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Creativity: Simplicity, Constraint & Occam’s Razor

Creativity: Simplicity, Constraint & Occam’s Razor

Creativity: Simplicity, Constraint & Occam's Razor Back in the time of Dante, an English Franciscan friar named William of Ockham (1287–1347) invented the ‘lex parsimoniae” , a problem-solving principle that states, It is futile to do with more things that which can be done with fewer. Occam's Razor This is also known as “Occam’s razor”, presumably to cut away unnecessary complication. In earlier blog posts we discussed the power of decision in the creative process (you can read about this...

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Creativity, Voltaire & The Fallacy Of Optimization

Creativity, Voltaire & The Fallacy Of Optimization

Creativity, Voltaire and the Fallacy of Optimization In a recent blog post, we talked about the Goldilocks Zone, a place where life and creativity can flourish, whether we’re talking about the conditions for life emerging on planets around other stars or the conditions for cultivating your very own creative life. We briefly touched upon the idea of optimization, and we called the Goldilocks Zone optimal. In a modern interpretation of the word, optimization is a mathematical or computational...

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Creativity, Exaptation & The Light In Plato’s Cave

Creativity, Exaptation & The Light In Plato’s Cave

  In previous blog posts, we delved into the processes underlying creativity, pulling in stories from diverse sources including fairy tales and astrophysics, evolutionary biology, mathematics and physics and the cycle of the seasons. In our daily conversations at home, we realized we had an illustrative story that combined two of these concepts from our very own lives and simultaneously addressed the subject of art. A Surprise Happening At The Art Show In January of 2015, I had a solo art...

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Creativity, The Artist’s Journey & The Goldilocks Zone

Creativity, The Artist’s Journey & The Goldilocks Zone

Creativity & The Goldilocks Zone Most of us remember the story of Goldilocks and her encounter with the three bears when she went for a perfectly innocent journey through a deep dark forest and came to an innocuous house whose door was wide open. Of course she didn’t find anything odd about this situation (because it’s a fairy tale) and walked right in and availed herself of what she found there, namely three bowls of porridge in the kitchen. One of the bowls of porridge was too hot, the...

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Creativity & Exaptation

Creativity & Exaptation

  I’m sitting on the Amtrak Coast Starlight, lurching out of Los Angeles at a lugubrious trundle. My partner Bruce is next to me, relaxing and reviewing the last two days of our authors’ conference. One doesn’t take trains in America to go fast, it’s all about the journey. Perhaps this is why train travel is appealing to me, as it is very close to my artistic credo. Today it’s a very literal kind of Artist’s Journey. This particular journey takes us to places you can’t easily get any...

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Creativity Odyssey: Embracing The Unknown

Creativity Odyssey: Embracing The Unknown

  I recently spoke with an artist who said: "I want to paint in a freer, more abstract way but I end up feeling like I don't know what I'm doing". I understand this feeling. I've felt it innumerable times. It can feel disconcerting. Yet, I've come to realize that this is exactly where we need to be as artists- in the place of not knowing. I'm fond of this quote by artist Michael Cutlip:   When I go into the studio, if I already know what's going to happen, it's all over. Michael...

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The Artist’s Journey Creativity Reflection Journal- Say YES To Your Dreams

The Artist’s Journey Creativity Reflection Journal- Say YES To Your Dreams

It All Begins With Saying YES To Your Dreams What dream is calling you? What idea is whispering in your ear? It may be something you've sat on for years. But you tell yourself you'll get to it later. Life keeps getting in the way. Years pass. Before you know it, you look up and twenty years have elapsed and your dream has lain fallow. You realize you've got to finally say YES to your dreams or they'll never see the light of day. There's a power in decision- cutting through your fears and...

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Creativity, Epiphanies & Phase Transitions

Creativity, Epiphanies & Phase Transitions

As we approach January 6, I'm reminded of Epiphany, a time of historical, religious and celestial significance, which serves as inspiration for this blog post.  Epiphany, the time that marks the latest sunrise of the year in the Mediterranean latitudes is also noted by the Catholic celebration of the Magi. I'm fascinated with this confluence of the religious celebration, the celestial phenomenon of the latest sunrise, the connection to creativity and the roots of the word epiphany. This post...

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The Future As Past: The Paradoxical Nature Of Creativity

The Future As Past: The Paradoxical Nature Of Creativity

The Future As Past: The Paradoxical Nature of Creativity What's past is prologue William Shakespeare, The Tempest The New Year is often associated with reflection and resolution. I’ll go to the gym five times a week, I’ll read 52 books, I’ll lose 25 pounds, I’ll paint 100 paintings. Most of these resolutions melt away before the end of January. As is often said in the advertising business, “ads don’t work but campaigns do.” This means that a single impetus to do or change something is fragile...

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FREE WORKSHOP: The #1 Secret to Creating Authentic Abstract Paintings You Love!

You question your talent, and painting becomes arduous and painful. You feel lost, wanting to express yourself but not knowing how. But when you learn the #1 secret to creating authentic abstract paintings, it all changes. Finally, you're able to paint with joy and create art you love.

About Nancy Hillis
Nancy believes that your most astonishing work comes from deep exploration and experimentation. She encourages you to find the nascent, unexpressed parts of yourself, give voice to your subconscious experiences, and finally express YOU in your art and life.