Creativity…. pass it along

creativity crisis, reclaim your creativity, art lessons debi riley,

The Creative Zone.

It doesn’t really matter which form of art we’re pursuing- fashion, acting, music, sculpture, painting, writing – to create well we need  to be in that zone.

We need to be feeling it….. Feeling the Creativity within us.

Did you ever think to yourself, maybe, people were having a harder time these days Being creative?

I have.


And then, of course, I Googled it.

As one does.


creativity crisis, reclaim your creativity, art lessons debi riley,
Finding Creativity

Creativity – crisis


Dr. JK Kim Professor at William and Mary has written about this subject,

  “The Creativity Crisis.”  


As many of my readers already know, the topic of  creativity, is one I am passionate about.

I  pretend  at work to teach watercolor, oils, acrylics.

But truly its  – Creativity of  The Individual –  that all my classes are always centered around.

I read Dr. Kim’s article twice.

Its well written, each point summed up, citing references to studies and sources.

It made me think.


There is one particular point in her article, that I keep returning to in my mind.

That when our ancestors first arrived here,  they were risk takers.

They had to be.  They had to be inventive.

They had to “Make do.”

Those early pioneer settlers had to Create things from “out of the box” tools and resources.

This fostered a culture of creativity and inventiveness that was passed down quite a few generations.   They became more and more imaginative, innovative, self reliant. They worked hard, put out effort and spent the time to do what was needed to get the task accomplished.

They were, Creative.




But…. Do We Do the Same?

Don’t we, opt for the Easy;  for the right Now;  for the comfortable; for the zero risk?

Don’t we often opt for that subtle peer pressure, to ‘conform’  to fit in;  to NOT stand out?

Don’t we want to continue in our soft and easy ways, making few waves, blending in, getting liked, staying in the comfort of our places?

Of course we do.



Creativity Demands…. Courage of the Inner Self.

Courage to be unique. To speak and express with our own voice. Our own words.

Courage to go beyond what is liked, popular, on trend.

Beyond the limits imposed and set our own rules.


Perhaps, these days,  we have not been ‘working out’ enough in those areas.

Should we have Creativity Gyms?

I think, we should.




The Creative Zone  

My home, The Creative Zone. 

I didn’t always live there, though.

Its crept up on me, bit by bit, until one day I just realised that its not my holiday house anymore.

I’m always there.

It’s my home residence, now.



We are Not, All Like You Though!

Ahh,  I can hear that thought from many of you all the way to Perth!

And you’re right.

I bet you’re pretty glad about that too, with all this –  ART art art art art…..

Color, shapes and tones.  Repeat. On a loop.


Doesn’t it ever,  shut Off?!

I find that,  difficult.

flower poems, Edwin Curran, pink gentle sweet flowers, macro photo of flower,
Music in Pink… Art, color, shapes, tones…    They are What I See

Degas, it seems,   saw beauty, music, art, color, shapes, tones, wherever he turned his eye. I don’t think he could shut it off.

You can not create like he did, without living and breathing art and creativity.

Degas pink and cobalt teal dancers, flowers dance, macro flower photography,
Degas, pink and cobalt teal dancers  – more color, shapes, tones

Imagine  –  Think. Outside the Box


“Accessorise Your Mind, with passions,  Inspirations  and  Imagination”  by Angela Clare,  Perth W.A.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be loaned this book, by the author’s mother, a student in one of my classes.

The book is available at  


Clare’s book, though I’ve yet to completely finish reading, is one I plan on recommending to art students.

Two chapters in.

And its helpful suggestions, can benefit artists. Art Students.  (well, people in general actually.)


Students, Artists, Creative People who are caught the doldrums. You know, left flat and motionless in the waters.

Those who need some guidance, some suggestions on how they might push beyond their current boundaries into more advanced work.

To become More imaginative, more creative.

Clare has great insight with pages and pages of steps, of how to ideas and tools,  I found quite relevant and helpful to build the Imagination and Creativity.


I read this poem of Angela Clare’s, I enjoyed the expressions, the visuals brought to mind, the inspiring nature of the poem.


An Excerpt from page 19   titled,    “The Journey”

Time   has brought me to this place,

Unrelenting in its pace;

My mind conceives, My thoughts collide,

Take a breath

for here we ride.


Lets speak through mirrors

and see through sands,

Move through mountains and desert lands,

Find the Magic of our lives,

Feel the Freedom in our eyes.


You can find Angela on many social media sites;  and check out her website:   Angela Clare at wordpress  


Art Creativity – Beginnings

How does it start?  How did it start?

School is a potential problem, to our creativity and imagination. Maybe a bit less so, in some schools, right now.  But in the past, school structuring had adverse effects for many.


At school.   I followed the rules.  Stayed in line.

Absorbed every new rule, like it was The word.

I colored and stayed in the lines; in thick dark lines,  I outlined my objects;  my skies were most definitely BLUE;   and the grass was sparkling…..Green.

