When do ideas happen?

Dear Artist, Recent research, aimed at finding specific triggers that result in good ideas, better solutions and bouts of creativity, has confirmed my own favourite times when stuff happens. Here are a few: When we step away: Focusing at your workstation doesn’t always work, particularly if you do too much of it. Leave your cubicle or studio and step into a new environment. Great stuff is ready to grab out there, floating in the ether. When we’re in transition: Waking up, falling asleep, showering, tubbing or going to the bathroom are hot times for new ideas. We need to trust the possibilities of fleeting brain waves at these times and take the trouble to knock them down for further study. When we’re drinking: Moderate drinking gives confidence and gusto. A 2012 study at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that students who drank enough to raise their blood-alcohol level to 0.075 performed better on tests of insight than sober students. When we’re doing chores: This may be one of the reasons why so many artists prefer to have their studios at home. I absolutely don’t want this sort of information passed around, but I personally find stimulation in washing cars, taking out the garbage, and helping our gardener move bags of manure. When we’re satisfied: A relatively fulfilled life calms the mind and enriches the ground for idea growth. I’ve tried frustration, anger, disappointment, tiredness and misery, and they all work to a degree, but joyous satisfaction and a sense of élan work best. When we’re daydreaming: It turns out that daydreaming is one of the most valuable things that creative people do. Even the fantasizing of chicks that bedevils a lot of men apparently hastens bubble-up ideas from the subconscious that have nothing to do with women. What women need to fantasize, I’m not sure. When we see green: Green surroundings, whether green-painted walls or the green outdoors, suggest new growth, rebirth, fertility and renewal–just one of the reasons why a walk in the park can be so fruitful. Feeling non-creative in the studio? Squeeze out some green.

Comfortable within your personal space, a pleasant being clarifies the wisdom of the private creative life.

Best regards, Robert PS: “When students were given creativity tests, those whose test-cover pages had a green background gave more creative answers than those whose pages were white, blue, red or grey.” (Sue Shellenbarger, reporting in the Wall Street Journal) Esoterica: Personal and unique fetishes can be useful as well. For a steady flow of creativity, easel-time foot-massage has been recommended, as has military marching music played loudly. I notice slight rises when I consult or share minor triumphs with Dorothy the Airedale. She is non-confrontational, always eager, never critical, and I know she’s quite fond of me. Sometimes she likes my creativity so much she sleeps on it. In other words, she’s a low-maintenance muse. ‘Scuse me, she just came in, and now she wants out.   Teenage students answer the question by Dennis Potter, Hsinchu, Taiwan   I have taught Art in Middle and High school for almost 30 years (I am now “retired” or taking a break). I have taken this poll for most of those years. Question: When do you get your best art ideas? Answers: (surprisingly consistent) 1. Sleeping, half asleep, dreaming, napping 2. Bathroom activities, mainly showering. 3. Practicing. Sports, piano, dance, etc. 4. Riding in the car, especially long distances. (These are kids too young to drive.) 5. Math class I’ve had lots of wonderful exceptions and variations and wish I could remember some of them. Like getting your hair cut. But, there was a huge majority that agreed on the above, with surprise and delight that no one said “in art class” ever! There are 6 comments for Teenage students answer the question by Dennis Potter
From: Linda harbison — Apr 12, 2013

I had to laugh at number 5. It brought back memories of sitting in math class planning out my next painting on the margins of my notebook paper.

From: Anna Rolin — Apr 12, 2013

I liked number 5 too. I still have the paper book-cover of my math book. I doodled and designed all sorts of wonderful thing on it. As for math……

From: Dennis — Apr 12, 2013

I drew so much in math class that the paper cover on my math book would leave my fathers hands black when he “helped” me do homework. He was furious.

From: Jim Oberst — Apr 12, 2013

I love math. I think much of math is very creative… who can’t remember trying to figure out how to prove a geometry theorem? And calculus… understanding infinitesimals and infinite series well enough to be able to create a formula for the area of a shape, or the volume of an object. Arithmetic isn’t exciting, but for “real” math, creativity is required. So I’m not at all surprised at number 5. Their minds were already in creative gear.

