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Creativity Goes Beyond A Pencil & A Paintbrush

Written by: Hollis Citron, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Things to consider:

1. Do you have memories of being in school or another space where the teacher said out loud, “ ________ is the artist of the class”. If so, how did it make you feel?

2. In whatever you enjoy doing, have you ever been told by others that your ideas are not good enough when it really had nothing to do with them? Or that the thing that you worked so hard on, whether it was a business deal or song that you wrote was just shot down in a matter of minutes by someone else with no questions asked?

3. Were you raised to believe that things had to be one way and one way only?

4. Do you think it does not matter if you are actually happy?

5. Do you think you need to do for others before you can actually put yourself first, is that selfish?

6. Do you allow yourself time to explore possibilities and give yourself permission to mess up, play, laugh, and challenge yourself to just BE!

Just know now, even if you cannot draw your way out of a paper bag, you have probably inspired more people than you will ever know with your own creative talents.

Society has created a whole lot of very linear thinking going on, not leaving much room for curvy lines and zig-zag lines to change course. Creativity is personal and has many different definitions. My personal definition is that creativity is your voice, your expression.

Here is a little secret: You are creative because you are the only person that can add your gifts and greatness to the world in your language.

I can hear you saying, “No, I’m not, I don’t know how to draw or paint”. Arghhhhhh… have to say this is a huge pet peeve. I have been an art teacher for 25+ years and did go to art school but guess what, I am not great at drawing and painting believe it or not. My major was in ceramics. Expressing myself in a 3D medium comes a lot more naturally.

So to s t r e t c h the definition a little… These are all creative forms:

  • The business deal(s) that started in your imagination create connections that can change the world

  • You look into a microscope in a lab and have the ability to create a cure that no one else can see but you and your colleagues.

  • You see the details to design communities where people live and work

  • You understand different learning styles and various techniques to share knowledge in the classroom

  • You choose words to speak to the masses and share your stories to uplift and expand people’s worlds

  • Arranging numbers on spreadsheets are your superpower that creates solutions in everyday life

  • You work in the medical field and look at each patient as an individual that is a multi-faceted human and realize they all have different needs

  • You love cooking meals either by following a recipe or making it up on your own

I truly believe that when we own our talents, that come in so many different forms, we are more expressive and basically happier humans because of it.

I now truly understand that nurturing creativity is a gentle art. It should never be a way to bully others or make them feel small. This is a true story, back to the pencil reference. You know those events that you do not realize will shape what and how you do something, well this is one of them. Freshman year of college in art school, we had to take basic courses to get a well rounded feel for various mediums to then choose a major.

Drawing was one of these classes. I was never really confident in this area but was there to learn and do what was not necessarily comfortable. In class, we all had our easels and different assignments of drawing from the same still life or model. The teacher would rotate around the room giving feedback. Here is the life-altering action that I did not realize was so important. This teacher would see your mistakes and draw directly onto your paper to “fix” them. One day I worked up the guts to say to her, “ Can you please not draw directly onto my paper”. Her response was, “ I don’t think you are good enough to do it on your own”. Hmmmm, take that one in…

My response was as I was shaking and purple in the face, “ I did not ask you if I was good enough, I just asked you not to draw on my paper.” Needless to say, my grade was a D in the class, grades never really mattered that much to me anyway.

Understand that it was not that I was not saying it did not need to be fixed, just wanted to be shown how it could be done and do it myself. It is really the only way to have it really sink in and become a real skill. When I fast forward a number of years and became an art teacher, I swore never to draw or alter anyone else’s creations in whatever medium but instead show them how to do it side by side.

“Experiences are all processes and reminders to be gentle and honor yourself while taking the time to plant seeds that will grow as you nurture your creativity”.

I ask you...

What are you good at? Don’t tell yourself nothing, my life is boring and I hate what I do. I will ask again in a little bit of a different way, “ What do you like to do”? It could be anything from dancing, to working with numbers to jumping out of planes. We are talking about things that bring a smile to your face and make you feel something.

When we recognize and spend time doing these things one might feel:

  • Happiness

  • Joy

  • Excitement

  • Curiosity

  • Feeling More Expressive

  • Connection with self and others

  • Freedom

  • Empowered thoughts

If you notice we are not necessarily talking about your profession, but it could be. Becoming an active participant in your life and choosing to be doing these things more often instead of once in a while is a game-changer.

On my podcast people have defined creativity as your soul's essence, courage, the magical spark, your unique and original exploration, expansion, and expression of your imagination…basically, all that we are and want to be.

This will be fun! We are doing this...

Together let’s expand the definition of creativity so all can see ourselves in this meaning that goes beyond a pencil & a paintbrush.

Creatively yours,


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Hollis Citron, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Hollis Citron is on a mission to make creativity accessible to everyone by exposing new possibilities. She has spent nearly 30 years of my life helping students of all ages and in all settings to access their creative expression. I Am Creative & Express Yourself Publishing was born from this passion to help people build their confidence to recognize, encourage and express the innate expression they are born with. Hollis does this through experiential kits, creativity coaching, her podcast: Creative Conversations with Hollis Citron & creating multi-author books to create community and safe space for people to share their stories to empower themselves and the world. Creativity goes beyond a pencil & a paintbrush! It is your voice, your expression, and everyone has one.



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