Use Creativity to Spread Joy and Expand Your Life

What about creativity excites you?

How do you recognize those things that move your soul?

What prompts you to start a new project or attempt the re-do of an old one?

These questions and more occur to me after an artist interview. My quest to feature local artists each month causes me to think about my own creativity and talk about it with dozens of others.

This month I lunched with watercolorist David Drummond who keeps a file of his “as-yet-unsuccessful ideas.” He explained he owns hundreds of paintings that don’t work.

“They don’t work because you don’t have the skills to make it work.”

He talked easily about skills, sharing his current experimentation with aquaboard, a medium that represents for him a “frenzy” of trying new things.

“It acts differently than paper,” he said. “Every year there’s more to play with, more choices of materials, more effects, more techniques.”

As I talked with David, I was struck with his curiosity. His passion to expand his repertoire pushes him to stretch, to communicate more effectively through his chosen medium of watercolor.

Successful, award-winning and nationally-recognized, David Drummond is driven to paint.

“A lot of the work you do is in your head,” he laughs. “But if you don’t get it out of your head it doesn’t matter. At some point, you have to organize the idea.”

A physicist, David admits to a short attention span. He concentrates 20 to 30 minutes at a time, claiming to get antsy if it’s more than that. His success comes in part from marking a long-term project into parts rather than grinding away at it for hours.

David, who is most-recognized for water treatment in the art world, teaches his unique method of capturing the subtle variations of light and shadow on water. He spends hours on Lake Powell, one of his favorite subjects.

“I look at the water. I boil it down to its essence, its abstract pattern, and then I paint it from memory.”

According to David, paintings communicate. If people don’t understand the communication, then the artist has failed.

His bottom line: art gives people enjoyment. It lets them escape from things. Joy is in the eye of the beholder. The best applause: people come back and look again.