Creative Thinking in Drawing

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo


This Synthesis Project traces the evolution of my visual representation experiences while in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program. The focus is placed on a culminating drawing experience that occurred prior to the writing of this Synthesis. From the drawing experience and the writing process, a construct of knowledge was built through cooperation between hands on work and abstract theoretical frameworks of creative thinking. After describing the role drawing played in my early life, I describe in detail my recent drawing experiences. I mention the rediscovery of my interest in drawing as a student in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program. This interest propelled me to delve deeper into the art and I enrolled in a drawing course offered through the UMass College of Arts and Sciences. The intensive drawing environment provided experience with the creative process and a body of work that became the focus of this Synthesis. Following that, I relate the evolution of my practice to two psychological constructs of creativity. The first, offered by Teresa Amabile, is from "The Social Psychology of Creativity: A Componential Conceptualization". I demonstrate my work from the drawing course to be a creative experience, in that it has embodied the three components of creativity outlined by Amabile. Examples of domain relevant skills and creativity relevant skills are provided along with narrative describing the task motivation necessary for creativity. The other psychological construct of creativity is that of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's "flow", which he describes as a state of optimal experience. First, I demonstrate flow to be closely aligned with many of the concepts that embody the spirit of the Critical and Creative Thinking Program. Csikszentmihalyi outlines the flow experience as it is manifested in eight components of enjoyment. I then reflect on my process in relation to those components to illustrate how flow was attained. In conclusion, I elaborate on the significance of creative thinking and the pursuit of the creative process for the evolution of the individual and humanity. Each of us is in a state of becoming and that process facilitated by creative thinking can yield the best results.


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