Creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of Breakthrough

By Patricia D. Stokes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Constraints for Developing
Creativity

What else can we learn from Monet? What else
can we learn from Picasso f What else can we
learn from Matisse?

Instead of specifying constraints that structured the creativity problem in different domains, our question in this chapter is more general. What constraints help develop creativity in any domain? The answer is, basically, the same four for beginners of all ages. Since most beginners are children, let's talk a little about childhood.

Can you remember any pictures you made for Mom to hang on the refrigerator door? How about the one with the blue (for sky) strip across the top and the quarter of a yellow sun in one corner? It was a very cheery picture, with bright colors, happy sunshine. Didn't it have flowers lined up along a green (for grass) strip along the bottom? Sure.

How did I know about your picture? I drew it too. So did my daughter, and so did my nephew. After he had colored in the sky and the sun and the grass and the house and the tree, six-year old Michael said, [I didn't leave room for the dock.] We taped on another piece of paper and Michael added the water, the dock, and two fish.

I copied Michael's picture so you could see that dock (Figure 9.1). Take a good look at it. It's drawn from above, instead of head-on (like the house and the tree and the sun)—different points of view in one painting. Isn't

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