From: tatjana — Apr 12, 2013

Math is all about patterns rooted in nature, but still many people don’t like it. Maybe it’s due to poor math education.

From: Anonymous — Apr 14, 2013
  Key: Kill left side of brain by Norman Ridenour, Prague, Czech Republic  

oak wooden bowl
by Norman Ridenour

The key is to kill the left side of the brain that Western society tells us is all important. Dreaming is right-brained; so exactly falling asleep, waking or even rolling over at 2:00 am will let the door open to right brain activity. Meditation works as well. For me, travel works, new things to see, smell (highly overlooked sense), taste. Even a new part of Prague where I have not been for a year or so sharpens perception. I teach a course titled Art History, but it really is Visual Perception. The students are business majors, mostly non-Western and a majority Moslem (no images in the culture). One student project is to take at least a dozen photos of things in the environment/ surroundings which is art but not in a gallery or museum. Then use them to make a class presentation and explain why they are art. In Prague it is not a challenge but they just do not perceive door handles, doors, hand forged gates, stained glass windows, mosaic brick walls or paving, ornate gate arches. In the end I get some really good presentations, but I often have to push even after showing some of my shots. I get some really remarkable results.   Value of the mundane by Len Boyd, Halifax, NS, Canada  

“October Saviours”
acrylic painting
by Len Boyd

I find that the best remedy for a frustrating episode of ‘painter’s cabin fever’ is to go downstairs into our garage and punch away a few rounds on the old Everlast heavy punch bag to relieve tension, followed by a nice car ride down picturesque St. Margaret’s Bay Road and witness the ocean’s gentle, undulating waves as they kiss the aged rocky shores. A short stop at Tim Horton’s for coffee on my way home is a nice conclusion to this well deserved getaway. Sometimes staring at the simplest, mundane things can trigger a bout of instant creativity — things like watching the way the milk dissolves into a tall mug of coffee, exploring its patterns and form. I often sit on a rock next to the ocean’s surf and watch the true mechanics of a wave, how it starts, folds over itself, splashes down and finally dissipates into the sandy shore.   Finding a creative solution by Brenda Behr, Goldsboro, NC, USA  

“Still life with onion and turnip”
oil painting
by Brenda Behr

Before I was a full time painter, I was a full time idea generator. In a past life in Minneapolis, I was an art director in the crazy industry we call advertising. In advertising done right, like the wonderful ad commercials we love during the Super Bowl, Idea is King. Here’s what I find works. Finding a creative solution is much like making a wonderful stew. Put every ingredient into the pot that even remotely relates to that stew. Lastly, add your creative juices and a prayer. Put the pot on a burner set on low to simmer indefinitely. Walk away from it, go to bed, take a shower, watch TV, whatever. Essentially, forget about it. When the stew is done, like a whistling tea kettle, it will let you know. It will whistle loud and clear with, most often, a brilliant solution. Like looking for a lost object — when you stop looking for it, it will magically appear. Great ideas are the product of our subconscious mind. There is 1 comment for Finding a creative solution by Brenda Behr
From: Mary Aslin — Apr 12, 2013

This comment by you Brenda and the comment before by Len are beautifully expressed.

  The power of interaction by Blair Pessemier, Paris, France  

“View from Upper Villefranche”
acrylic painting
by Blair Pessemier

Albert Einstein was 8 years old when he was caught acting up in class. As a punishment, the teacher gave him the task of adding all numbers from one to one hundred. In less than two seconds, he announced the answer: 5,050. Einstein had realized there were 50 pairs of numbers that added to 101 (one and one hundred, two and ninety-nine, three and ninety-eight, etc.). The trick to creativity is to constantly look at things in new ways. Einstein described “insanity” as doing the same task over and over, while expecting the result to change. Technology sticks us in a rut. To view things differently, we need to be in contact with the world outside ourselves. Contact with nature and others forces us to be surprised and to look at things differently. Creativity is not about marketing labels or company slogans. These are things that tie you to old patterns of thought. More and more interaction gives you new ways to view familiar subjects. The result is growth, and appreciation of the universe we share. There are 5 comments for The power of interaction by Blair Pessemier
From: Anonymous — Apr 11, 2013
From: ken flitton — Apr 12, 2013

How was Calculus discovered and by whom? Does anyone know the short answer to this?

