My recent painting of Vasquez Rocks, California got me thinking about my approach to my paintings and how my process of thinking dictates their progression. Even as early as grade school you start to feel that there are different categories of thinkers. You begin to notice how you tackle problems, work through tests, or organize essays compared to the others around you. Taking it very simply, we have linear and non-linear thinkers. Far too often, however, people mistake this tendency towards certain pathways of logic for other characteristics about person’s likes and abilities.
In my experience, it is quite common for people to expect linear thinkers to trend towards science and engineering, and non-linear thinkers to take on more creative pursuits. At the same time, my reality has been quite different. My sister, Stephanie, who designed this website for me (THANKS AGAIN!), is extremely passionate about her newly developed skills of computer programming, recognizing a true calling. She is extremely logical, a wiz math, a fierce competitor in Scrabble, and hands down the hardest opponent I have ever faced in any kind of logic game. She is also, absolutely, a non-linear thinker. While we were in college we happened to take an atmosphere and weather class together so of course we thought we might as well study together and work through our homework at the same time. This is when I discovered how differently we approach the problems before us. I would be working steadily through the equations and suddenly she would pipe up and ask something completely random. I then realized she was on problem 27 and I was on problem 3. Much to my relief, she wasn’t actually that much quicker than me, she just decided to complete problem 1 then 2 then 34 then 27. I understand skipping a problem to come back to think about late, but this just seemed ridiculous. In reality, it isn’t ridiculous; it is just a different way of thinking.
I am definitely a linear thinker. I also consider myself a creative person, who loves art, sewing, crocheting, cooking and pretty much any craft I can get my hands on. When I took these shots of my painting in progress I didn’t really know what I wanted to get out of it, or how I would share the development in my blog. As the painting progressed, however, it became quite clear to me what it was showing, and that is my linear thought process and approach to this painting. Not all my paintings are done in this fashion, but many of my landscapes do take on a similar progression: top to bottom, left to right. It is just fun to see a painting develop step by step, and have that thought process shown so clearly.
In the end, I don’t think it matters whatsoever what form your thought process takes when it comes to your creativity, interests, and life pursuits. Some of the greatest scientists seem frazzled to the layman and I am sure some of the greatest artists in the world created their masterpieces step by step, in logical, linear form.