The Rotten Lemon of Enlightenment

Creating a creative atmosphere

In week six for our tutorial on creative environments, there was a particular activity that caught my eye on the handout (Tutorial Activites, 2010).

Begin to consider the ways in which you might create an “atmosphere” of creativity (for example, using lighting and images, or activities such as chanting, arranging objects, improvising lyrics to bongo rhythms – whatever you can think of).

In your own time, try to create an “atmosphere” of creativity using some of the techniques discussed, and report on the relationship between the altered environment, your altered mental state, and your subsequent thought processes and creative activity.

Now that I have had some time to think about and experiment with this I have come to some conclusions. The most important being that your creative atmosphere should reflect who you are. Personally I thrive on organised chaos and only rein it in when it starts to unravel. My filing system is the floor, I forgot what my desk looked like a long time ago and I make my bed once a week when I change the sheets. Sure most people see this as dirty but it’s really just messy. There is a difference…right?

So what does this have to do with my creative atmosphere?

After considering for some time as to why I am by nature a messy person I began to realise that it was exactly how I think. I file things on the floor so they are easy to access. When I put them away and out of sight I feel they become forgotten. Just as when I have an idea or see something interesting I make a mental note and keep it at the forefront of my mind. I need to keep things I consider important within reach. So in regards to my creative atmosphere as a physical space or studio I need to be able to see all the items, tools, materials, books and information for the particular project I am working on. One of the reasons I don’t make my bed everyday is because by leaving it unmade it feels as if I had never left. I don’t have to toss and turn to get comfortable because it feels familiar. It allows me to just focus on going to sleep. Which is the exact same atmosphere I tried to recreate. One that syncs perfectly with my though process so I can focus on creating and not trying to force it.

I also have strong internal dialogue that clashes with any external dialogue. So if  there is music it cannot have lyrics. I tend to listen to ambient music with brain waves played through the speakers if I choose to listen to anything at all. Complete silence is preferred as distraction is often met with frustration. It’s not until the tasks become less mentally challenging that music and conversation with others creep back in.

When I create I generally like to be alone. It enables me to be myself and removes any sense of self-consciousness and doubt. Many of the stages of the creative process I find to be intensely personal or extremely social. The social and interactive part coming during the formation of ideas and criticism of work when requested.

Finally the exclusion of clocks within eyesight. By excluding time from the process, that connection to reality is severed and I can completely immerse myself in my work.

By creating an environment that reflects my personality I was able to enhance my creative process. In a comfortable and familiar atmosphere it was easier to slip into a creative flow and maintain it. Much like returning to an unmade bed and feeling like you never left.


Tutorial Activites. (2010). sccaOnline | CCA1103. Retrieved from 
Download .pdf

Theories of Creativity

In preparation for my creative project and with the intention to make strong ties back to the unit I’ll be revising the readings and tutorial activities. I’ll be doing this with particular interest to how I can relate it back to my creative project. First up will be the Theories of Creativity (Davis, 2004).

Creativity is a hard thing to define as I believe it is a very personal experience that can be strongly influenced by the environment the individual finds themselves in. I think this is reinforced by the various theories in regards to creativity itself. All have a little truth to them for the masses but are likely true to the individual. What fits for them doesn’t always fit for others and just as what fits others doesn’t always fit them. For me it’s more about the bigger picture and picking what best suits you and your creativity. A good friend of mine didn’t want to share her ideas for a project in another unit which I found a little difficult to understand at first. Personally I like to share ideas freely and build on the ideas created by the ‘flow’ of the group. These new ideas excite me and push me to further build upon them privately. For reasons unknown to me this very thing I find helpful to my process could stifle hers. She could see it as a dilution of her ideas. However I digress, my point being that while these theories might not fit you perfectly they’ll help you understand your creativity and what works for you.

Sigmund Freud

First up is probably the most famous and controversial, Sigmund Freud‘s psychoanalytic account. Putting aside Freud’s obsession with sex he did have an interesting point about the primary and secondary processes. One that I could possibly relate back to my creative project. According to Freud our thinking process could be broken into two different categories; the primary and secondary processes. The primary being a childlike regression where the mind is free, relaxed and able to fantasize without restriction – an ideal environment to be creative. While the secondary is the adultlike way of thinking where reality and logic restrict our thinking. So I could in corporate a childlike element into my portrait for the right side. Maybe even dig up a childhood portrait of myself. I could also use crayons as the medium.

Ernst Kris

Ernst Kris worked closely with Freud before coming up with his own slightly modified version. Like Freud he was also focused on sex but felt aggression was an important factor too. What an interesting pair these two would have made! Kris believe creativity was a preconscious activity and therefore ideas just happen as an “Eureka” moment and had very little to do with conscious thought. I couldn’t disagree more so on to the next!

Lawrence Kubie

Lawrence Kubie breaks down creativity into three states; the conscious, preconscious and unconscious. He claims the conscious and unconscious are rigid and uncreative. The conscious anchored in reality while the unconscious is vague and meanings hidden or repressed. However through various techniques you can reach the threshold between the two and understand the unconscious while remaining in a conscious state. It is the ability of the individual to access this state (preconscious) that determines their creativity. Another theory I don’t agree with personally. I believe we have a more active role in our ability to create than Kubie gives us credit for.

Harold Rugg

Harold Rugg ‘s theory although basically the same as Kubie’s does have one important difference that make’s it more feasible in my opinion. That the preconscious is a more easily attainable state than what Kubie would have us believe. Much like Freud and his theories on primary and secondary thinking the preconscious is the childlike state and the conscious is the adultlike state. The preconscious state brings the ideas to life while the conscious state brings them to reality.

To be continued…


Davis, G. A. (2004). Definitions and Theories. Creativity is forever (pp. 58-73). (5th Ed.). USA: Kendell/Hunt. Download .pdf handout

Ernst%20Kris (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from;

HaroldRugg (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from;

Lawrence%20Kubie (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from;

sigmund-freud-med (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from;

Creative Project #007

I got some feedback from the class and Mark yesterday in regards to my creative project. I have been bouncing between two different concepts for a while now and not really making much progress. I really liked Nina‘s suggestion of somehow combining the two together. So will be looking at ways to animate the right side of the face to illustrate my creative self. Will start revising the various class handouts and worksheets for inspiration. Finally feels like I have direction again! I have discovered over the course of this unit that being able to bounce ideas around with others is an integral part of my creative process. I need immediate feedback to help my ‘flow’ get moving again when it starts to get stagnate.
With all this in mind I wanted to take my project away from standard photography portraits. So the series of portraits was scraped for one self-portrait that was taken two years ago. This I feel takes away the importance of the photo itself in the work. I also really wanted to push my technical skills with this project so decided it was time to finally give my drawing tablet a proper workout. Being a Visual Arts major I wanted the look and feel of the visual arts but the ease of working with digital media. Will also come in handy with the animation side of things I hope.
Here is the process I took to turn my photo into a “painting” without actually painting. Early stages so may rework it depending were I decide to go from here.
As always feedback is welcome and appreciated. Enjoy!

Original image


Getting the base colours down


Using a brush tool


Black background


Finished(?) left side

I need your help!
April 12, 2011, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m looking for some help coming up with the sub title for this blog. Originally it was ‘just another CCA1103 blog’ and currently it’s ‘learning is rarely pleasant’. Don’t really like how that sits as I personally enjoy learning very much. It does go with the blog title pretty well though.

Throw me some ideas. I need some feedback to get my ‘flow’ going otherwise I’ll just go around in circles. See what I did there Mark. I referred an unrelated post back to the unit. That right there is worth a couple of marks at least!