The Bright Side, original nonobjective watercolor by Woody HansenTHE BRIGHT SIDE – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more about this painting, including purchase information, click on image.


Relative to Fine Art one might ask, What is creativity, how do we recognize it, and what is its real worth?

Many consider Rollo May’s book, The Courage To Create, something akin to the artist’s creative bible.

“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. ”– Rollo May

I recently spent a few enjoyable hours searching the Internet for definitions and opinions of creativity. I came up with a wealth of material some of which follows.


1. The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Synonyms: Inventiveness, imagination, innovation, innovativeness, originality, individuality; artistry, inspiration, vision; enterprise, initiative. (SOURCE: (Google)

2. The quality of being creative. First known use of the term CREATIVITY, 1875. (SOURCE: Merriam Webster Dictionary

3. The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.(SOURCE: Oxford Dictionaries

Of course the above definitions raise the highly subjective and controversial question of what qualifies as an “artistic work.” When a work is considered artistic, do we automatically label it creative? Are all creative works artistic? To what degree are artistic works creative, or vice versa? What do the famous and not so famous think about creativity?  As the saying goes, “Stay tuned.”


Want to learn watercolor, or brush upon your skills? Check out my upcoming watercolor classes and workshops. All levels welcome.



For those of us who enjoy insightful comments concerning the creative process, the web page QUOTES ABOUT CREATIVITY, is an excellent repository. Here are a few representative quotes.

I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking. –  Albert Einstein

Creativity takes courage. –  Henri Matisse

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down –Kurt Vonnegut,

Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. –Pablo Picasso

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun. – Pablo Picasso

When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time.  Lady Gaga

Doors are for people with no imagination. – Derek Landy,

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. – Sylvia Plath

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to. – MovieMaker Magazine #53 – Winter, Jan., 22, 2004. Jim  Jarmusch

The chief enemy of creativity is good sense. – Pablo Picasso

Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty — describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds — wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. – And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. – Rainer Maria Rilke

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. – Ken Robinson

The last time somebody pointed out that cowboys ride horses, not tricycles, I shot him. Of course, I waited until another gunslinger gunned him down, but nevertheless, I still shot him. – Jarod Kintz

I left the above quote to the last, because it hit close to home. Several years ago I painted a couple of American Indians (on horseback), overlooking Sacramento’s  American River. A well-meaning fellow painter quickly informed me that historically there were no known American indians along this particular stretch of river. Of course, I did not “shoot” my friend. However, for a split second the thought did cross my mind (grin). As the late watercolorist Henry Fukuhara (1913-2010) said, a painter “can move mountains.” So why not imaginary American Indians?




Leave a Reply