CREATIVITY: From Where does it come?

So, where does great work come from? … As a writer, there are some days when the words flow effort­less­ly, and then moments when not a word makes any sense. It’s clas­sic. It’s some­thing that we all deal with. Many believe that we need the per­fect sit­u­a­tion for our cre­ativ­i­ty to flow. We need to not be dis­rupt­ed or dis­tract­ed or faced with prob­lems for our best work to flow with muse.” ~  Tim Har­ford, TED talk

And so it goes for any cre­ative activ­i­ty. There is no one key trait that defines cre­ativ­i­ty. Many neu­ro­sci­en­tists believe that acti­vat­ing our ‘cre­ative mode’ involves dif­fer­ent inter­act­ing cog­ni­tive process­es, both con­scious and uncon­scious, as well as our emo­tions. Though we still don’t under­stand every­thing that goes on in the brain, there is research to back-up the idea that still­ness plays a role and let­ting your mind wan­der with­out crit­i­cal­ly think­ing. Try­ing not to solve a prob­lem so much as allow­ing our thoughts to just free asso­ciate. 

Morn­ing Med­i­ta­tion, JASON SMITH

When read­ing about cre­ative writ­ers, sci­en­tists, artists, and so on, what they had in com­mon was ‘down time’, the time they just went for walks like Thore­au and Dick­ens, or took cat naps like Edi­son. They blocked out the world around them and went to a stress free place in their mind.

They relied on their accu­mu­lat­ed resources they had in their minds already and took time for the  brain to defrag­ment. The brain rearranges and restores infor­ma­tion that we have already tak­en in so when we need a par­tic­u­lar piece of infor­ma­tion, we will be able to access quick­ly. To do this, the brain needs us to be qui­et to incu­bate all the infor­ma­tion we have received. To do some­thing that is not prob­lem-solv­ing. We need to be relaxed and stress free. 

Increased cre­ative think­ing is a side-effect of calm­ing our inner mind

So, one way to become more cre­ative is to be in the habit of dai­ly med­i­ta­tion. It is a way to break from all the dis­trac­tions and con­stant demands we have in our dai­ly lives. 

You could start your day with a few min­utes of just sit­ting — not think­ing about what the day holds for you, but just try­ing to not think of any­thing. Or you could take a walk, or take a break in the after­noon sit­ting down and count­ing your breaths. One work­shop I was in had us sit down and con­cen­trate first on our toes, then feet, and slow­ing mov­ing up our body, think­ing of how that par­tic­u­lar part of the body felt. It takes you into your­self, let­ting your brain defrag­ment. Stop­ping your brain from try­ing to solve a prob­lem and instead just work on the fil­ing sys­tem in your head. 


Sub­mit­ted by Jude Lobe 



Long Live the Tree, Jude Lobe

In recent his­to­ry we have expe­ri­enced more and heav­ier floods, cli­mate change, poor­er air qual­i­ty, more and longer droughts and high­er inci­dences of depres­sion. So why are we con­stant­ly cut­ting down forests for agri­cul­ture and trees for devel­op­ments? Is it that our edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem failed us by not teach­ing human ecol­o­gy, the study in under­stand­ing the inter­dis­ci­pli­nary con­nec­tions between humans and the nat­ur­al and social environments.

Trees pro­duce the major­i­ty of oxy­gen. They absorb the car­bon diox­ide we breathe out and release the oxy­gen for us to breathe. If there were no trees, there would­n’t be any­thing else to absorb the rain and release it into to the air. They puri­fy the air by absorb­ing pol­lu­tants and they pre­vent ero­sion by calm­ing the effects of winds and rain and pre­vent run-off by absorb­ing the water. 

And food is anoth­er gift trees give us, like fruit and its seeds to cre­ate more fruit. And though I like to think our coun­try should be more invest­ed in solar and oth­er alter­na­tive ener­gies, these dead trees falling in the forests decay and even­tu­al­ly pro­vide us fos­sil fuels…and I hate to say it, plastics. 

Think twice about sup­port­ing cut­ting down trees. Thank our trees for our exis­tence. They Pro­vide us clean air and oxy­gen to breathe, cool our cities dur­ing heat waves, save water, pro­tect us from floods, pre­vent soil ero­sion, pro­vide homes for wildlife and pro­vide food. It has also be shown that walks in parks and nature trails lifts spir­its and helps suf­fered of depres­sion.  And they are good for our health even when we are just look­ing at them through a win­dow, as stud­ies have shown that “patients with tree views heal faster and with few­er complication.” 