From: Mary Aslin — Apr 12, 2013
From: Jackie Knott — Apr 12, 2013

I also read that article in the WSJ. For a scientist to state there is value in the liberal arts is almost heresy … loved that. It appears the creative mind is liberated outside a given specialty.

From: Laurel R — Apr 12, 2013

You said “Creativity is not about marketing labels or company slogans”. You may not like what creativity is used for, but the process Brenda describes works in very difficult circumstances… Like satisfying clients, by solving problems, with genius results, within deadlines. Great advertising has many problems to solve at once. You know it when you see it, just like all great art. Some of the old stuff was ground-breaking and truly an art on it’s own. Brenda’s process can also work for random, non-vital idea generating, but is best when their are many problems to solve, and high quality is wanted.

  Playing with paints by Terrie Christian, Plymouth, MN, USA  

watercolour painting
by Terrie Christian

My favorite way of initiating creativity is when I allow myself just to “play” with paint. I begin with a wet paper and charge in colors that “speak” to me from my palette at that moment. I may sometimes tilt the paper so that they run together. Just watching them merge together in their own patterns that I have not pre-ordained gets my play gene happy. After they are dry, I take a sharpie marker and choose places to darken with no plan in mind. I tend to think plans get in the way of creativity! After I have done this, often some representational thing emerges when I look at the whole painting. In process, I do not concentrate on the whole, but the area that I am working on. Mostly I allow where the colors went to guide my pen. When my eye finds something representational (if it does) then I enhance that thing I see. Having started out with classical realism, ending up in this more abstract preference is a stunning thing. Now I find the realism a bit boring most of the time. I say playing with paints charges the creative battery! In the case of “Guitar” the only enhancement that I made was slight broken line indicating strings.   Recording ideas before they vanish by Beaman Cole, NH, USA  

“Gazebo girl”
oil painting
by Beaman Cole

In my experience creative ideas come and then disappear into the ether unless they are somehow recorded. In my career I have maintained a 9×12 sketchbook as my near constant companion. I think of it as a sketchbook and journal. I use it to record every single creative idea I get. At the top of my page I write the word, “IDEA” followed by a brief written description. Under this are sketches of the idea in pen, pencil or colored pencil, if I feel color notes are needed. If ever I need a creative spark, my sketchbooks are full of them in addition to many other sketches. Several times a year I find myself recording ideas in the middle of the night, for I’ve found that if I don’t they are gone from my memory by morning. There is 1 comment for Recording ideas before they vanish by Beaman Cole
From: Anonymous — Apr 12, 2013

If I did this I would be spending all my time recording ideas and none creating paintings. I am flooded with ideas constantly and the only way for me is to let the strongest ones make it into my work naturally.

  A writer’s method by Cindy Matthews, Waterloo, ON, Canada   After a long walk with my dog, I often hit my in-home studio. There, I have a Lazy Boy lounger on which I recline to brainstorm and daydream. From that perch I can view my writing and art areas. Words of inspiration dot the walls around me. I can often be found with a pencil or Sharpie, sketching ideas that arise from letting my mind wander. Those ideas can inform my art or my writing or both. I truly believe that the walks in nature and the reflection time are key. So true that ideas often spring out and up during the most mundane of tasks such as vacuuming, spreading manure or yanking weeds from a garden.   The medium of pets by Kat Corrigan, Minneapolis, MN, USA  

