Leveraging Restriction – Creative Environments

When it comes to creativity there are few things more necessary and effective than restriction. A creative environment, is just that, an environment. A structured thing or place in which we can express our ideas in different ways. Artists are very familiar with this as a concept, if you want to sketch for example, your restrictions will be things like: what kind and size of paper to use, the medium you’ll create with, a color palette, a theme, and where you’ll do the actual work itself (in your studio, at the park, in a class etc.). Artists are not the only ones facing restriction, everyone else is too, but we don’t often think of it as something useful and intentional. Most of the time, these restrictions come by way of other people. Your job, your community, the world you live in, your online experiences and tools, and so on. We live and work and move within the structure of these parts of our lives. Whether someone else’s creation, or creations of our own making.

If you want to really stretch your creativity, consider the parts and pieces that are available and use them in different ways. If sculpting for example, maybe you flip the idea by creating with something you don’t normally see as sculptural material. An artist friend of mine creates horse sculptures out of different materials, like uncooked stick spaghetti and scrap metal. Another creates pop up greeting cards using origami and a 3d printer. It’s all about choosing a few restrictions and working within them.


Recently I took to the challenge of merging my love of art with my love for graphic design. In order to do that, I needed to choose some kind of restrictions to work with. I chose famous art works and interpreted them into graphic posters — like you might see for a movie or event. To further restrict myself I decided on what to interpret. I would use the color palettes, composition, and theme of each piece to inform my design. And then I just got creative with each piece and the collection itself, to tell a story.

Creating Designs From Famous Art – 2024 by Kimberly RL

Without restrictions, creativity cannot be seen, experienced, or enjoyed. It’s how we make sense of things. Without creativity, I would argue, we could not understand or access the world in which we live, or the spiritual nature we are imbued with. Creativity needs to be mapped onto something. Or into something.

Everything, including the world we live in, is created. And everything has a genesis. God created the world, everything in it, and then gave us the power to create as well. We are presented with something, we tally up its parts, name it, and the creative process continues from there. It’s all an act of creation.

Think of a musical instrument. Someone takes a certain kind of wood, creates a shape out it, adds 5 strings, and some chords, ways to play it, (etc. etc. etc.), names it a guitar, then creates music, and that music creates emotion, and a person experiencing that emotion dances, or cries or meditates, they may even be inspired to create something of their own. We do this with everything.

Creation gives way to reproduction. Which is not the same thing as creation, but it is a part of it. Something is made in its original form and many more reproductions are made from it, either through seed or code. The seed or code is the container that holds all the information to reproduce, and predefined terms by which it reproduces, need to be met — A creative environment. Creation and reproduction are intrinsically linked. But the original creation always comes first, and can never be broken from its make up, however there can be fusions and integrations that produce something else. Whether that thing can be reproduced again after its new design will depend on conditions set by the original creation.

My most recent drawing is made possible because of my original creation of a book of poems. The art itself is not the poem or a reproduction of the poem, though. It is a representation to accompany the poetry. Because I created both and used the one to inform the other, they go together. Both make sense separately without the need for each other, I could show you just the art, and you will get something from it. But when it is put together with the poetry, you have more to the story. The art adds new dimensions for us to enrich our reading experience and the story as a whole.

Sunflower Days

The flower of your friendship sets my heart ablaze,
Red and pink and yellow, blooming through the grays,

Of skies that clouds had covered in the darkest of my days,
You warm my heart and make me glad, your kindness like sun rays,

Peeking through the trees, clearing out the balmy haze,
You glisten through the valley, like a ripened field of maize,

For the gift your presence offers, God deserves every praise,
I thank you for the love you give, and being true in all your ways,

May you be blessed abundantly, to receive the good life you raise,
And may the light of glory shine on you, for eternal sunflower days.

Kimberly RL

We are ultimately creative beings, living in a creative environment with established preconditions for reproduction, and everything we create, follows that same pattern. It is both wonderful and enigmatic – a great mystery that has been explored and enjoyed since the very beginning, and will do so until the end. Who knows what wonderful things are in store. So far, it’s been pretty darn amazing if you ask me.

I would love to see what you’re creating, please feel free to leave a comment and/or create your own post about creative environments for us to explore through this months web carnival.

Thank you for spending some time with me today.

And have a wonderful day you awesome creature you!

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3 Comments

  1. Over a decade ago, I participated in and was a host of a web carnival that focused on science news. I don’t remember what I discussed, except the blog post I wrote on charge-shift bonding, and I think another post on single-molecule microscopy. Sometimes the host would be a big name, and other times it’d just be some unknown science writing enthusiast (like me). It was interesting to watch that progress over time.

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