Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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07/13/2006: "Might as well face it, I'm addicted to blog!"

Tonight my July issue of Wired finally arrived and I got to read that article Cody mentioned awhile back: "A new (economic) theory suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types - quick and dramatic, or careful and quiet" What Kind of Genius Are You?

This article is incredibly interesting:

"...he (Galenson) has scoured the records of art auctions, counted entries in poetry anthologies, tallied images in art history textbooks - and then sliced and diced the numbers with his econometric ginsu knife. Applying the fiercely analytic, quanitative tools of modern economics, he has reverse engineered ingenuity to reveal the source code of the creative mind".

"What he found is that genius - whether in art or architecture or even business - is not the sole province of 17-year-old Picassos and 22-year-old Andreessens. Instead it comes in two very different forms, embodided by two very different types of people. "Conceptural Innovators". as Galenson calls them, make bold, dramatic leaps in their disciplines. They do their breakthrough work when they are young."

"Then there's a second character type, someone who's just as significant but trudging by comparison. Galenson calls this group "Experimental Innovators."...they proceed by a lifetime of trial and error and thus do their important work much later in their careers. Galenson maintains that this duality - conceptualists are from Mars, experimentaalits are from Venus - is the core of the creative process."

Anyway, the article goes on and really is facinating. I couldn't decide if I fall into either catagory. In some ways I opperate like a conceptual innovator, in that I work meticulously, almost scientifically on a piece and know exactly what I want before I put the brush to canvas...where the mechanics of painting are less of the driving force...(a tendancy of the CI according to the article) but on the other hand, I have been trudging along series after series, experimenting, learning new techniques etc. and I think my work is improving with least I hope it is as I'm in my 30s now and still don't have any break-away hits (though I am *certain* I have some in me).

So, to the rest of you...based on my very simplified rehash of a complex theory, what type of genius are are you?

AH DAMN! After waiting several weeks for my print copy to arrive and then typing out a bunch of it above, I just double checked and the article is available online. sheesh!

Replies: 19 Comments

on Thursday, July 13th, Kasia said

The sad thing is I am not a genius at all. :D But I can live with that. :)

on Thursday, July 13th, Elise said

You never know Kasia, you could be a late bloomer! I like that this principal seems to hold true for other professions besides the arts; it's more about ingenuity in any field, never know.

Oh, and the "genius" bit was somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

on Thursday, July 13th, berry bowman connell said

If a genious, it's gonna
have t'be when I'm older, and the time's really
getting t'where I'll be
one of those famous
dead artists!
I should be so lucky!
On the other hand, is
the statement congruent
with men are from mars,
women are from venus?
Because ol' Vincent did
his big gig in the last
ten or so years of his life.

On a different note altogether
I took what you said to
heart, as when I
started bloggin, I had
also envisioned
more artist participation
than what has actually happened
at my site, which
until today,
was becoming more photo-oriented
than paint oriented.

'Course, with the blocks I've thrown up in front of me
not all of it is mine, but, that's hardly the
point, is it? Art is art,
and as artists, we can
help each other in ways
that can't even be measured.

on Thursday, July 13th, julie said

elise - i just had this idea
you know how you tend to paint a single person and sometimes a single person and a cat?
what if you did a series with two people in each painting?
think of the tension and drama that would be created.
also, why not use some honesty/reality?
for example, you could paint one of you and rick or one of you and that cutie pie from 28 days later?
anyhoo - just thinking out loud.

on Thursday, July 13th, Elise said

I agree Berry, about how great the Internet is for allowing people to help each other out. The advice I’ve been given over the years has been invaluable.

Hey Julie! This idea has come up before actually, I was never really aware before that I always painted single entities, but I suppose it has to do with how I see my place in the world. As for more “reality/honesty”…I’m not sure what you mean? I don’t really want to paint actual pictures of myself (boring!) and I have painted Rick many times in the past but there is something about couples that has implications I’m intentionally leaving out (except in the case where there is a narrative thread that is specific to how people relate to each other…or don’t)…

If I do experiment with more than one person, I think I’d be more interested in trios in terms of balance. I’m obsessed with balance! But thanks for the suggestions. It gives me a lot to think about and consider. Oh, and I realize my forms are either intentionally exaggerated or overly idealized, but for now…I work with what integrates the most easily with the forms in nature.


on Friday, July 14th, Rod said

I agree with Julie, I think it would be interesting to see how you would paint multiple figures, perhaps even a group at an event or a dinner party.(hint, hint.) Speaking of which, I'll know within the week if I will be able to visit in Juneau on my way up to Anchorage for my state fair business, if not then, perhaps after in September. BTW when do you start back teaching? maybe you could come to Palmer and do the state fair with me!! (just a thought.)

on Friday, July 14th, Stephanie said

like those two dansing that you have in your in-process gallery - how did they turn out?
i too am "obsessed with balance" and like to remind myself that "balance is a verb" - too much emphasis on it as a state for my taste :)

on Friday, July 14th, greg said

Oh man I was gonna blog about that soon! I read it on the plane and thought it was a great concept and made total sense.

I was thinking that there was still hope for me, a life long tinkerer ... but like the article said, there's still constant work and effort required along that path!

on Friday, July 14th, Elise said

Hey Rod, what did you mean by the "hint hint"...?

When does the Alaska State Fair start? That might be an option, I think though it would be really cool if you could come to Juneau and maybe come sailing and stay at my house and stuff!

