What is this intuitive thing? The adjective intuitive is defined as “using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive”. Conscious reasoning states that A leads to B leads to C. The instinctive jumps straight to C. The really important aspect of the definition is the stub “feels to be true”. An artist just knows that they are creating in a promising direction. The artist’s intuitive creation is a truth, one that is grasped instinctively.
This may sound terribly fanciful. Could it be the wishful thinking of flighty art type people? No... it is real. I have some examples!
The first example steps outside of the world of art, but still focuses on creation. There are numerous stories of scientists finding the answers to bewildering questions by using an intuitive line of thought. I recently read a book about black holes. A common theme was that the early thinkers could not rationally prove their theories. Instead, the theories “just felt right”. Theoretical work later proved their hunches. Einstein was long a believer in intuitive thinking, and he is credited with the quote “the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”. I've done some of my technical brainstorming when I've been at a fast food joint. I would sit there and let my thoughts ramble. Ideas came in and I'd have imagined a whole new direction. The arts share the method and output of the intuitive process.
The second example has an historical bent. For centuries authors have invoked the Muses when writing poetry, hymns, or epic history. The mythic beings, dating back to the 2nd century AD, were called as the true speaker, for whom the artist is merely a conduit. The artist benefited from the guidance of the Muses. The artist tapped an outside resource, something beyond their conscious, and art was created. I feel that the Muses are an historical representation of the artist's intuitive guidance. The Muses represent the guidance and output of intuitive creativity.
A wonderfully artistic friend shared a thought that triggered my last example. It is very difficult to know anybody. We barely know ourselves. Is a wonder that art somehow connects people? There is a reason! The vision of the artist is shared with their audience. This sharing occurs through one or more of the senses. The audience experiences a relationship with the artist's creation. My friend said that she wrote lyrics that felt right. While there was a rational foundation, my friend found herself using an instinctive process that imbued her lyrics with the feelings of many, and not just herself. My friend's goal was to write so people could include themselves in the song. I admire that! I write with a similar passion. I seek to find the words that connect to the reader. Yes, I want you to rationally understand my words, but I reach intuitively to develop a deeper connection with you. The artist's intuitive creativity brings the audience into the artist's creation.
Do you want to be artistic, but you find yourself stuck? Practice a bit of intuitive imagining. Have a vision of what the outcome of your work will be. See yourself connection with your audience. See you and them participating jointly in your art. My friend nailed it when she said that her goal was “writing so people can write THEMSELVES into the song”. The outcome of intuitive creation may not be what you rationally expect. It will instead be what we need. Use intuitive creativity because it will bless you as an artist while it also blesses your audience.