Gath­er­ing at the Sumac by Ellie Reinhold
Mar­cy Lansman




Hills­bor­ough Gallery of Arts begins the new year wel­com­ing new mem­ber CATHARINE CARTER, Mixed Media artist. Catharine earned a BFA in Stu­dio Art and went on to estab­lish a suc­cess­ful por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio where she pho­tographed fam­i­lies and events for 35 years. In 2010, Catharine closed the por­trait stu­dio to ful­ly embark on her own jour­ney of artis­tic expres­sion and self-dis­cov­ery. For years she had been exper­i­ment­ing with dou­ble expo­sures in my dark­room and dis­cov­ered that her thoughts and feel­ings were much bet­ter illus­trat­ed by com­bin­ing images than they could be through a sin­gle image.

Read Catharine’s account of her jour­ney into art: 

Sto­ries in the form of fables, myths and fairy tales have always held a fas­ci­na­tion for me and helped me find per­spec­tive on my own deep­est thoughts and emo­tions. The writ­ings of Carl Jung and Joseph Camp­bell, com­bined with my love of sto­ries, inspired me to delve deep­er into my uncon­scious, explore my inter­nal world and trans­late those thoughts into pho­tomon­tage images. Grow­ing up in an artis­tic fam­i­ly, I was intro­duced at a young age to Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, and Greek mythol­o­gy. My father was a per­former and he read the sto­ries with such great expres­sion that he made them come to life for me.

I also recon­nect­ed with Joseph Campbell’s writ­ings and his hero’s jour­ney (through the Bill Moy­er tapes), which led me to Carl Jung. Their thoughts on self-actu­al­iza­tion and the uncon­scious expand­ed my view­point and led me to exam­ine my own inner land­scape through arche­types, mythol­o­gy, fairy tales, and col­lec­tive memories.

Now, with my dig­i­tal dark­room, I con­tin­ue to cre­ate trans­for­ma­tive pho­tomon­tage images and share them with oth­ers in gallery shows, pub­li­ca­tions and online.
My works of Pho­tomon­tage are pub­lished in JOURNEY, a book of pho­to-mon­tage imagery that is inter­spersed with short writ­ing from Joseph Camp­bell and Carl Jung which inspired my works shown in the book. The book is avail­able on my web­site (LINK). It will also be avail­able at Hills­bor­ough Gallery. 
You can view more about Catharine on her web­page on HGA web­site (LINK). The image above will be in her Fea­tured Show BREATHE open­ing March 31st, 2023. Also fea­tured will be Susan Hope & Jude Lobe.



Yes! It most def­i­nite­ly can. View­ing art is good for your health. Do you want to enhance your brain func­tion and feel good doing it? Then take a walk through an Art gallery, like Hills­bor­ough Gallery of Arts, Art muse­um or Crafts Fair. It not only lifts your spir­its, view­ing art can stim­u­late the cre­ation of new neur­al path­ways and ways of thinking. 

Each time you look at a piece of art, your brain is work­ing to make sense of the visu­al infor­ma­tion it’s receiv­ing. From high­ly life­like por­traits to abstract col­lec­tions of rec­tan­gles, look­ing at art stim­u­lates the brain and puts our innate knack for orga­niz­ing pat­terns and mak­ing sense of shapes to use.” Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona Glob­al Campus

Pat Mer­ri­man

Take for exam­ple a por­trait of a per­son, or boat, etc. It is not a per­son or boat, but the brain has the skill of mak­ing sense of what we’re see­ing and allows us to iden­ti­fy it as such. The brain goes through changes when look­ing at a beau­ti­ful art­work.  To prove the point, an exper­i­ment con­duct­ed dur­ing a stu­dent muse­um vis­it. It showed through brain scans an increase in blood flow to the brain by as much as 10% that trig­gers a surge of dopamine (the neu­ro­trans­mit­ter — your body’s nat­ur­al anti­de­pres­sant and asso­ci­at­ed with feel­ings of hap­pi­ness and well-being) in the same areas of the brain that reg­is­ters roman­tic love. It’s the the equiv­a­lent of look­ing at some­one you love. Sur­veys con­duct­ed after the trip showed that even just an hour’s trip to the muse­um indi­cat­ed signs of improved crit­i­cal think­ing skills among stu­dents, exhibit­ing empa­thy, and expressed tol­er­ance towards oth­ers dif­fer­ent from them. 

