Breaking the Logjam to Personal Creativity

The image below was originally an aerial photograph of part of a massive logjam.   It has been considerably altered to enhance its hallucinatory potential.

    The following exercises have proven useful to some of my Creativity students who lacked confidence in either their own imagination or in their ability to draw.   There is no particular sequence to the exercises, however, if you have serious doubts about the depth and accessibility of your imagination I suggest you do them in the order in which they appear.


Preparation and Options

Complete the exercises using one of the following methods:

1.   Image processing software such as Photoshop or Painter.
2.   Print hard copies of the image.

If you are working with printed hard copies, I recommend black felt tip pens with various sized points.   A small set of colored pencils can also be fun to have handy.

If you are doing the exercises with image processing software, you have additional options open to you.   You can flip the image vertically and/or horizontally.   Select "black" as the color for your computer's brush.  If you choose to invert the image before working on it, use "white" as your color.


The Exercises

Exercise #1.   Change the random patterns of dark and light areas by adding small strokes of black.   Start anywhere and keep making changes until the image pleases or disgusts you.
Do not use any colors or white.
Accept the limits of the exercise: you can only add black.

Exercise # 2.   Look at the random pattern of dark and light areas.   Turn it and look at it for awhile with each side as the top.   Do you see any images emerging from the pattern?   Select the most interesting potential image.   Using only black, make any changes to the random pattern that will make it easy for others to see the potential image that you see.

Exercise #2a.   (For computer users only.)   Follow the directions in either #1 or #2 above, but this time erase the black to find what pleases or interests you.

Exercise #3.   Study the results of the above exercises.   Select a new copy of the image.   Can you see it the way you did before doing any of the above exercises?   Look at it some more.   This time use black, white and any three colors you wish and follow the guidelines presented in ex. #1 or #2.

If you get hooked, keep making fresh copies of the logjam.  Let me know if you find this practice useful or fun or both.   Send me copies of your results if possible, I would love to see what you make and what you find when you break the logjam.




Send Your Results to NFMOA