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JND Consulting

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The Desire to Create

Over the past year as I have begun the process of developing my artistic talents I have been able to think a lot about why I have such a strong desire to develop my artistic ability. It seems to me that every human being at birth has a desire to create beautiful things and that over time this desire is either pushed aside so much that it becomes inaudible or it is given room to grow and expand until the person has no other choice but to begin creating. I feel that true joy comes when we are creating new and valuable things.

We live in a world where this desire to create is often satiated with empty calories of creation or by distracting us with less valuable things. Reality television, online social networking, video games, and 24/7 TV programming often keep us from doing that which will make us truly happy. Now I have nothing against any of these things but I think it is simply a choice of what is better and more fulfilling. I don’t think any of these things are bad but just that our time could be more wisely spent. I often come home from work and start watching TV and next thing I know it is 11 pm and I haven’t done anything with my time that has a lasting effect.

When I die no one will stand up at my funeral and talk about how much joy my TV watching has brought them. However they might talk about the beautiful things I made. But first I need to make them.

The Road I Have Traveled So Far

Growing up I loved to do what you would call “creative” things. I liked to draw, write stories, play musical instruments, and act in school plays. I was also very talented at the subjects people typically label as left-brain activities. I scored in the 99th percentile on every single standardized test I took and in first grade was placed in a program designed for gifted students. By second grade I was going to a separate school one day a week for “advanced” studies in Math, Science, and English. The point of this is not to brag but to make the point that teachers and parents need to avoid deciding for a child what they are better at. I suddenly found myself learning at a much faster rate in one area than the other. In Math, Science and English I was taking nationwide standardized tests and scoring in the top 1% every single time. I was put in a accelerated program where I was being taught by the best teachers in the region and possibly the state in their respective fields (we lived in one of the best school districts in Illinois and arguably one of the best in the country). I am sure that my art and music teachers were intelligent people and good teachers but not at the same level as my accelerated teachers. And I think that in their classes they no doubt saw me as a good student with talent in art and music but who had so many opportunities in other areas and so therefore they focused on less than other students. Like many teachers, my teachers believed that each person should either be focused on analytical learning or creative learning but not both. They didn’t think that someone could be good at science and math and also art and music. So as time passed I became less and less interested in my creative pursuits mostly because my skills were not allowing me to do the things I was imagining doing.

During High School I had the opportunity to develop my creative side with two photography classes and a creative writing class. However by this time I knew that my ticket to college would be through a high GPA in math, history, science and english and a good score on the ACT. So artistic pursuits were once again put on the side. I continued to excel at these core classes and was accepted to Brigham Young University. I graduated from BYU in 2009 with a Business Management degree.

I always enjoyed school however looking back I realize how bored I was throughout everything. There were some teachers who saw my ability and realized that I needed to be challenged and pushed to do more than normally expected of students. Those were the bright spots in my academic career. However now I realize that often I was bored because I wasn’t engaging my entire brain in school. I personally believe that if we want students to excel we need to stop calling art and music class electives and start pushing students to develop both sides of their brain. But that is a tangent I won’t get into here.

So as time passed I convinced myself that I was a left-brained person and just didn’t have the natural talent to be an artist. But deep down I always wanted to learn how to draw and paint. I just didn’t know where to start. I also felt that those who taught art approached it as someone who already knew how to draw and paint. They didn’t teach someone how to change the way they think so they could start thinking as an artist. Then I came across a book that would change the way I saw so many things. The book is called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Written by Betty Edwards, the book shows that anyone can learn to be an artist and that just like reading it is about learning the skills necessary. However key to the whole process is learning how to switch out of left-brain mode and into a right-brain one. This blog is a log to document my experiences as I make the switch from a left-brainer to a right-brainer. Once I develop the necessary skills to draw and paint I will decide on a new skill to begin learning.