original painting
by Kat Corrigan

I find green to be incredibly inspiring, and will often wear it in the dull greys of winter just for a punch of energy! Of course, the dog inspires creativity as well, and when I can’t seem to come up with a reasonable excuse to get out of the house by myself, I can always use Gus as my excuse — he won’t hesitate to demonstrate his need for a walk. As I trot along behind his robustly wagging hindquarters, I find myself slipping into the non-thinking thinking that leads to my best ideas. Just letting my eyes wander around, especially now, as the snow melts into the muddy slush and the green bits of things find their way to the surface, there is so much for a painter to see! The clouds, the rain, those greys always seem to intensify the greens and make them reverberate with the life being flushed through them. And I can lay all this creativity at the feet of my dog who has caused me to start a couple of annual daily painting projects. I love to paint animals, but thought they weren’t ever going to be taken seriously and so attempted abstraction (which I still feel compelled to explore) and landscapes, with skies, wires and trees. I love shapes and spaces, and finally realized I like to translate those through the medium of dog, most particularly their hind ends and haunches. Fortunately, I have also discovered that many people love their pets, too, and so I started doing “30 in 30” Projects in 2010, asking people for photos of their pets, not expecting to sell many. I just wanted outside pressure to force me to work — much like Gus forces me to walk, or at least provides that excuse I somehow find necessary. I think that is part of being a woman sometimes, a feeling of needing to justify taking time for yourself. At any rate, I know I need deadlines and external deadlines and have figured out a way to make this work for me! So, this will be my fourth July of painting one dog a day, and I just completed my third annual March project of painting one cat per day, and have the Opening Party this weekend. There are 4 comments for The medium of pets by Kat Corrigan
From: Catherine McLay — Apr 11, 2013

Love your cat!

From: angie — Apr 12, 2013

i love the sad little face of this cat just want to hug her/him

From: Mikki Dillon — Apr 12, 2013

Me too! Really captured the feeling…and I have 3 cats! :-)

From: Jan — Apr 12, 2013

Absolutely love this painting, Kat. Could you share with us what this medium is? Fabulous!


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for When do ideas happen?

From: Kathryn — Apr 09, 2013

Maybe the drinking research is new, but I have certainly heard all the other ways explaining when we get ideas. Usually, ideas come to us in a relaxed state. BUT Robert, you have unfortunately left out one crucial piece of information. Perhaps the research you read did not properly explain a crucial stage. It’s the searching/extending effort stage. It is likely that we have seen an Olympic athlete score a perfect ten. Her performance may seem guided by angels, but if we dig into the process of learning, we know this is far from the truth. If you don’t put in the long hours of struggle, learning, improving, stumbling, working through confusion… the craft will not come and so it is for ideas as well. All the great inventors have commented about a stage of trial and error. Their minds are busy trying to make a connection of one idea to another. They may be searching for one factor or idea that bridges two unrelated ideas together. They know their science and all the technical details and sort through the information looking for a hit. The wheels of their brain are spinning and continue to spin even when they stop to rest. It’s as if they did all the mixing of ingredients to make a cake, stuck it in the oven and all that is needed is to trust the process and wait. After the decision to find an idea, search, look around, gather thoughts, there is a “fermentation” process that looks like relaxation, taking walks, eliminating stress, taking a bath…then the idea hits us. Even if we come up with an idea instantly without the effort I mentioned, you can be sure that the idea was probably stewing for days, months, or even years before. You just weren’t aware of it. “Great stuff is ready to grab out there, floating in the ether. ” Nope, nope, nope – It comes to us in a relaxed state after we extend effort. (Yep, no way of avoiding work.) Perhaps we forget about the effort put into an idea because we are unaware of the process or it came slowly over time. Maybe we made a connection through being inspired by someone else’s art. Or we even swiped the idea from another artist. (OK, but the idea better be in alignment with your vision that you’ve been stewing about, or else you’re going nowhere in the long run.There is a difference between a copycat/parrot and someone who snatches up and idea and take ownership of it in their own way.) A potential flaw in viewing the creative process is to focus only on the feeling of getting the hit when we are relaxed and not appreciate the effort or focus needed (even though, at times, it’s a slow brew instead of a flash of inspiration.) Appreciate the rush of adrenaline when we get that flash of inspiration while taking a walk, but don’t fool yourself that it came down from the ethers. It was likely, stewing in your brain all along and you finally made the connection — or you saw an existing idea and made the connection with your own artwork.

From: Kathryn — Apr 09, 2013

You don’t get to enjoy the easy ride downhill unless you pedal uphill first.

From: Rick — Apr 09, 2013

I have found the reason for the marvelous ideas was to get away from chore that was just that a chore. The ideas flood the mind while feeling forced to do those mundane jobs.

