The Unfamiliar, the Zany, and the Seemingly Crazy

Many of us are trained from early on to give too much consideration to the opinion of others. It’s not until we’re adults that we realize we don’t need someone else’s permission to be unique. We often hold back, refraining from saying what we really want to say or do. I’ll admit that there’s absolutely a time and a place for restraint, but I don’t think that time is in your art and self-expression.

Tapping into your art, and I mean YOUR art, involves finding out who you are and not being afraid to be different. I thrive on involvement with interesting people and things. One of my favorite questions to ask someone when we first meet is, “What do you love to do?” I don’t care about the weather or traffic. Tell me what you breathe for.

Melanie Rothschild, artist and author of The Art of Mistakes, is here to reassure us all that, as she says, we’re not going to get arrested if we push our own artistic boundaries and experiment. No one will chastise you.

Drips on Stripes by Melanie Rothschild, featured in The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking

“Understanding the nature of creativity helps us to embrace developing a wide spectrum of ideas—including the unfamiliar, the zany, the seemingly crazy, the never been done before, and an appreciation of certain mistakes,” Melanie says. “You just never know what’s going to spawn the germ of a thought that could be developed into something spectacular. And you don’t want to cut off any ideas that could ultimately turn out to be the next opposable thumb. If ideas are tamped down in the very early stage when all the potentials are strewn about, the best of the bunch might be left out because of an assumption that ‘it could never work.’ Premature judgments are the antithesis of a creative mind-set. (Tweet this art quote)

“Grasping appreciation for the tremendous value in exploring ideas and respecting the function of play is crucial in developing a creative approach to thinking. For artists, it should not only be permission, but a downright insistence on trying out all kinds of possibilities with abandon. It’s not just that it’s allowed. It’s more the case that it’s essential.

“And this same principle of developing and tolerating a wild, crazy spectrum of ideas, again, applies not only to artists, but to anyone interested in creative thinking of any sort. Whether it’s about arranging a way to get to the airport or coming up with the next tech sensation, generating and entertaining broad and imaginative possibilities are at the heart of a creative mind-set.” ~M.R.

One way to understand and appreciate creativity is to read about it. I have an entire shelf of books dedicated to the subject, and what’s interesting is that every time I read one, I find myself coming up with new ideas. They’re random, plentiful, sometimes winners, and sometimes duds, but I’d rather have too many ideas than not enough. I can’t wait to see more of what Melanie has to say in The Art of Mistakes, so I can continue to tap into that wonderful wealth of inspiration.

Wishing you endless creativity,


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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