Tag Archives: jump start

Seeing the Familiar With New Eyes

Buddha head

This week it’s a quick and easy way to jump start creative thinking – looking at the familiar with new eyes.

Our attitudes and beliefs influence our perceptions. This is an idea that is found in different spiritual paths, and in practical psychology. Even the words we use can change our perceptions. We can call something “shabby” or we can call it “comfortable”. We can call something “worn out” when we should be calling it “recyclable”.

Refreshing Your Vision

Artists spend their lives seeing the world around in them in new ways and translating that through their imaginations to a different vision of the world. It’s a skill that can be helped with a few tricks.


You’ve seen that cliché of a director holding up his or her two hands to plan the shot. That is a great technique. By framing out some things, you can refocus on what is in the frame.

If you feel silly holding your hands in front of you in the absence of a film crew, a digital camera does the same trick, and btw, will show you clutter more clearly than the naked eye.

Change Your Perspective

Try physically getting into a different space – crouching down, turning the camera to the side, or even looking upside down.

Upside down is especially interesting because it can help you see planes and shapes instead of objects in context.

California Poppies

Try close ups – use a magnifying glass, loupe or macro lens setting to look more closely at familiar things.

If you have only ever read a favorite book in silence, try reading it aloud, or listening to it on tape.

Close your eyes in an environment and listen. Feel textures and temperature.


If you ever do any kind of product photography – say for your Etsy store – you probably already have a light box or cyc set up. I use a roll of paper, some clothespins and a wooden chair to create my photo background.

However any kind of place where you can put something to look at it in isolation can help to see different things about it. It’s especially fun to re-examine old things that are special – my mother’s tea set, old jewelry.

Red Cut Glass

Use the Elements and Principles of Design

…to inform your investigations.

If you usually drive one way, take a new route. If you usually drive, try taking a walk. Take a trip on the train. Look for shapes, repetition, color, proportions.

Pause…Be Still

So much of our life is about moving through spaces and being busy with activity. Sometimes what helps most in really seeing something anew is being still and quiet to let our eyes (or ears or hands) roam over what we see.


This is all about examining things. What’s next? Sketching, drawing, rearranging, seeing connections between objects – each other and their surroundings. This is the beginning of design.


Retrospective and Prospective

Suzani embroidery Collage Sheet Image

I’m taking a break this week from a new Creativity Blast. I will be sending out a new topic again next Monday. Upcoming Blasts will include more Elements of Design, and starting on Principles of Design, as well as more aesthetic preferences, finding your “gateway” art form, and more ideas for overcoming blocks and jump starting your creative process.

In the mean time, please revisit old posts which now have all the corresponding tweets attached at the end, and enjoy reading some of my older articles under the Robyn’s Writing tab.

Here are a couple more creativity quotes for you to enjoy:

 “Talking endlessly about something instead of doing it depletes you of the drive to get it done.” ~ Milli Thornton, Write Your Screenplay in 29 Days

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~ Richard Bach

“Every artist was first an amateur” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities” ~ Dr. Seuss

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” ~ Thomas A. Edison 

I’ve been asked to address some color theory, which I love so much I’ve been saving it. Color is the foundation of so much of my work in theater – costuming, lighting – and for my dolls and mixed media art. It’s a huge topic as an Element of Design, and will surely take more than one Creativity Blast to attack – and think of the fun activities. Any way – it’s coming soon.

If you have any Creativity questions or topics you would like me to write about, please let me know in the comments. Honestly the vast majority of the comments I receive are spam, so it would be nice to get some real comments every now and then.