FARMING and CREATIVITY…..Cultivate Your Own Creative Possibilities!

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‘Take me There’ watercolour by Georgia Mansur, 8×15″, painted with the Georgia Mansur Palette by Daniel Smith Paints.

The beauty of wearing many hats in the world is the rich opportunity to see things from several different perspectives. Having lived in the country and earning our family income from the land for most of my life, I feel the ‘Farmer’ hat has given me a new scope on the cyclical and rhythmic nature of what is possible in Art and indeed, in Life. The progression of problem solving and forward planning necessary to be a successful farmer is very much like the creative process~ whether you are directly an artist or a fellow creative problem solver, I hope what I am going to share with you today will assist you in your creative ventures and goals.

My understanding of success in business, personal life, travel, and art revolves around the idea that ‘everything is relative’ and somehow related to everything else. This concept is not new but it is one that works for me. I will give you my version of how this manifests in everyday struggles with people, things and in fact all relationships, especially for of our creative development.

We have the power to create and/or rewrite our own possibilities and experiences. I choose to take a positive view that is ripe with possibilities rather than the pessimistic view that its only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down~ this may be naïve but it helps me sleep well at night!

Back to the parallels of possibilities in farming and in creating art….Looking at the process of farming goes something like this:

  1. You have an idea or goal. Lets call this the seed.
  2. You want to see if you can make it grow successfully so you prepare the soil and make sure you have all the tools, equipment, and resources available to support your seed’s growth to provide optimum results. Once you have gathered all the resources and check that the structural support is in place, you plant the seed in the fertile ground and water it up.
  3. The next steps involve the work of fertilizing, cultivating, spraying or protecting against pests and other threats, and generally taking care of the business of growing your plant and keeping it healthy. Diligence is key.
  4. During the growing season you are constantly checking to ensure that you are on target with the timing and maturity of the plant, in the case of wine grapes you would now check the baume or sugar levels to test if the crop is ready to harvest.
  5. When the plant is mature and you are ready to harvest you activate all the helpers and equipment needed to harvest your crop, deliver it on time and in optimum condition ~ you are relieved to know you have once again done battle with Mother Nature and other potential spoilers to successfully complete what you set out to do from that first seed of an idea.
  6.  The last step is two pronged~ although you are probably exhausted and just want to celebrate the victory and completion of a job well done by drinking the wine, you must also think about next years crop so the preparation begins at the same time~ watering up, feeding the soil and ensuring it is in good nick for next season’s future crop and possibilities.
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    ‘My Blue Hills’ watercolour by Georgia Mansur, If you are interested in purchasing this watercolour email, free shipping internationally.


Now lets look at the parallels or ‘echoes of similarity’ in the stages of the creative process.

I A Taylor defined 5 Levels of Creativity in the book, ‘The Nature of the Creative Process’. Others have confirmed and written about this with minor differences. The consensus is that it can be learned, practiced and accessible to us all in different ways.

Creative thinking can be consciously broken down into a process of 5 steps and this is where it gets interesting……..AND where the ‘sweet nectar’ is for us. I will add a 6th stage here as I believe that we can take something from the farming experience that will set us up for future successes.

The 5 Stages are :

1. Identification

2. Preparation

3. Incubation

4. Breakthrough

5. Resolution


Plus 6. Follow through

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‘Old Vines’ watercolour by Georgia Mansur, 1/4 sheet, If you are interested in purchasing this painting email, free shipping internationally.


1. The Creative Process begins with IDENTIFICATION of the problem to be solved: planning a quilt, designing a landscape or learning a new medium. Nothing creative will happen until you identify what you want to do.


2. A PREPARATION stage follows, where you evaluate possible solutions. Here you research possibilities, considering what you have done previously with similar problems or what others have done. You make sketches, plan colour schemes, and establish boundaries for your creative activity. This the THINKING stage of your project.


3. In the INCUBATION stage you put the project on the shelf for a while. Your unconscious mind sorts and assimilates the information you accumulated in the preparation phase like a computer. This stage may only take minutes, while you set up to work or take a coffee break. (This is what I call Percolating stage~ if you are a tea drinker then maybe you would call this ‘steeping’) Then again, it may take much longer for a fully realized solution to surface. Sometimes it comes to you when your mind is doing something else (like driving, talking on the phone, or when you are brushing your teeth or taking a shower).


4. BREAKTHROUGH is when the solution becomes immediately apparent. This is not inspiration, but the result of your earlier thinking~ although it sometimes seems amazing when the insight suddenly does come through. (Maybe that is where the lightning bolt metaphor comes from).


5. Once the breakthrough has occurred, a RESOLUTION step completes the cycle or process. You are ready to try your solution and see how it works.


6. FOLLOW THROUGH is the tying up of loose ends to finish strong~ evaluating what worked, what didn’t, and taking notes on how you could improve next time.  You are creating a solid platform to begin again with renewed energy, knowledge and experience from the growing season or problem solving activities. You are already thinking about the next crop/project and planning ahead to ensure your groundwork has been an investment in YOU and your productivity and creativity, making it much easier to repeat and build on your recent success. Suceess breeds confidence, confidence breeds more success!

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Reds and Blues by Georgia Mansur, watercolour.

I am sure you have all experienced this creative process to some degree but perhaps were not conscious to the stages of development your brain was going through. Knowing what is happening and deliberately guiding yourself through the process is very helpful to progress your ideas and bring them to creative fruition~ an abundant harvest on all fronts!


Creative people see opportunity in ‘failures’, misfires, and things that didn’t turn out quite like they had imagined…. In fact they are adept at spinning that so-called ‘negative’ around and using it to springboard into new possibilities and creative solutions.

In Sparks of Genius, Robert and Michelle Root-Bernstein assert, ‘At the level of creative imagination, everyone thinks alike. Everything begins with a feeling, followed by understanding. When you see a problem, you intuit a solution, and then prove it. Intuition is the still, small voice that says, ‘TRY THIS.’

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‘Gnarly’ watercolour by Georgia Mansur, 1/4 sheet using the Georgia Mansur Palette by Daniel Smith Paints and DS Watercolor Ground. If you would like to purchase this painting email


So now its up to YOU to rewrite your own creative possibilities…………like a farmer you will prepare the soil, plant the seed, water, cultivate and feed your creativity~~~~ let me know what happens!

I hope you will share what you are working on and feel free to post pics~ let me know how you are navigating the creative process and if there were any illuminations here that helped you progress to the next stage of problem solving and creative possibility. Please add your thoughts and insight so we can all share in this creative harvest.

Until next time, happy creative farming! Here is a recent wine label I designed for my friend and neighbours at Lowe Wines. Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go crack open that bottle of wine….. ; D Cheers~ here’s to your creative success!

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Mudgee Blue Wine Label designed by Georgia Mansur, signed by Artist Georgia Mansur and Winemaker David Lowe

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” — John Steinbeck

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2 Responses to “FARMING and CREATIVITY…..Cultivate Your Own Creative Possibilities!”

  1. Simone October 21, 2013 at 21:00 #

    Wow Georgia! That’s loaded ! Now you’re a writer too ! Amazing woman xxx

    • georgiamansur October 21, 2013 at 21:55 #

      Thank you Simone, I like to learn more about our brains and how they work to solve problems~ sometimes it is not that obvious to make those connections to what we already know but we can be so much more productive if we utilise our life experiences!

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