The More You Know

Artistcoveries is, obviously, an art blog, albeit one with an odd-sounding made-up name. I can’t say where it came from. I don’t know. It just came into my head on that March morning when for some unknown reason something took hold of my brain and made me think I should start an art blog.

It was crazy, but I’m glad I listened.

When I began the blog, my definition of art was very limited, my definition of an artist even more so. An artist was someone who could draw. Simple as that. Suffice it to say that I’ve learned a lot over the years, and as Artistcoveries now celebrates its fifth anniversary — or “blogiversary” as it’s sometimes called — I’m amazed, as always, at how it’s grown. I’m amazed, too, at how much my understanding of art has grown.

What pleases me most, I think, is the increased awareness I now have of what it means to be an artist. Yes, I can draw. I’m not great at it, but I can draw. Being an artist, though, is now so much more than that. Being an artist means I know about the elements of art, I know a bit about color theory, I know about different art movements, famous artists, and great works of art.

There’s an old adage that “the more we know, the farther we go,” and I intend to keep going on this art journey. Where I once wondered “How far can I really go with art?”, I’m seeing that there is no real stopping point, is there? We just keep going and going… a bit like an Energizer bunny, I suppose. The possibilities are endless. Imagination is limitless. Art is a never-ending love.

At various times, I’ve written posts in which I’ve compared visual art to other creative pursuits. I’ve thought often of the connections we find between art and music. I’ve drawn analogies with recipes and cooking. I’ve compared rhythm and movement to the elements of dance. I distinctly recall writing one post — Dealing with Disappointment —  based on an article I read that was originally written for ice-skaters.

Art, as I’ve come to know it, is very much a part of life. Not just bits and pieces of it. All of it. Art is anywhere and everywhere when we look for it.

This message was brought home to me earlier today as I sat down for a little “creativity time”. I’d been playing a bit in my art journal, splashing colors across the page. I was working with the theme of “interstellar” inspirations, and my colorful layout reminded me of planets in orbit. I was pleased and set out on a quick search for an appropriate quote. I found this from Carl Sagan:

Across the sea of space

The stars are other suns

After the watercolors had dried, I used a white gel pen to write in those lines, although you might not be able to see them or read them in the image.

It is, admittedly, a simple journal page. I still struggle with art journaling, still feel unsure of what it’s all about other than a bit of creative playtime now and then.

It was at this point, after setting the journal aside, that I turned to a book on building creativity. You know me. I love anything to do with lists, step-by-step directions, or carefully-structured activities. For me, that’s how creativity works. Give me structure, give me a starting point, give me something to grasp hold of, and my imagination kicks into gear.

The book I opened was The 365-Day Creative Journal – Discover Your Creative Force and Make Art Every Day. Now, I don’t use this book on a daily basis. I might pick it up a few times in a month, or it might sit unread for half a year. This is a Kindle Unlimited book. When I opened it on the computer I was at “Day 57”. I love doing things randomly, so Day 57 sounded good enough for me.

I was surprised, though, at what I read. It was not what I expected. It seemed, in fact, to have nothing to do with visual arts or the creative process:

Day 57 – Universe — Do some research about the grandiosity of the universe.

It took me aback. I was set to explore something artsy, ready to unleash my creative energies, all set to take off on some crazy, colorful tangent… and instead I was being told “do some research.”

And then I glanced over at my art journal, saw my colorful pages, thought about the quote from Carl Sagan — about, what else? The universe. Ah, that moment of synchronicity! My cosmos was revolving, messages were coming in, and with a smile, I tuned in to listen.

Creativity is not just making things. Creativity is learning as much as it is doing. Creativity is fueled by imagination and inspiration, and these come — as often as not — from knowledge, from exposure to new ideas, different subjects, experiences beyond our quotidian existence.

I heard the words clearly then. The more we know, the farther we go.

It’s true. Whether we’re off exploring the universe, diving down deep below the seas, planting seeds in the dirt of our garden, or adding spices to soup, every new piece of knowledge we gain increases our creativity.

So, even though this is an art blog, I’m not going to share any new art techniques or show off any recent drawings or paintings. All I’m going to do is tell you to “do some research” — on the universe, if you want, or on any other topic that catches your fancy. Learning, studying, and gathering knowledge are not dull, boring activities that take us away from the creative, artistic side of life. They are, instead, means by which our creative faculties expand — much like the universe itself is said to be expanding.

The point of this post — in addition to saying “Thank you” to all the readers who are along on this journey — is to encourage you to always keep learning, keep looking for new information, keep challenging yourself with new knowledge. Only then can you truly reach the endless possibilities of a limitless universe.

8 Comments

  1. thank you, what a great post to wake up to! Always evolving, growing, learning- the heart of creativity. Lately i have been spending more time watching documentaries on wolves to learn about their habits , family structure and even fur patterns..it always fuels my artistic side

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, learning and growing… so important to our creativity. Especially when certain topics or subjects keep coming up repeatedly like “outer space” has done for me. It’s like a tap on the shoulder saying, “Listen to this, learn about this.” I never know where my creative and/or intuitive voices will lead me, but it’s always fascinating to follow along. And I love learning about nature. Lately I’ve been studying polar bears. The Nature program on PBS will be doing an episode on them soon. I can’t wait to see it. They were also featured in the latest issue of Smithsonian magazine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sounds awesome!! i keep seeing some on Grizzly bears i want to watch, but since i haven’t focused on bears in my art, i will wait till i feel like i’ve gained enough from the wolf films. Following out intuition is important!!

        Liked by 1 person

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