colleagues, employees, politicians, doctors, lawyers, nurses, service people and just about any other role in our society. Pink offers several ways to improve your empathy skills.

Play

This chapter talks about a man who has developed “Laughter Clubs” throughout the world and the positive impact they are having on business and community. The Conceptual Age will allow us to combine both work and play. A great example of this is the video game. The author makes a case that video games are a big part of our future by giving us compelling statistics regarding video game use by young people.

Meaning

As a society, we are on a high energy search for meaning. Pink cites a report from USC titled A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America. In the report, spirituality was defined by most executives not as religion, but as “the basic desire to find purpose and meaning in one’s life”. Among a lot of other things, the chapter refers to the rise in popularity of labyrinths. If you don’t know, labyrinths are circular, unobstructed mazes that end at the center where one takes a leisurely walk and meditates. There is something special about walking a labyrinth that gives most people a spiritual experience. If you want to know more look up www.labyrinthsociety.org. and you can find a labyrinth near you. Now comes the review part. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I believe Daniel Pink has tapped into a trend that is still simmering beneath the surface. It may start as simply as valuing creative types by putting them on a fast track to management, but it will end as a seismic shift. In ancient times, we valued the artisan and craftsman as evidenced by the legacy of incredible works of art and architecture. The industrial and information ages later stimulated us to explore the left sides of our brains to such an extent that we developed computers to take our logical thinking to unimaginable heights. It’s only fitting that the pendulum would swing back to the right side of the brain when we once again realize the value of creativity and innovation. Our true breakthrough will come when we combine R¬directed and L-directed thinking in equal parts.

a whole new mind

 

The age of the right brain

Let Computers Compute. It’s the Age of the Right Brain.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

— Albert Einstein

I’m of two minds. As a matter of fact, so are you. And until recently, corporate America wasn’t doing much to take advantage of one of them. But now that we’re hip-deep in what has been called both the “Creative Economy” and the “Conceptual Age,” no one can afford to ignore the artist within: the right hemisphere of the brain.

Although popularized in the 1980s by the artist Betty Edwards in her book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” the right-brain-left-brain dichotomy originated with the research of the American biologist Roger W. Sperry in the 1960s. Through studying “split brain” animals and human patients, whose brain hemispheres had been disconnected (in humans, this was done to prevent severe epileptic seizures), he found that each side of the brain plays its own role in cognition. The left side, home of the human language center, is the outspoken logical, linear half of the equation. The right side, home to spatial perception and nonverbal concepts, is the nonlinear, high-concept source of the imagination and of pleasure.

creativity.jpg

The two function cheek-by-jowl, constantly sending signals back and forth through a bundle of 200 million to 300 million nerve fibers to help balance learning, analysis and communication throughout the brain.

But now that computers can emulate many of the sequential skills of the brain’s left hemisphere — the part that sees the individual trees in a forest — the author Daniel Pink argues that it’s time for our imaginative right brain, which sees the entire forest all at once, to take center stage.

“These abilities have always been part of what it means to be human,” notes Mr. Pink, who synthesized his ideas about the new role of right-brain thinking in his 2005 book “A Whole New Mind.” “It’s just that after a few generations in the Information Age, many of our high-concept, high-touch muscles have atrophied. The challenge is to work them back into shape.”

Why bother? Because much of the left-brain-centric work that the Information Age workers of America once did — computer programming, financial accounting, routing calls — is now done more cheaply in Asia or more efficiently by computers. If it can be outsourced or automated, it probably has been.

Now the master of fine arts, or M.F.A., Mr. Pink says, “is the new M.B.A.”

He’s not the only one saying it. When General Motors hired Robert A. Lutz in 2001 to whip its product development into shape, he told The New York Times about his new approach. “It’s more right brain. It’s more creative,” he said.

“I see us as being in the art business,” he said, “art, entertainment and mobile sculpture, which, coincidentally, also happens to provide transportation.”

When a car company like G.M. is in the art business, every company in any other industry is, too.

So it makes sense that business executives are turning to the original pop culture icon of right-brain thinking, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” for guidance into their right minds. Ms. Edwards retired in 1998, but her son, Brian Bomeisler, teaches scores of corporate and public workshops each year.

The list of companies Mr. Bomeisler has worked with is a Who’s Who of the Fortune 500. “That corny phrase ‘thinking outside the box,’ that’s what I do for corporations,” he says. “In teaching them how to draw, I’m teaching them an entirely new way to see. They unbox their minds and absorb what’s really there, with all of the complexity and beauty. One of the common phrases that students use afterward is that the world appears to be so much richer.”

During a two-day workshop with Halliburton Energy Services, Mr. Bomeisler watched as a team’s drawings slowly revealed an obvious solution to a longstanding problem. Team members realized from drawing that they had been enjoying their special status as a task force and had become so fascinated with the problem before them that they were in no hurry to solve it. This was resolved after management set a strict deadline and promised the group equally intriguing problems in the future.

