Archive for the ‘creativity resources’ Category

Each year in May I run an online artistic challenge called Art Mayhem. It’s pretty much from the pop art/low brow/creature art side of my art work and designed to stretch people a little. Nothing deeply spiritual here, just a way to connect with others and to build relationships.
It’s always fun, so if you’re looking for a way to ramp up your gifts, give it a try.

You can even join the Art Mayhem Facebook group if you want to share your work with the world.

For a guy who does not have a mechanical bone in his body, I have a confession, I love cars! But more than just the average run of the mill cars I love it when someone pushes the element and uses a car as a canvas to express his or her creativity. The following are a few of those.

On my recent ministry trip, I had a few free moments in Auburn, IN. I stopped by the Kruse Automotive & Carriage Museum there. They had some amazingly cool cars. Many of them are creations of legendary car creator Carl Casper, who designed and created among other things the Michael Keaton Bat Mobile, The General Lee, KITT and many more. This place was a lot of fun and a great place to fire up your creativity. Almost anything can be a creative medium, you just need to look at it differently.

Confession Time…
There are days of my week where it is really hard to get a post written but no day is harder than Sunday. I’m a pastor and due to a unique set of circumstances, I pastor a church that is pretty far from where I live. I leave fairly early to get there, and even on days where there is nothing after church, it takes pretty long to get home. From there, it seems to be the best day of the week to get together with my son and have some time with my grandson. Add to that the fact that I really like to make Sunday afternoon a time of rest, because God said so and because I need it, I’ve sort of decided that Sunday posts, written on Sunday, have got to stop.

What I’ve decided to do instead is to post my creative challenges each Sunday. I can post these far in advance, you can read them at you leisure and work on them (if you so desire) all throughout the week. They won’t be officially starting until January, this will give me the time to work up a back log of them, so I won’t miss a week or find myself stumbling around Sunday morning trying to keep this commitment when I should be getting myself physically, mentally and spiritually prepared for Sunday service.

I hope you will enjoy these posts and that you will follow along and do some of them yourself, especially if you find yourself blocked creatively.
If you don’t want to wait until January, I have three books that could get you started now.

PIGMENTOFMYI awoke with this idea in the middle of the night last night but I’m not sure why it was so compelling. It’s something I’ve done many times and it’s a great way to jump outside your comfort zone and build your creativity. It’s all about color. It’s quite easy to do, but it will really help you to hone your technique.

You simply recreate a scene or an image, whether real or from your imagination, but in totally different colors. It sounds easy but it can really stretch you. I recommend making your first color choice, and then working all the other colors based on that choice. There are a lot of ways you can go, from garish to subtle. You can work from the color wheel in primaries and there complements or you can throw the color wheel out the window and just go totally random. You can go for aesthetically pleasing, wildly psychodelic or anything in between. The idea is to create something that really pushes you creatively and breaks down the barriers that exist in the minds of even the most creative people.

This exercise will be especially helpful if you find yourself being too literal with color to move you toward painting what you actually see. For example. I remember seeing a painting that blew me away. It was a winter scene at twilight and the snow was all purple. The thing is the artist was not trying to be unusual. Snow isn’t white at twilight The problem was if you ask me to paint snow, my hand will always reach for the white. There are a multitude of colors in anything you see, The trees that I am looking at out the window look green to be sure, but to capture the light on them I would have to use yellows, blues, even black and white, possibly even purples to enhance some the shadows. Similarly when we are young we are taught tree trunks are brown. They’re actually mostly warm grays with a multitude of tones and shadows. How would these color choices change if I decided to make their foliage pink?

I think you’ll find it to be a lot of fun and it will help you in your work with color.

YOURENOTCOVERThis voice will start to get you to self assess. It will get you to start to compare yourself with others and it will show you all the areas you come up short. Sometimes it comes from the outside, nagging critics or even well meaning people who love you and fear that the risk you are taking is too big or that you’re in over your head. Sometimes the voice comes from within. Insecurities of various types, fear, anxiety and on and on come to call until eventually we give up. One of the first steps to creative success is to ignore those voices.

Let’s be real for a second. You’re probably not the best in the world at any given field. After all only one person can be that. But imagine world with only one doctor, one artist, one teacher, etc. All the rest gave up because they could not be the best. It would be disastrous. The point is, you don’t have to be the best in the world, you just have to be learning and working and growing. I know it sounds cliched but what you need to focus on is being the best “you” you can be. Then you bring your best to the project every single day, In doing that, you will improve and get better and better.