Con­sid­er­ing this, it seems ART class­es should def­i­nite­ly not be a class to cut, but, in fact, it should be a required course.

Bird’s Eye View, Alice Levinson


Look­ing at art isn’t just about mak­ing sense of the shapes. When we look at a piece of art, be it a paint­ing, sculp­ture, fur­ni­ture, tex­tile, we place our­selves into the art­work. Putting our­selves in the art is when our brain turns things like action, move­ment, and ener­gy you see in art into actu­al emo­tions you can feel. Our cog­ni­tion is influ­enced by our expe­ri­ences in the phys­i­cal world. The more you study the art­work, the more you put your­self with­in the scene and can actu­al­ly feel or relate to the work. Say for instance, you look at a  paint­ing by Jack­son Pol­lock. You may feel like you are fling­ing that paint. Or maybe you are view­ing a pic­ture of the ocean. You may feel the sand beneath your feet, the smell of the salt, call of the gulls, and the sound of ocean waves. When you begin to relate to the art­work, you’re more able to appre­ci­ate it even more. It may then bring mem­o­ries and feel­ings of joy.

On the Rocks, Jude Lobe

So TAKE A WALK THROUGH AN ART GALLERY and lift your spirits.

~ Jude Lobe






Here’s help in how to buy art. No, it does­n’t need to match the sofa. You may have pur­chased a new home and want to dec­o­rate. Or you have have seen an art­work in a doc­tor’s office or art gallery and it cap­tured your atten­tion. Well good news. ART does not have to match your sofa. It only has to make you hap­py, remind you of good mem­o­ries or keep your interest.

If you are in the mar­ket for art (paint­ings, sculp­tures, one-of-a-kind fur­ni­ture, quilts, etc.), you only have to love it.  Sure, it should look appro­pri­ate in the room. But don’t think of fine art as just decor – because it isn’t, it is Fine Art and it should be expe­ri­enced as such.

    You can peruse art gal­leries, hope­ful­ly local art gal­leries, espe­cial­ly those owned by artists, like Hills­bor­ough Gallery of Arts in North Car­oli­na. If you are moved by a piece of fine art because it makes you hap­py, that is a good rea­son to buy It and take it home with you. That way, you would have the art to lift your spir­its every sin­gle day. Art is functional.

    You can always change lit­tle things in your room to make the art fit your decor. For instance, take col­ors from the art­work and bring in those col­ors with pil­lows, table cov­ers, anoth­er work of art or an accent rug.

    The art­works you choose do not need to match. There are no rules for choos­ing art accept pur­chase the art you love. The com­mon thread will be what they have in com­mon which is THAT YOU LOVE THEM. You don’t have to find the same col­ors, style or even the same time period.


    How to Com­bine Dif­fer­ent Styles

    Think out­side the box in arrang­ing art. For instance, a paint­ing does­n’t have to hang on a wall. It’s very bohemi­an to lean it on a man­tle or against the wall. Throw out the idea that items have to match. Jux­ta­po­si­tion makes things inter­est­ing. Mix round and square sculp­tures or high and low art­works. Find some­thing they have in com­mon to bring dif­fer­ent styles togeth­er. It can be col­or, sub­ject mat­ter or loca­tions. Group art. Hang one large piece, with small­er pieces. Same with sculp­tures. Groups items with same themes or var­i­ous styles or sizes. To group pho­tographs, frame them all with the same style and col­or frame.

    Don’t be afraid to mix styles. That can add excite­ment and ener­gy to the space. If you have a large blank wall, cov­er it with an extra large paint­ing and it becomes a focal point, a show piece.

    And there are times when you should think ‘inside the box.’ Think of your jew­el­ry that you love, but don’t see it very much as it is hid­den in your jew­el­ry box. How about plac­ing it in a shad­ow box and enjoy it every day.

    Jew­el­ry by Ari­an­na Bara


    Orig­i­nal Art vs Prints

    Orig­i­nal art­work is a good way to add some­thing unique and last­ing to your home, but it can be more expen­sive than a print. If the orig­i­nal art is a paint­ing, it will be more lumi­nous than that of a print and the col­or more lus­cious. It may have a com­pli­men­ta­ry tex­ture as well that is part of it’s char­ac­ter that can’t be trans­lat­ed in a print. Three-dimen­sion­al art like sculp­tures may not suf­fer that same dif­fer­ence, but an orig­i­nal will be one-of-a-kind.

