My mother was my earliest example of creativity. After picking us up from primary school in the afternoons and having told us what was for lunch, she would always think out loud, “what am I going to make for supper tonight?” I knew she would then be going through the favourites of every family member in her mind and if you’re lucky, she would have the ingredients for your personal favourite.
I’ll never forget the day I found her in the kitchen, wishing out loud that she had flowers to put on the table. The wooden cupboards had been newly fitted; the floor covering and the curtains matched them perfectly in the late afternoon sun that was streaming through the window. She never had a flower garden. But when I passed through the kitchen again about half an hour later, there were tiny, young oranges and some foliage in a vase on the table! Problem solved.
Art is always problem solving. As I grew up on a farm with a father and three brothers finding practical solutions to everything under the sun, I witnessed a lot of that. In art, it can be rather abstract: You have to find ways of creating 3D illusions in 2D, of stirring interest and emotion with paint or pencil marks on canvas or paper; or the more hands-on problems of creating or recreating objects big or small on a manageable scale with malleable materials such as clay or less malleable materials such as wood and metal.