From: Elle Fagan — Apr 09, 2013

After an impoverishing disability, now joyfully mended, I must agree with you that seeing green – particularly on USD bills – can be most inspiring!

From: Ann Young — Apr 09, 2013

What about walking? For me, walking is the thing. Often, when I start out on a two hour walk, I have no particular thoughts, but come home with a fully formed painting or sculpture idea.

From: Derek Sands — Apr 09, 2013

I find that working itself generates ideas. As the brush continues to move, my mind slides into a rich display of possibilities. Many of these I reject, but others are stored and I positively vibrate until they have been further thought through or expressed.

From: Yves Hollande — Apr 09, 2013

You mentioned transition. Driving a car is one of those times. My studio is a short drive from home but that time is valuable to me. A car is a sort of no man’s land, neither there nor here, the actions required are automatic and rote. The mind slips into assembly mode. It’s important for me not to turn on the car radio for this short period.

From: Martin Pascal — Apr 09, 2013

I’m not sure about being satisfied. I think frustration may be more valuable.

From: Barbara in Chandler, AZ — Apr 09, 2013

I’m with Yves on this. Driving is a big part of my creative time (amazing how I get home), 35 minutes each way to work. Also, after a workshop, which sometimes feels like a waste of time and money, the learning process may take a month or so while it “cooks” in my mind. Then, it starts to show up in the art.

From: Alana Dill — Apr 09, 2013

I second all these. Mild sleep deprivation actually seems to help me as dreamlike thoughts are easy to access (maybe because I abstain from mind-altering substances). Collaboration is also a wonderful tool. “Beautiful corpse” projects, group projects based on a theme, literally working hands-on with other body painters on a single subject can be so … communal. Harmoniously stimulating? But it really requires someone who understands the work and is comfortable with my work style, which is semi-improvisational. I used to think artists were supposed to be miserable and crazy and splendidly isolated. Wrong. I do some of my best work with people around me. I think the chatter helps me focus for some reason (mild adult ADD factors in).

From: Anon — Apr 09, 2013

…students who drank enough to raise their blood-alcohol level to 0.075 performed better on tests of insight than sober students It should be pointed out that those students won’t be able to drive home (in BC anyway) as that is above the legal limit. I can’t imagine writing a test after having a few drinks. Wouldn’t work for me.

From: Mary MacClure — Apr 09, 2013

I was surprised to learn that some men fantasize about young chickens. This was new to me.

From: Gins Doolittle — Apr 09, 2013

We are all grateful of concise precise universal truths that bring to us a light into our own soul & wanderings. I will stop thinking and replace my expectations with a forward step into the “experience”, to a realm where thinking stops and intuition instructs me.

From: Betty Covington — Apr 09, 2013

Reading your Newsletter today, has been a big help to me! I recently finished a painting of mine in oils, and now I just don’t know what to paint next. I don’t drink, but I feel like an Alcoholic, in very bad need of a new subject to paint.

From: Janice Schlosser — Apr 09, 2013

….in response to whatever you find titillating, here in the country when my dog, Emily, rolls in particularly old manure (but not the treated stuff in bags), I find myself very filled with vigor and inspiration

From: Carol Chapel — Apr 09, 2013

Don’t forget the meditative effects of driving. I suppose heavy traffic might not enhance the muse though.

From: Erica Hawkes — Apr 09, 2013

I don’t find to many issues in coming up with ideas, my problem comes when I have to decide which to do first? Do I sketch my daughter or start a painting? Sometimes its the indecision that slows productivity! Lately I have used this limbo space by filling the time with marketing, contacting galleries and research. That way even when I am not creating, I am putting effort towards finding homes for the paintings when they do emerge into reality! As to the green theme, I love “spring green” it is my favorite color all year. Not only a color it is a fresh promise of good things to come. A promise of potential and new beginnings, It fills me with happiness and joy and makes me inspired!

From: Andrea Loeppky — Apr 09, 2013

I was particularly struck by your comments about the impact on creativity of the colour Green; that may explain a lot for me personally. You see, I moved to a new home/studio recently in a rural area north of Toronto. Where I previously had vast vistas to gaze out on, now I am surrounded by forests and a small lake. My studio has floor to ceiling windows looking out at the greenery. After almost a year away from my easel, over the past 6 months I have been painting like never before and the results have been consistently good. Growth, rebirth, renewal seems to have taken a firm hold, so I guess I owe it all to the colour green!

