It sometimes takes teamwork to have a replenished creative well!

Many people feel they are alone in their creative journey. They must find the strength within themselves and that their creativity is a well that can dry up, so sharing it with others will only make them lose out on opportunities.

I would argue the exact opposite, and I believe those who have the above belief are driven by creative fear and insecurity. If anyone begins to work with people OPEN to ideas and sharing, that creative well becomes forever replenishing and full. That is exactly why so many writers partake of writer’s groups and there are Artist Way “support” groups for people seeking other creatives and an opportunity for sharing and replenishing that well.

I believe this is also reflected online. Look at how many social media sites bring together and offer artists opportunities to share ideas and projects. That is why I’m part of several communities via Google Plus, which allows us all to share ideas and offer feedback. I’ve seen photographers’ forums all over the internet that offer critique opportunities and connections as well.

My energy abounds when I’m able to help or work with another artist. I love when ideas begin bouncing off of each other and we are able to brainstorm something entirely new or develop an idea I’ve been struggling with for weeks. It is because I talk about it out loud and someone is receptive to listening that my idea grows stronger (not to mention my friend’s ideas may trigger some in me!). Ever heard the phrase two heads are better than one? There’s a reason that phrase exists.

I would LOVE to start a group for creatives reaching for creative goals of assorted genres of arts. How wonderful would it be to meet monthly and share progress, ideas and development of assorted projects and dreams? Not only would this group become a place of accountability to help people reach their dreams, I believe those dreams, ideas and projects would be stronger for the group vetting that could occur. I certainly hope in my new move I can meet some like-minded people who might share this interest!

Today, in the spirit of working as a group, I have a creative group warm up. I think it would be fun either as a digital community who might take part or as a family project if you all have a shared interest in the arts. The images you work with will determine the difficulty of the project. It is called a Cut Up Masterpiece, my dear friend Dawn gave me this idea for my art students.

Aperture-2 2Step One: Find an image that interests you, perhaps it is a family photo from a vacation of a landscape, or a favorite artwork of yours. Consider the skill and ability level of your team when you select the image.

Step Two: Divide it into equal rectangles or squares and cut them up. Be sure you label each division so you know how to puzzle it back together! It is important someone has a key to put the parts back together after the activity is complete. The fun part here is you decide how decipherable each image is by the size of the divisions you make. You could make each division so small so as to make the image you share with each person your team something abstract that builds to something recognizable!

I used Skitch to make the same size squares, which I could then crop and save individually.

I used Skitch to make the same size squares, which I could then crop and save individually.

Step Three: Randomly assign the squares to different people in your art community (or family, if this is a group project!). If you have people of varying ability, you can differentiate here by assigning different squares according to their difficulty.

Step Four: Now here is the fun part. Ask each community member to try and replicate the image in front of the them to the best of their ability. You can either direct them to use a particular medium (I often used oil pastel with my students and selected images from Impressionist artists) OR tell everyone to use whatever random medium they wish. There is a lot of room for creativity here.

Example of Square given to team member. Which of the two I displayed do you think would be more difficult?

Example of Square given to team member. Which of the two I displayed do you think would be more difficult?

Step Five: Set a timeline. Have people meet to collect and arrange the images for display or if you work digitally, have everyone scan and post the images for you to arrange via your community.

Step Six: Display and reflect! Questions to reflect with or discuss: What media did everyone use? How did it impact the visual? If you were to choose one medium to work with to make this image most realistic which one would you choose? Which medium would best enhance the message or mood of this piece? Was it hard working with a small square when you didn’t know what it was? Why or why not? How did you like working with others? What was good about it and what was more difficult? If you are on Google and doing this digitally, why not create a Google Hangout where everyone can meet and discuss their group endeavor?

Example of Square given to team member.

Example of Square given to team member.

Artist Strong Action: It’s up to you now to go find a creative posse to help improve your creativity. Try this activity to help break the ice!