Thinking about Thinking
How often do you stop and think about how you thought about a situation or way of completing an assignment/project? More often than not, we accept the way that we think is a give and often hereditary feature of our personality. However, by exploring the structure of how we think, it will be easier to recognise what particular stage you are at and have confidence in the direction you are heading.
Patterns of thinking
There are patterns to the way that we think when making art work and the following diagram should help you to identify the type of structure that is often followed when working towards a creative outcome in art.
DISCUSSION TASK : Have a look at the diagram with a fellow student or small group and discuss which stages you find the most difficult and which ones you prefer? Do you prefer to experiment first and then make a decision about your area of interest, or do you prefer being given a set brief?
Identifying areas of interest
Identifying and deciding on an issue or idea is usually one of the hardest stages since we tend to worry that we may have made the wrong decision. However, when making art work, mistakes become a source of inspiration and help to build up our experiences that give you confidence to think ahead with hindsight. It is through the process of experimentation and mistake-making that great ideas often emerge.
"If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original" - Sir Ken Robinson
Of course, art is about being original, but at school it is very much about being 'original' in a personal sense: You may not be able to create new and original ideas that have not been done before in the history of mankind, but the important point is that you can create something personal and new to you, which will help to build up your knowledge and experience. Once you leave school, you can create world-shattering innovations!
DISCUSSION TASK : Think about the current project work being set by your teacher. Which skills are they trying to develop that you can see in this diagram?
De Bono's 'Six Thinking Hats'
Thinking in parallel
Edward De Bono is a psychologist and professor that invented the term 'lateral thinking' in the 1960s' and established a system of thinking called the 'Six Thinking Hats'. It allows groups to think about a subject or issue with a view towards productive/creative outcomes, but the key is that everyone think in the same way at the same time i.e. in parallel using the six defined ways of thinking.
Watch the video on the right hand side to hear De Bono outlining the process.