The key is don’t wait until you get better to start. For example, there is a little voice inside my head even now that says, “Who are you to write this book?” You’re not a raging success. You don’t have a ton of accolades. You’re not a millionaire. You’re just some guy who likes t make stuff. Sound familiar? Well here’s the thing, some of these things are true. I’m not, for example a millionaire and I don’t have a shelf full of awards, but here’s what I do have. I’ve always loved to create, and in spite of what some naysayers have said, I have earned a living as a creative for almost 30 years. In the process, I have learned a lot that can help other people and I’ve found a fair amount of pitfalls that I can help others avoid. It is true that I have not accumulated massive amounts of wealth but I have gotten to do some pretty cool things and I’ve found a way to be happy doing something I love. None of those things would have happened if I had hid in my studio waiting for someone to anoint me as “good enough.” Instead I set out on a journey of creating and (by the way this is the important part) releasing those creations to the world. Are they flawed? Yes. Are they the best in the world? No. Have they helped people? Absolutely, and isn’t that a huge part of what this is about?

There is one thing you need to know. No one ever got good enough by working less. That’s why this lie is so debilitating. It convinces us to give up when we need to be working to improve. People rave about natural talent and natural talent is a beautiful thing, but quite frankly I would rather work with someone who might have less natural ability but who works hard, than with someone who feels they are so talented they don’t have to work at it. The key to being good enough in any field can be summed up in three words—“do the work.”

Starting tomorrow we will return to our regular content here at to follow the progress of the You’re Not Creative, and to keep receiving excerpts, please subscribe to

YOURENOTCOVERThe following is an excerpt from a new book project I am working on called You’re NOT Creative… and Other Lies About Creativity You Might Believe

You might be looking at this book and wondering how serious it is. After all, it’s got a green demon-looking monster on the cover. Honestly, it’s as serious as a funeral. So many people walk through this world under the misconception that creativity is for a select, anointed few, and all the rest of us are doomed to wait for their creative products to be doled out to us as we wander around numb, like drones and worker bees. No wonder so many people are discouraged, looking at the immense problems of our world and waiting for someone to do something about them.

Well today I want to tell you, somebody is you and that creativity that you think is so elusive has been in you since childhood, since birth and it’s still there waiting to be rediscovered, brought out and put to work. Some of you aren’t believing me. That’s because you’ve been lied to for far too long.

So let’s start with the basics, creativity and artistic ability are not always the same thing and you don’t need artistic ability (though I will argue in these pages that almost all of us are born with that too, but not yet, we need to work on disproving one lie at a time). Creativity is about problem solving. If you’ve ever solved a problem, you were probably creative. If you’ve ever figured out a way where there seemed to be no way, you were creative. If you’ve ever made do with what you have on hand or used an object for something other than its intended purpose, you were creative. Creativity is in us all. You are creative! You just need to know where to look.

Over the course of this book we will be disproving the lies that most people believe about creativity and we will provide exercises to help you build your creativity. Some of these exercises will seem easy and others will be difficult, but I encourage you to try them all. The reason for this is simple, your creativity might well be pretty buried, and these exercises are designed to help you dig it up. As you work on these exercises, make note of the ones tat come easier to you, the ones you most enjoy. These will provide clues to where your strongest creative gifts lie and help you to find ways to put those gifts to work and that is what we’re about to do… Get to work.

Exercise 1: The Generator
Creativity is all about ideas, so let’s start there. Get a sheet of paper and a pen or your phone or computer or however you record things and start writing ideas. Any ideas. Anything you want about anything you want. Solve problems, create ideas for a novel, a rock band name, an invention, anything you can think of. At this point there are no bad ideas, no stupid ideas. Also I want you to ignore limitations (it’s harder than you think), you have all the resources, the money, the ability, and the people that you need. Just create a list of as many ideas as you can think of. This is called free-creating. Keep it light and keep it fun and generate all you can.

For some this might be intimidating. It can be very hard to think without limits and parameters. If the above is too hard for you, narrow it down. Think of a problem that you believe needs to be solved and come up with as many solutions to the problem as you can. Take all the time you can and the same rules apply, i.e. there are no bad, stupid ideas, and you have everything you need (we’ll deal with real-world limitations later).

Go for it!