Creativity with the capital “C”

Years and years ago there was this girl in my art class who always effortlessly used to get the best grades. I remember feeling so frustrated because I kept trying to figure out how she did it. Was it the blue? Was she using more yellow colour than I did? Was it something about her techniques and strokes? Her ideas – maybe she picked better subjects to draw? Perhaps it was because she was very likeable? Or maybe – there was some Art or Creativity with the capital letter that I just couldn’t grasp and access?

I was reminded of this a couple of weekends ago, when I had a chance to spend a few hours at a workshop with a famous Spanish illustrator Javier Zabala. The workshop was organized by the Traveler’s Company – the makers of the Traveler’s Notebook (have a look at my Instagram page to see mine) – and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the creative artists I’d been following on Instagram and to visit Javier’s studio. You should have seen the amount of paintings and drawings that he has made over the years! It was incredible to reflect on how much he had let all this creativity and artistic expression flow through him – regardless of the outcome, regardless of whether anyone would like it, even regardless of whether he would like it!

The point of the workshop was to stretch us to come out of our comfort zone, and it really felt that way for me. But even more interesting was the return of my old question – is there some Art or Creativity with the capital letter that is only reserved for and can be accessed by a handful of acknowledged ones? Or could it be that art and creativity are in all that we do, something that is inherent and completely indivisible from who we are? Isn’t everything ultimately a creative experience – from a grand vision that spans centuries to the smallest detail, like the way we mindfully arrange a sandwich, knit a sock, or comb our child? Every action is a creative expression as we bring new energy into a space or put together atoms that were apart before. Because we are creators, that’s who we are. We are here to conjure up and create new worlds.

And what blocks us, similarly to how I felt all those years ago, is all this continuous comparison. Am I doing it the same way? Am I using enough blue or yellow? Am I as “like”-able as this other person? And we just stop our own flow. But creation and creativity are inherent in who we are. We need to remember that.

So what wants to be created through you today?

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