• Books
  • Diving into the Mystery

    I’ve lived long enough to remember when Advice for Artists was a quiet, contemplative stream at the edge of town. Now it is a surging river with big crowds, water sports and riverboat casinos. Much has changed since Julia Cameron published the The Artist’s Way in 1992. Originally titled Healing the Artist Within, the book […]

  • Creativity
  • Incubation and Its Mysteries

    My daughter Kellin noodling with her niece Siena 18 months ago Joan Acocella, long standing dance and culture writer for the New Yorker, discusses how the path of a new idea comes into form in her recent article, A Nice Little Talk. She uses a set of conversations held between dancers as a good example […]

  • Art Making
  • Permeability

    Somewhere between what is hidden and what is seen: A matchbook found at the bottom of a box of paints from my days on the Lower East Side in the 1970s. In Jane Hirschfield‘s slim but wisdom-packed book, Hiddenness, Uncertainty, Surprise: Three Generative Energies of Poetry, she includes a poem written in 1000 CE by […]

  • Creativity
  • Unleashing the Wandering Mind

    Heron on the beach at Small Point, Maine _____ Note to my readers: As I head back up to Small Point, I reread this post from two years ago. That beach, that heron, that quiet—they are all still there, waiting to encompass any and all. I’ll be back Slow Musing at the end of next […]

  • Aesthetics
  • The Innovation/Creativity Continuum

    Innovation is constantly in the news. Corporations spend millions of dollars fostering, cultivating and encouraging it in work environments that often seem inhospitable to deflected and unexpected thinking. Interestingly, artists rarely use the word innovation to describe the methodology of their work. Creativity is the more common term. How are the two different? Drew Marshall […]

  • Art Making
  • Portalized

    At the RISD exhibit (Photo by Jan Baker) It’s an it. It is a simple insight but a huge one, that an entity exists outside of yourself that is your inspiration. Some call it the artist’s gift, some call it creativity. But the idea that it is separate from you—that it can be addressed and […]

  • Science
  • Focus and Creativity

    Heron on the beach at Small Point, Maine This is a postscript to yesterday’s post with more on the theme of the usefulness of downtime… Sam McNerney has posted a piece on Big Think called Why You Shouldn’t Focus Too Much in which he highlights the results of several recent studies on focus and creativity. […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Enabling Through Limits

    Icicle propagation on a building facade in Pittsburgh: Living with constraints A few months back I posted a quote from the artist Carroll Dunham that has a great deal of meaning for me: The most basic thing to say about painting: it’s a limiting condition within which absolutely anything goes. But it’s a negative premise. […]

  • Creativity
  • Fitzgerald and Creativity

    F. Scott Fitzgerald I have never been keen on the idea of a creativity elite. Since 1959 when C. P. Snow wrote his legendary essay “Two Cultures” about the breakdown in communication between the sciences (“the white coats”) and the humanities, other us/them dichotomies have emerged. Creativity is one of those, highlighted in recent books […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Outside the Lines

    Siva drinking World Poison, Nandalal Bose (Photo: National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi) I have been participating in an ongoing conversation with my friend Supratik Bose about the nature of creativity. Over dinner a while ago he told me he didn’t believe something could be deemed creative unless it demonstrated market value. Bose, trained […]