I usually say YES when it comes to new artistic opportunities, because I not only learn new skills, but I break up the routine and often find new ways to creatively apply what I've learned. As I painted long hours in the quiet church gym this week, I listened, among other podcasts, to a TED Talk on "Jumpstarting Creativity," in which speaker Tim Harford talked about a powerful technique to unleash new avenues of creativity called "disruption." Mixing it up. Doing something ridiculously different than your usual.
I realized that my current disruptive activity was painting a gimungous canvas backdrop for my church's VBS program, which has the theme of "ROAR" this year. My talented friend, Amy, who designs sets for television, designed the backdrop. I had to learn how to project it, sketch it, and properly paint it. I messed up a lot, improvised when I couldn't see the shape of the elephants, and continually dripped on finished parts. Cringe! But stepping back, one can forget about the little mistakes and see the magic!
Thanks to custodian and former sign painter Brad Higgins for his good advice, starting with reminding me to pour the paint over the drop cloth instead of the gym floor! And thanks to Pastor Brian and the whole team for pouring your hearts and time into transforming the church into an African savanna and preparing wonderful messages and activities for the kids! VBS "disrupts" the normal routine at our church and ushers hundreds of kids into the mystery and roaring power of God's love.
Jill Pearson, owner & instructor at Riverwood Studio, Oronoco, Minnesota