Constraints for Creativity
What can we learn from Monet? What can we
learn from Matisse? What can we learn from
Rothko? What can we learn from Cezanne?
What can we learn from Bartlett? What can
we learn from Johns? What can we learn
What constraints structure the creativity problem in art? Producing any painting (or work on paper, including print, collage, water color, and the like) involves placing subject constraints on content, for example portrait or still-life, and task constraints on materials and working methods. For most painters, most constraints are first choruses: given by teachers, suggested by the past, taken from the popular. Producing a new kind of painting involves creating a series of novel constraints. To show this, we will look, in some depth, at three creators who began with a similar subject constraint, but, via each one's subsequent series of unique constraints, produced radically different masterworks. Each one's first chorus will be included.
A quicker sketch compares past and contemporary painters who share a constraint introduced by Monet: the multiple, a series that shares content and composition, but differs in execution. One such series by Monet included 24 paintings depicting the same row of poplars at different times of day.