By JANET RAE-DUPREE

Published: April 6, 2008

Tips for drawing

TURNING DRAWING GOALS INTO A REALITY

How many times have your good intentions to draw failed? You buy a new book and become inspired by someone else’s journey. You visit an art store and beguiled by the shiny pencils and inviting paper, load up your shopping basket and leave the shop with your wallet lighter and a spring in your step – only to find that life gets in the way and before you know it, a month or two has passed and you haven’t even opened your sketchbook. Goal setting can seem a bit left-brained but we all need a kick-start every so often and if it gets us drawing does it matter?

Here are five steps to turning your drawing goals into a reality. Five Steps to Turning Your Drawing Goals into a Reality:

Make a list of drawing goals and write them down (writing them down means you are more likely to stick to them).

Be realistic (there’s no point in setting yourself up to fail)

Make a date in your diary – ideally in one month, no later than in three – to review and revise your goals. It’s okay to change and let go of goals but do consciously and deliberately, rather than just letting them fade away in embarrassment. It’s natural that what we want now might be different to what we want in three months time.

Share your goals with a friend (they can be a non-drawing person!). A ‘goal buddy’ can support you in your endeavours (and you can support them in theirs). Be accountable to each other as well as giving each other moral support and encouragement.

For every goal you set, make a plan now about how you are going to achieve it. Be as specific as you can break things down into small manageable steps and write them down.

and finally…

Give yourself permission to start again… if your drawing has fallen by the wayside, so what. The sky won’t fall in. If it’s something you really want to do, just do it. Start now.

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The artist’s way – Julia Cameron

“Reminding one another of the dream that each of us aspires to may be enough for us to set each other free.” Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The groundbreaking book The Artist’s Way has helped more than a million people access their creativity and realize their dreams. We are most proud of this success because it has been achieved over many years completely by word of mouth. Starting in the art communities of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles and quickly spreading to Europe, The Artist’s Way is a spiritual path to higher creativity. The Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon is a comprehensive 12 week program to discover your creativity in the work place.

The Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon is a process that is built to help you produce a body of work over time, find the joy that may be gone from your life or your art, and to separate what is important in your life from what is either behavior that is outdated or incongruent with your own highest interest–and oh yes, it is supposed to be fun. At least part of the time.

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Julia Cameron’s Basic Tools

Morning Pages

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.

Artist Dates

The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic”– think mischief more than mastery.

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SEIZE THE DRAWING MOMENT

Carry a sketchbook with you at all times. Seize the drawing moment!

Make a specific time each week for drawing (each day if you can) to draw. Keep this time sacrosanct and don’t let it be hijacked by chores, friends or family. Even 15 minutes will make a difference.

Book a workshop or a class. Mixing with like-minded people can be really motivating. If you can’t do something regularly perhaps attend a one-day or residential workshop. Check out your local museums for classes – they often run drawing events for adults. Check their ‘What’s On’ and book early as they are often over-subscribed.

If you are not near any museums, look online – there are some fantastic e-groups out there where like-minded people from all corners of the globe share their frustrations and triumph in drawing and creating.

Don’t wait for the muse to strike – you’ll be waiting an awful long time. Draw regardless of whether you feel ‘in the mood’. Just start drawing and see what happens…

Buy a box file or other storage container and collect images that inspire you… magazine cuttings, postcards, photographs, bits of fabric. Create an ‘ideas’ box you can draw on.
Keep your drawing materials accessible and to hand so it won’t be a big performance to start drawing.

Make an artist’s date with yourself once a month. This is a time for you to do something to nourish your inner artist – perhaps visit a gallery, go sketching, visit somewhere new, do something you wouldn’t normally do – whatever you want but do it by yourself and make it fun. Step outside your comfort zone. When we struggle, we learn, when we learn we grow.

At the back of your sketchbook make a list of things to draw and each time you want to draw just pull off the first thing on the list. Here’s a start: draw a shoe; an egg beater; the first thing you pull out of the kitchen implements draw, your hand; your foot; objects on the mantelpiece; a pair of spectacles…

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Shut up the inner critic!

We all have an inner critic that sits on our shoulder harping on about how rubbish we are, how we are wasting our time and why don’t we just give up.

However, it is possible to shut this guy up! Try some of the following tips to take back control of your drawing. Don’t let “the lodger” spoil your fun. If you don’t feed that negative voice, it will just fizzle away…

Sign, date and keep your work as a record of your progress. Seeing how you are improving will spur you on.

Every few months, take out all your drawings, lay them out in sequence (or better yet, pin them up on a wall) and then look at them with open,friendly, non-judging eyes. Look at them as you would look at a piece of work by a stranger. Notice where you’ve improved. See if you can identify areas you’d like to work on or themes you’d like to explore. Remember – most important of all – be kind to yourself!

Don’t give up halfway through a drawing – push through the self-judgment barrier of ‘this drawing is rubbish’. Just keep going regardless and see what happens. It’s a drawing not a work of art…

Stand back from your drawing as often as you can, walk away and come back and see it with fresh eyes. When you think you’ve ‘finished’, leave it propped up, go away and keep coming back to it, you’ll soon notice anything that looks ‘off’.

Turn a drawing upside down – areas that For every critical comment you make on your finished drawing, match it with one positive thing you are pleased with. It could just be the fact that you didn’t give up or the way you’ve caught the light in one spot. Look at your own work as you would look at someone else’s and be as kind to yourself as you would be to them.

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