Creativity - pastel portraits

Carolyn Hancock, “Eyes to the Future,” pastel, 24 x 18 in.

By Carolyn Hancock

I’m not creative. That’s what many people believe — that they are either creative or analytical, the right, emotional, spacial side of the brain vs. the left, logical, detail-oriented side of the brain.

But painting does not flow just from the creative side of the brain. True, creating is the enjoyable part of painting: conceiving an idea; stroking the splash of color, not believing you are actually going to use THAT color. Seeing a real emotion materialize on a flat paper as a face comes alive is almost like being outside your body, watching another person create something. As that special zone in your mind comes to an end, you step back and wonder how the painting came to that point.

But painting also REQUIRES the analytical side of the brain: the whole process from white, blank paper to masterpiece is problem solving and decision making.

The careful artist makes decisions every fraction of a minute: shape and size relationships, proportion, composition, degree of detail, perspective, color choices. The nose looks too long; how can I use color or light to change it? I need the background to sit down and recede; how can I make the flat ground not look like a wall staring at me? The composition is one sided; do I crop the finished work or add content on that side? Was I successful in achieving the emotion I originally felt, or does this landscape transport me to a place I remember?

The thinking, deciding, doing is a constant that, hopefully, brings the painting to a beautiful finish, and negates the “I’m not creative” rationale.

Creativity - pastel portraits

Carolyn Hancock, “Watching Her Village,” pastel, 18 x 24 in.

Creativity - pastel portraits

Carolyn Hancock, “Kimono Colors,” pastel, 24 x 18 in.

Creativity - pastel portraits

Carolyn Hancock, “Hot Day Cool Drink,” pastel, 18 x 24 in.

How do you overcome creativity blocks? Share it with us in the comments below.

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