|Unleash your creativity and think your way out of the box|
The brain is a strange organ. It works in ways we don’t yet understand and manages to create everything we see. Working at odds with the rest of the body it performs best when we’re not consciously trying and it is exactly this right-hemisphere activity that contributes to some of our most creative moments.
Creativity is the lifeblood of every facet of life. From the arts to business, without it, things would become stale very quickly. Yet, as society is becoming more complex and process-driven the struggle for educational institutions is just how to stimulate creativity.
One easy answer is watercolour painting. The gentle movements of a brush have a relaxing, de-stressing effect which has also been noted in activities such as calligraphy, whilst the mix of colours and their application energise parts of the brain which would normally get scant stimulation. Couple this to the mix of a visual/tactile experience as your painting emerges and presto! Right-side thinking is the order of the day and you haven’t even thought about it!
British Management Institute research figures show that whilst engaged in right-side thinking activities stressed-out business executives exhibit the same degree of relaxation and satisfaction that’s normally reserved for when they’re on holiday.
A study conducted in mixed-occupation classes showed that out of the 85 people who took part 90% reported feeling calmer about life, perceiving the world in a more positive way and feeling better about themselves after they took part in a three-hour long watercolour workshop.
Hugh Templeton, an artist of 25 years’ experience, who specialises in running such workshops thinks he knows why his classes have that effect: “Painting a watercolour is a life-affirming thing. You have an image of the world in your head. You start getting it down on your art paper and before you know it you have captured a piece of the world around you and it’s been through your own efforts. What could be more satisfying that that?”
Hugh is the first one to acknowledge that just enrolling in a watercolour class is not enough. “It comes down to technique,” he explains, “watercolour painting, like any kind of painting, is not easy. The danger is that if the instructor is not alert enough to make it easy for those taking part to express themselves and become attuned with their inner vision then their frustration and negative feelings will grow, not go away.”
Hugh has made a name for himself precisely because he has spent most of his life developing a teaching technique that teaches the technicalities of watercolour painting almost by stealth. “The idea is that when you’re painting you should be focusing on the most important element of the equation. Your inner world. That’s where your creativity resides. Anything else is a distraction.”
To help promote the principle Hugh has written an interactive theme-driven How-to book on watercolour painting titled “Hugh Templeton’s Watercolour Guide for Absolute Beginners”.
The book was featured in the Times Educational Supplement as a means of helping teachers develop creativity in the classroom and it’s been popular with stressed-out executives who have little time to attend classes.
Published by innovative internet publisher Cool Publication (www.coolpublications.com) the book has been one of their best-selling titles from the moment it was published.
“It is easy to use. It comes in 25 theme-driven sections and you can start painting effectively from the first chapter,” says senior editor Chris Walker, “we tried it when Hugh first approached us and even we managed to paint a passable watercolour and we haven’t touched anything beyond a computer keyboard for the last thirty years. Hugh Templeton’s technique really works, we all forgot we were learning and it was so much fun we felt great for hours afterwards and we tried it out in an editorial meeting!”
About the Author
David Amerland is a freelance media editor and journalist with over 20 years' experience. He is the Associate Editor of Fighting Fit Online magazine and acts as a marketing advisor for publishers and organisations.
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