From: Marinus Verhagen — Apr 09, 2013

“What women need to fantasize, I’m not sure.” Why don’t we ask them? Ladies, please fill the clickbacks with your answers!

From: Judy Schroeder — Apr 09, 2013

Recently I was at the dentist having my teeth cleaned. I wanted the time to go quickly so I began planning paintings that were to be used as examples in an upcoming workshop. Apparently I was so quiet that I worried the dentist. She asked how I was doing multiple times. I got LOTS of ideas.

From: Katy Allgeyer — Apr 09, 2013

“Chicks”? Really? Robert you could have made your point in your professional artist’s newsletter without the use of denegrating slang terms for women. I don’t object to you saying it in the pub with your mates whilst out drinking up some ideas, dude, but not in this forum. Please!? ;-)

From: woman — Apr 09, 2013

Women fantasize about the same things as men – there are chicks of both gender.

From: Kat Corrigan — Apr 09, 2013

I teach Adult Painting Lessons out of my studio and always have my students subscribe to your letter because I think your perspective is sensible and approachable and understandable. I am also a Middle and Upper School art teacher at an Independent School in Minnesota and have those students look at your words as well. It is tough to be an artist, because it means you have to figure a lot of it out yourself. There is so much wisdom in your letters, and such great modeling and honesty of how it is to be an artist.

From: Carol Putman — Apr 09, 2013

I’m with Mary … surprised to hear that men fantasize about chickens. May I ask why chickens?

From: Marcy G — Apr 09, 2013
From: doris — Apr 09, 2013

I went green today! class assignment was Tuscany. All I could see were the cypress trees. I have a good start on a painting. Think green, red, yellow and some violet. I am still experimenting with color.

From: Linda — Apr 09, 2013

Chicks? Somehow, everything else you wrote lost all importance. I find that word offensive in this context and from you. You could have simply said women.

From: Rebecca Myrkle — Apr 09, 2013

I found that working at pottery would start out okay and get better and better as I continued to work and usually at the end of the day or actually for me , in the middle of the night, the best pieces would be made. The awesome pieces always came in the silence of the night with some quiet music in the backround. I was a handbuilder and always looking for this for texture , all the time. and Ideas always went up on the bullentin board for future use. But for me there was something alway’s given to me in the night. love, love

From: Sharon L Hicks — Apr 10, 2013

I’m afraid I too have to agree with those who commented on your choice of wording for male fantasies … in this day and age there are far more neutral terms for phrasing this … calling us “chicks” – or “old hens”, as the case may be – conjures up a negative image in the minds of thinking women everywhere. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. Otherwise your writing makes a lot of sense.

From: Nancy — Apr 10, 2013

Does the term “hunk” offend men?

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Apr 10, 2013

That’s right! Hunk!!! No female anywhere has ever sexually derogatorily referred to some male somewhere as an object- right?

From: Marvin Humphrey — Apr 10, 2013

It’s been said that thoughts are like wild geese: they’re here for a brief moment, loud and boisterous, then they’re gone. In transitional times, I must act quickly with pencil and paper as they melt into the ether. And chicks were born to give me fever, be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade.

From: Jackie Knott — Apr 11, 2013

A change of scenery or activity always refreshes. If you’re bogged down and sitting … get up and walk. If you’re in a funk and don’t care to socialize, go somewhere purposely to mix with people. If you’re driving, take a different route to wherever … try a restaurant you’ve never been to before, a store you’ve not been in, and if possible travel. Anything to shake up the norm. Habit is nothing more than habit and it is too easy to wallow in it. As artists we’re guilty of always being on the look for inspiration. But, in the pursuit of refreshment we just might discover that idea.