Just like the rules at school told me to do. Just like the school master, told me to do.

Trouble. Never found me.

I was risk averse.


night photograph, clouds swirling, creativity,
By night, comes the Tooth Fairy


Then fairies arrived.

Oh.  I should clarify. The tooth fairy.

SHE.  Started It!

She left magical rewards in the night.

Porcelain miniature tea cups in floral motifs,  tiny glass animals in exchange for a tooth.

My mother described the tooth fairy with grace and infectious enthusiasm!


The clouds in the sky became a source of creativity for us, as my mom pointed out people, angels, poodles and sheep, dragons and flying horses.

It was our canvas.

We each painted in our minds, to pass the time, as a bit of fun.  We didn’t have smart phones, ipads, devices. And the television… was  “for the evenings, after dinner.”

In the car on our weekly drives, we played games. We connected.


We invented fun ways to pass the time.





There was no Time, to be Bored

I don’t remember being bored.

Or ever sulking and telling my parents, “I’m so bored…..”


We were encouraged to use and to build  our imaginations.

So I did.


I wrote stories and poems, then illustrated them.

I read voraciously. Every horse book.  Encyclopedias were grand.


Biographical novels…. Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Pericles,  Aspasia: biography by Taylor Caldwell,   works by Thomas B. Costain.

Filling my imagination.

Filling my mind with questions.

Then…. asking innocently, inappropriate questions my parents couldn’t quite bring themselves to answer a 10 year old.

Well, at least they didn’t censor my reading, leaving that to the public libraries’ board of directors.


Often I’d play the lone adventurer outdoors, studying the habitats of birds, rabbits, deer, chipmunks. I felt no need for followers or to follow, out there. I was bold and fearlessly exploring this imaginative, yet real realm.


My sister and I created indoor sleds. For the stairs. Its Amazing, What speeds  just a bit of cardboard and plastic will allow, careening down those flights of stairs.   No broken bones on these encounters. Save that, for the horse activities.


52 frog pick up.

Yes. Live jumping, leaping frogs.

ooops….. it was, in  Grandmother’s kitchen. THAT was so, exciting for everyone.



Creative Imagination was encouraged at our house.

Not once, were we punished for those. Even when it resulted in messes we were told to take responsibility for and do the clean up.


So that’s how it  began.

Over time though, with jobs, relocations, children, work deadlines, life……. you know!   That Creativity slid into the background.

Then into the basement. Then it got buried, under the basement.

Probably the same as many of you.

I know it happens all the time.



Time.. to Reclaim Creativity

All that buried treasure,  creativity, lay hidden away.


We decide to reclaim it.


Bit by bit.

Pushing away those rules.

Ignoring the trends, the commercial, to be the popular,  most liked.


Fighting for individuality;  to express  my own words, my own voice.

It is a fight.

That is a given.


It  goes against what the crowd wants from us.

What their expectations are and have been.

Indeed, perhaps what our own expectations have been.


The battle is for individuality.  For  Creativity.

To express my own self.

Not to parrot what someone else does. Or says.


Parroting is faster.

Echoing another is easier.

Copying is less risk.

True, when you parrot – If the audience doesn’t like it,  you are off the hook.

You…. were only repeating what X said or did!


To expose your real thoughts,  your real words and voice….

makes you vulnerable.




But if we are serious about moving forward in our art, this is exactly what we must do.


Blue veil gouache and watercolor,
The Blue Veil – veiled unveiled exposed



Ever listen to a singer who echoes the words correctly but bland, sings the words, but there is zero connection to the song content?

Then you hear a singer, passionately SING with so much feeling poured into the words, everything stops.  Just to hear more.

One takes a risk and becomes vulnerable.

One is too risk averse.


The singer Adam Lambert singing Mad World on American Idol, is a case in point.

I had never liked that particular song, before….  I’d turn it off or down.

But, Lambert’s  inflections,  the tones,  the emotional power, the vulnerability in his voice….completely changed my mind.


I still don’t like listening to the original, or other singers try, to sing it.

That one breathtaking rendition. Connected emotionally.  Why?  Because Adam Lambert took a risk.

Allowed his creative interpretation to have free rein.


Adam Lambert shared his creativity with us.

Thank goodness.

Or else, we all,  would have missed out.





nature photography, pond reflections in color, blue and purple tree reflections,
Upon the waters  –    a creative interpretation of the lily pond – thats Not, how it really was


It takes Courage.

To be your self.   To express with your own words.  To be, Creative.

It is difficult to not care excessively,  if the ‘crowds’  boo you,  if they don’t like you.


It takes Courage to be a risk taker.

To think how it will all work in the long term.  To play the long game.

To Imagine and to Create.



Creativity is ours to share.

