Find a Fresh Idea, Dudes!
Teachers! or parents! What do they know about creativity? How many of us have been provided with a paper and pencil and commanded, urged or cajoled to draw something or write something. But you can’t just produce something on command! You have to have an idea … and ideas are hard to find. I once received a greeting card that declared “Nothing to do so I’ll write … nothing to write so I’ll close.” If we could convince grownups that creativity is a special gift that few of us enjoy very often, maybe then there would be fewer assignments and more spare time for doing nothing. (I know it’s just a dream, teachers and parents are not going to change anytime soon, and this is probably just as well.)
Creativity, the ability to produce an original idea, really is a wonderful gift. We see the happy results of such originality in many unexpected places. When you go to an art gallery, for example, you expect so see beautiful art. This is not necessarily what you will find however. (Just kidding, even modern art has its place.) Just north of Edmonton lives a Christian artist called Louis Lavoie. He has painted many beautiful pictures of dinosaurs and people living together. Other paintings depict the Flood of Noah. These pictures are not only striking and beautiful, but they turn our minds back to a part of human history which receives little attention from most of society. Mr. Lavoie, you see, not only has some interesting ideas for paintings, but he also encourages the rest of us to think.
Mr. Lavoie has just published a book entitled Nod: The World of Noah’s Ark (a Lewis Lavoie Sketchbook). The main section of the little book contains delightful sketches of sailbacks (extinct dinosaur Dimetron), song dragons (duckbill dinosaurs or hadrosaurs), and sun dragons (stegosaurs). None of us has seen any of these creatures alive, but Mr. Lavoie uses his creative imagination and his artistic skills to show us what life might have been like. Earlier in the book there are wilder illustrations of issues relating to the preflood period, fabulous treehouses and technology based on living organisms. These are offered just in fun, but they do encourage us to think.
Artistically gifted people are able to use their talents in many areas of life. In former generations, sculptors produced tons of statues which graced gardens and homes of the rich. At a recent horticultural exhibit near Amsterdam, we saw two rows of classical statues. The one side featured many copies of a Venus like lady, and on the other side were many copies of Michelangelo’s David. Modern landscape art was represented by many poles, individually painted one or other colour of the rainbow and placed in a regular arrangement. From different angles the whole thing looked very different. It seemed like quite a simple idea, but it was an idea that produced some very pleasing views. Also some simple blocks of wood, painted black and white, were transformed into grazing cows. Art does not have to be complicated to be effective. Even the designing of a garden takes imagination and creativity. That is why people came from all over the world to see the Floriade exhibition in the Netherlands during the summer of 2002.
But what about writer’s block and artist’s cramp and you? As you well know, one cannot produce a wonderful story or pleasing picture without ideas and these are hard to find. It is ever so much easier to copy or revise someone else’s ideas but this is not what one would call creative work. That of course is why our imaginations are so important. Indeed, when we try to find original concepts of our own, we appreciate all the more the creativity that we see in others.
We might ask where our talents and creativity come from. Of course they are gifts from God the Creator of all things. In this context, can you imagine what a wonderful achievement it was to design the heavens and the earth and all that are in them. Before matter, space and time were in existence, God thought of them. He designed matter and physical processes. He not only created life and the functioning basic processes of living cells, but He created organisms in their vast variety. Not only did He create four footed creatures, flying creatures and swimming creatures, but He also created a vast array of differently designed organisms even within each lifestyle. Among flying organisms for example, He created insects, reptiles like Pteranodon, birds, and mammals like bats.
Even within a group of organisms with very similar characteristics, like the beetles for example, there is wild diversity: large or small, those with projections and those without, those with shining hues and those with dull surfaces. There are animals without backbones that look like cucumbers, others that look like stars, some shaped in spirals (like snails) and worms of various descriptions as well as clams with two protective shells and no head and no heart. Then of course there are animals with backbones. Some of these creatures are equipped with legs, others with fins or wings or perhaps no appendages at all.
How awe inspiring is the designer who produced plants and animals when not even the idea was there before. Imagine what an achievement it was to produce rocks and minerals, the seas and the continents, Earth’s atmosphere and weather patterns. These were not merely clever ideas but also great gifts meant to sustain the lives of the organisms placed here on this globe. The sun and the night sky are also wonderful and similarly deserving of our study and appreciation. Our limited minds can scarcely grasp how astonishing and awe inspiring is the work of God, the Creator of all things.
Thus when we seek to exercise our own talents and creativity, we should first reflect on the wonders of the original Creation. Indeed everywhere we look, there is lots to think about. So let’s develop our own talents and creativity in gratitude for the gift of this wonderful creation. Now let me see. What am I good at? Has anyone cornered the market on good advice? That’s definitely my best talent!
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