Quick smart phone photo of what was in my bag from a walk in the park.
Assignments, lists, and limitations are requirements for creativity. When set deadlines you'll truly accomplish your goals. This year I'm jumping on creative goals and using the assignments in How to Be An Explorer of the World (a gift from Fenna) as a warm-up. I'm doing 10 assignments a week for six weeks. Feel free to join! These creative exercises are designed to keep your right-brain sharp and spark inspiration.
Artists and scientists explore the world in similar ways. Observing, collecting, sketching, documenting. Artists try to re-create things of the world, scientists try to solve it's mysteries. Kids do a lot of this, playing outside, collecting bugs in jars. Then we grow older. We stop. We get complacent. We take the world for granted.
You can't work 24/7 and inspiration/creativity cannot be conjured from nowhere. You have to stop. Experiment. Explore. Taking a break and going for a walk is a classic method to get ideas flowing.
Yesterday I realized I hadn't left my apartment except to go to the gym and my Green Lotus Studios classes since the year started! Taking a "long un-taken" route to the grocery store, the houses, parks, and shops along the way felt fresh and new to me again. Yep, it's definitely time to get out every day and take photos again.
Week 1: Explorations 1-10 (out of 59)
Exploration #1) Right [sic] where you are sitting
Write ten things about where you are sitting right now that you hadn't noticed when you sat down. Use your senses. Do it quickly. Do not censor. Okay, begin.
Exploration #2) Experience Collection
Make a list of things that you notice on your travels or experiences you have. They could be very brief notes including location, time, date etc.
Exploration #3) Light
Collect objects based on how they reflect light. List the different qualities, such as reflective, translucent, refracting, mottled, etc. (Try to collect thirty objects.)
Start to pay attention to light patterns, reflections, and projects. Consider that they are everywhere. Document them.
Exploration #4) Daily Walk
Collect objects on on your way to work or school every day. (Try to collect thirty)
Exploration #5) The First Thing You See
Start a collection based n the first found object you see on your walk, whatever that is. You decide what the connection between the object is (can be based on shape, color, size, etc.)
Thrifters, collectors, we all tend to be creative and explorers. Curious about the world.
Exploration #6) Archaeological Dig
Collect Objects that relate to your childhood or inspire memories. Write a brief story to accompany each object.
Alternate: Re-Create objects from your childhood using ground objects or readily available materials (such as cardboard, glue, string, tape, leaves, wood, or rocks). You may choose to re-create your childhood room on a miniature scale using found materials.
Exploration #7) World of Colors
Collect paint chips from a paint or hardware store. Find colors you respond to in the world. Attempt to match them using the chips. (You can also match the colors using a portable paint set.) Make notes of where you saw the colors.
Alternate: Document colors from your favorite books. Your dreams. Your memories.
Exploration #8) Cracks
Map out pavement cracks in your neighborhood.
Exploration #9) Case of Curiosities
Collect objects that you do not understand or have meaning for.
Alternate: Miniature Museum
Collect only very small things. Store them in a mint tin or small box.
Exploration #10) One Thing
Choose an everyday object. This can be something you find on the street or something you have. Look at the top half of the object for fifteen minutes. Record everything you see there in detail. Then do the same for the bottom half. The longer you look the more you will see.
I'll post the follow-up to week one along with the next assignments for the week January10th.
Got any creative challenges going on for the new year? I have a couple of creative photo challenge books to play with, a list of my own photography challenges, and mixed media and painting to work on. With all the blog, creative, work, teaching, and class things going on it's good to have this list of explorations to help me de-stress and clear the mind for fresh ideas.