Creativity is for us to … pass along.   





my 3 Creativity “shares”

  1.  Angela Clare  “Accessorise your Mind”

2.  Dr. JK Kim   “The Creativity Crisis”

3.  Adam Lambert  musician “Mad World”







Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

24 thoughts on “Creativity…. pass it along

  1. This was very much an enlightening post about creativity. ‘We need to be feeling it’ So agree with your line early on. Creativity is a feeling. It’s a zone we need to be in, a special place in our minds and within us when we create and do that creative thing we do.

    True that creativity is about being unique. Some of us may have similar thoughts, but more often than not we will have a different way of expressing them, and that’s creativity and art right there. For a long time I was so afraid to write what I want to write. Writing about heavy topics like multiculturalism and racism, I thought that my words had to take on an academic slant to be taken seriously or just to be believable. After so long I realised fitting this mould made me miserable and that if I do what I like, what have I got to lose. Nothing much, really since I am already a struggling artist 🙂

    Love how you recounted those imaginative times with your sister and mum when you were younger. Sounded like fun times together, dreaming up things and keeping yourselves occupied. ‘We connected.’ This is such a powerful thing with imagination: bringing up something deep within you, share it on the outside and make another feel amazing as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many thanks Mabel on a wonderful response! I’m smiling reading it this morning. lovely way to begin the day.
      Your topics, multiculturalism/racism are indeed, super heavy. How you weave your way through the potential minefields…. is amazing. You being so Candid and with a freshness that I think makes readers take things on board easily.

      I know that a segment of Anglo population denies racism. You should have seen me as a 15 year old getting hot and debating Native American rights and treaties. I laugh now. only at my youth. not the topic. The topic of Inequitable treatment of individuals…. still gets me. I could not write a post, it would be too inflammatory. The way you handle your articles is brilliantly done.
      “…fitting this mould made me miserable. .. what have I got to lose.” Both of these really sum it all quite well.
      I mean really, who, wants to be Miserable every day they live?!! for what?


      1. And I do hope you had a lovely day, Debi. Thank you for your kind words. To be honest I do think I am very rigid in expressing my feelings…it’s something I am still working on.

        It sounded like you were not just creative but also gregrarious when you were younger. It looks like you still do but differently, now through experimenting with watercolour. And that makes you happy 🙂


  2. Hi, thanks for this post, this is very interesting, since I know what you mean, we all have creativity crisis and I think very often about how to avoid them.
    School can cause a lot of creativity problems, or better, not the school but some teachers. I had a lot of such teachers who only want you to stuck on your chair and don’t move. Surprisingly, I had a lot of problem with art teachers ( I think they were envying my skills). But I still remember at the day we meet our new literature teacher and she said:”If you like to draw during my class, no problem, I know a lot of students can better concentrate while sketching” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fabulous post on creativity Debi – I think I might have to re-read this a couple of times to take it all in. But the message I get loud and clear is that creativity is about: being yourself, following your heart – not the crowd, taking risks, daring to be different, not caring if people don’t understand or like what you do…. amen to all of these things Debi…. !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much Evelyn! yes, it was super long. and most readers, are usually put off. But, I decided not to shorten it and not to make it into a set. You are an inspiration, when it comes to “creativity” and I know you ‘get it.’ have a great and creative week E 🙂 cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  4. After many years of not able to do my style of creativity, I am also trying to get back into it. It is harder than it used to be nowadays, our creativity is taken up electronically not using the minds, eyes and hands to do so. My art in my youth in arts and creativity is far more expressive than what I can do now. I still am trying to find my inner artist and still able to express my creative side.
    Your blog speaks true to me.
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very inspiring message today. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and the authors you shared. I come from a family of makers, like yourself. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t make something. I do love passing creativity on…especially with children. Thanks again Debi, we have so much to be grateful for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good morning Sharon and thank you. It is a special and wonderful thing to have come from a family of makers and creatives. Not everyone is so blessed. …maybe, thats why we feel so compelled to share. I’m happy, that this was a good post today for you and you enjoyed it – cheers!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful post about creativity, thanks for sharing a little backstory about your childhood. I could relate to your story about using your imagination as a kid, I enjoyed making up stories and had free range to express my self creatively. Its is a blessing to have family that encourages that. Thanks for the creativity suggestions, I will have to give the Adam Lambert song a try, Ive never latched on this his music/singing but worth another shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much Jennifer for a wonderful comment! I’m glad you had a good experience growing up with being encouraged in imagination and creative arts.
      So many, are not. And school, just reinforced “The Rules.” I’m not in love with all Adam’s songs – but that one, and Ghost Town, I do like. I tend to like ‘older’ 80- 90’s music. So, a lot of the current trends in music, hmmm – not so much. have a great weekend 🙂 cheers, Debi


    1. hi Ana, thank you! That is very kind of you, and I’m happy you enjoyed this 🙂 I had a quick look over at your blog, which I’ll try to return to later after work! Thank you, and cheers. Debi

      Liked by 1 person

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