I'm getting ready to buy my airline tickets home for's going to cost around $550 just for the airfare to Seattle! Can you believe that??? Anyway, I'm going to be pretty broke for awhile.

I could put my tracker on the ferry and drive to Palmer from Skagway but that would take a couple days and I don't have a lot of vacation time left.

Oh, and don't worry, I'm getting ready to send you a package with your goodies.

And hi Stephanie, I'm not sure I understand what you meant by "too much empasis on it as a state for my taste" Could you clarify?

As for the couple, i ran out of time and ended up hanging it even though I wasn't that happy with it. I'm going to work on it again when I get it home from the gallery.

And Greg...I took hope from the article as well...I like the idea that hard, continuous work is still needed to acheive later in life.

OK, let's get back to our easles!

on Friday, July 14th, berry bowman connell said

Was driftin' about, noting things, as it were, when I noticed you had asked a question(?) that maybe a gal named Kate has the answer to, though, she's on her way to the diametrically oppsite state yer in right now.

And, the answer:
A chicken and an egg are lying in bed.
The chicken is leaning against the headboard smoking a cigarette, with a satisfied smile on its face.
The egg, looking a bit pissed off, grabs the sheet, rolls over, and says, "Well, I guess we finally answered THAT question.

on Friday, July 14th, Elise said

Good one Berry!

on Friday, July 14th, Dio said

Bit of an unrelated one Elise, what happened to your RSS feed? I've missed loads - I thought it was a bit quiet from up North. ;)

on Friday, July 14th, Elise said

Hey Dio!
RSS? aaaargh! Long story...I was having problems getting it to work right with various aggregators...then I noticed that a few weeks after I started my feed my site's ranking started to fall. I thought maybe because duplicate content was being provided on multiple sites? Do you know how that works at all?

All I know is that after years of having #1 ranking on several key words, I started falling down and down.

Once I removed the feed, within a week or so my site rank was restored. It might have been a complete coincidence, what do you think?

Anyway, I should have let everyone know...sorry!

on Saturday, July 15th, berry bowman connell said

If ya need a joke break....
A man goes into a bar with a monkey.
He orders a drink, and while he's drinking, the monkey jumps all
around the place.
The monkey grabs some olives off the bar and eats them, then
grabs some sliced limes and eats them, then jumps onto the pool
table,grabs one of the billiard balls, sticks it in his mouth, and to
everyone's amazement, somehow swallows it whole. The bartender
screams at the guy, "Did you see what your monkeyjust did?"
The guy says "No, what?"
"He just ate the cue ball off my pool table ---- whole!"
"Yeah, that doesn't surprise me," replied the guy, "he eats
everythingin sight, the little devil. Sorry. I'll pay for the cue ball
He finishes his drink, pays his bill, pays for the stuff the monkey
ate, and then leaves.
Two weeks later he's in the bar again, and has his monkey with him.
He orders a drink and the monkey starts running around the bar again.
While the man is finishing his drink, the monkey finds a
maraschino cherry on the bar. He grabs it, sticks it up his butt,
pulls it out,and eats it. Then the monkey finds a peanut, and again
sticks it up his butt, pulls it out, and eats it. The bartender is
disgusted. "Did you see what your monkey did now?" he asks. "No,
what?" replies the guy.
"Well, he stuck a maraschino cherry and a peanut up his butt, pulled
it out, and ate it!" said the bartender.
"Yeah, that doesn't surprise me," replied the guy.
"He still eats everything in sight, but ever since he had to
pass that cue ball, he measures everything first."

on Saturday, July 15th, Cody said

I'm far from being a genius, but in terms of personality, I'd say I fall into the second category--the "experimental innovators." In other words, I like to develop my ideas as I'm working on a project. I just don't have the patience to methodically think through every detail as a "conceptural Innovator" would. Maybe it's because of the ADD.

on Saturday, July 15th, Cody said

By the way, have you thought about moving your blog over to another platform such as Movable Type or WordPress?

on Saturday, July 15th, Elise said

Thanks for the joke Berry!
And Cody, do you really have ADD? What's that like?

Oh, and I had thought about moving my blog to WordPress but I'm hesitant. I know greymatter is ancient and and unsupported I'm afraid that a database driven blog might affect my pagerank, and I have quite high ranking for most of my target key words so I'm not too anxious to change. It will probably take my entire blog breaking down to get me to do it, even though WordPress has some real advantages.

I've been meaning to ask you where you got the image on your banner (of the tree) is quite beautiful.

on Sunday, July 16th, Cody said

What's it like? Distracting. :P

Actually, it's a lot like having all your thoughts come at you at once and with you having little control in sorting and organizing them. I also suffer from many of the classic symptoms such as easy distractibility, constant fidgeting, and restlessness. It sounds completely debilitating, but I've developed strategies over the years to help me cope with it, so it's not that bad. You can read more about it here.

I understand your concerns about switching blogging platforms, given this site is also your business. I suppose a little research on this topic might be in order.

As for the tree banner, it came with the template I'm using. I like it too. It reminds me of Texas.

on Sunday, July 16th, Elise said

Hey Cody, I was like that a lot when I was younger but I think I've grown out of it...

Oh, and I'm suprised that tree photo was a template...I've never seen it before. As for Texas, my sister lives there and is always bugging me to visit her. All I can think is that it must be hot hot hot!