From: Terrie Christian — Apr 11, 2013

I enclose an abstract that debunks some of the ideas that have been proposed for where creativity and insight come from but does separate them from the information gathered so far. It is always of great interest to me the process of empirical observation connecting to the science of the body. The brain is still mysterious, but maybe others would like to know what the science says so far. Your list of when Ideas happen is probably better than current science. Thank you so much for the gift you give of keeping artists all over the world connected to each other and sharing what works for them! “Abstract: Creativity is a cornerstone of what makes us human, yet the neural mechanisms underlying creative thinking are poorly understood. A recent surge of interest into the neural underpinnings of creative behavior has produced a banquet of data that is tantalizing but, considered as a whole, deeply self-contradictory. We review the emerging literature and take stock of several long-standing theories and widely held beliefs about creativity. A total of 72 experiments, reported in 63 articles, make up the core of the review. They broadly fall into 3 categories: divergent thinking, artistic creativity, and insight. Electroencephalographic studies of divergent thinking yield highly variegated results. Neuroimaging studies of this paradigm also indicate no reliable changes above and beyond diffuse prefrontal activation. These findings call into question the usefulness of the divergent thinking construct in the search for the neural basis of creativity. A similarly inconclusive picture emerges for studies of artistic performance, except that this paradigm also often yields activation of motor and temporoparietal regions. Neuroelectric and imaging studies of insight are more consistent, reflecting changes in anterior cingulate cortex and prefrontal areas. Taken together, creative thinking does not appear to critically depend on any single mental process or brain region, and it is not especially associated with right brains, defocused attention, low arousal, or alpha synchronization, as sometimes hypothesized. To make creativity tractable in the brain, it must be further subdivided into different types that can be meaningfully associated with specific neurocognitive processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)”

From: Karen Frelinghuysen — Apr 11, 2013

I often get ideas while driving. I remember reading that movement stimulates the part of the brain that controls ideas.

From: Edward Davidson — Apr 11, 2013

I love reading you. I can’t imagine anybody not. Do you ever have discussions w/the long dead? I’m not talking about recent departures. They’re so much more emotional if less opinionated than people who haven’t been around for a long time. Those guys always seem to know what they’re talking about; they’re forceful. Sometimes I ask a long-time-deceased friend or (seldom) relative what they think of where I’ve got to since ‘them’ and how I’ve gotten here. Often they’re pleased w/my progress. But sometimes one or t’other of ’em will respond, “Nice, but you know I’d perish if you inflicted THAT on me.” I know the people I talk to like that very well and so, like Arte Johnson the resulting ideas can be “VERY Interesting.” I argue a lot w/my German Stepfather. He has yet to come up w/any good ideas. He was known to be unimaginative. He and I wrestle while walking. The act is locomotive like the well-greased gears of a glider. Once you get going, it takes a while to glide to a stop. Unlike me, he never stops of his own accord. Sometimes I just give up, hop off while the machine’s still moving and come inside to transcribe the fodder.

From: Zach Chow — Apr 11, 2013

Chicks are good because they stimulate the male to show off and my reputation is to be imaginative and chicks like imaginative guys.

From: Arnold Forster — Apr 11, 2013

Regarding driving, the hum of the car is like a meditative mantra that causes the flow to start especially when driving in pastoral areas where you don’t have to be too alert.

From: Susan Kellogg, Austin, TX — Apr 12, 2013

Yves and Barbara and Arnold have mentioned driving. Driving is a right brained activity…that is why we miss the exit! Some left brained intellectuals are the worst drivers…too many decisions to be made in word/thought brain, not being willing to trust the other side of the brain.

From: Susan Kellogg, Austin, TX — Apr 12, 2013

I forgot to mention Karen’s interesting thought, too. Sorry!

From: Verna Korkie — Apr 12, 2013

Hmmm. Chicks. At my age, I would be thrilled to be called a chick. Relax ladies and lighten up. We burned our bras years ago.

From: Ziva — Apr 12, 2013

Actually driving is not a left brain activity – nor a right brain one. Measuring of the brain activity of experienced drivers showed no brain activity whatsoever. Scary! Somehow our lizard brain can drive just fine without any human participation. Our brain is left to do what it likes the best – daydream!

     Featured Workshop: Jerry Markham
041213_robert-genn Jerry Markham workshops Held in Okanagan, BC, Canada   The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. 

Alta Lake Marsh

acrylic painting by Susie Cipolla, Whistler, BC, Canada

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