    In the end, the best way to buy and dec­o­rate with art is to buy what you love. Oh, and make sure it makes you smile and feel good.


    ~Jude Lobe



    Take a Hike, by Jude Lobe. 11X14.

    Look­ing for a fun way to build endurance and strength? Take a Hike. It’s the healthy thing to do. Not only does a hike in the woods give you a sense of com­muning with nature, it has been found to decrease neur­al activ­i­ty in the part of the brain that is asso­ci­at­ed with anx­i­ety and depression. 

    Mar­tin Nie­der­meier, PhD, lead author on the PLOS One  (Pub­lic Library of Sci­ence ) study, says that nature—and green envi­ron­ments in particular—can reduce per­ceived stress and fatigue. “The visu­al stim­uli in nature serve as so-called soft fas­ci­na­tions,” he says, “which might result in a low­er per­ceived stress and fatigue.” Nie­der­meier says these find­ings are impor­tant for a sim­ple rea­son: “Peo­ple tend to stick with forms of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty they enjoy.”

    Hik­ing car­ries lit­tle risk of injury, builds fit­ness and bone den­si­ty, uses calo­ries, com­bats depres­sion, helps to reduce heart dis­ease and strokes, and helps low­er blood pres­sure just to name a few of the many benefits. 

    So, TAKE A HIKE in the woods. BUT.…..

    If you can’t get out to a woods this week­end, come instead to Hills­bor­ough Gallery of Arts and view OUT OF THE WOODS exhib­it, fea­tur­ing artists Mar­cy Lans­man, Ellie Rein­hold and Jason Smith. It will sure­ly lift your spirits. 


    by Jude Lobe
    for Hills­bor­ough Gallery of Arts



    Here’s the great news. Every­one who comes to your stu­dio are com­ing BECAUSE THEY WANT TO SEE YOUR WORKKeep that in mind. ALL are poten­tial buyers. So make it a great expe­ri­ence for them.

    Pho­tog­ra­phy by  © Iakov Fil­imonov |


    • Greet them at the door and make them feel welcomed.

    • Make it an expe­ri­ence — have some wine or hot cider, grapes, cheese or anoth­er snack.

    • Have nice music playing in the background.


    • Here’s where Less is More. I know it is a big temp­ta­tion to put out ALL your work, think­ing if they don’t see it, they won’t buy it. However, if there is too much to see, it could work negatively. It will be visu­al overload and per­sons won’t be able to focus on that one object that will speak to their hearts. Have faith. Though there will be less work, you will end up sell­ing more. You can con­tin­ue to fill those emp­ty sold spots with anoth­er piece. Don’t hang from ceil­ing to floor. Negative space is gold­en. It draws atten­tion to the piece that is sur­round­ed by space.

    • Price every­thing so if you are busy talk­ing with some­one else, anoth­er per­son will know the price and not get frustrated and walk out. Give price, medi­um, and if pos­si­ble, a short descrip­tion of your inspiration for the piece.


    To follow up, you MUST get their email and address. Thank them for com­ing to your stu­dio. If they agreed to be on your email list, add them to your month­ly newsletter. You want to keep your name and what you do in their minds. I’ve had several peo­ple call me up when they were look­ing for a gift. Follow‑up, follow‑up, follow‑up. This is your busi­ness. You want to sell year ’round. Not just at shows.


     If you are doing your stu­dio tour through an Arts orga­ni­za­tion, to get the biggest bang for your buck, don’t just rely on the Stu­dio Tour’s advertise­ments. Send out newslet­ters, tell your friends, pass out your brochures everywhere you go. Write up your own press release on, send out post­cards, and so on. And list links to the Press Release on sites for free like Post the Press Release link on your Face­book page, Insta­gram, Twit­ter and in your newsletter.

    Excerpt from Jude Lobe’s ‘So you want to have a Stu­dio Tour’ pamphlet

    YES!">Do We Need Art? YES!

    DO WE NEED ART? Yes! 

    Art has been with us for over 30,000 years. Ori­gins of art are ancient and lie with­in Africa, before world­wide human dis­per­sal. The ear­li­est known evi­dence of ‘artis­tic behav­iour’ is of human body dec­o­ra­tion, includ­ing skin col­or­ing with ochre and the use of beads, although both may have had func­tion­al ori­gins. 

    Mod­ern cos­met­ics and tat­toos have a his­to­ry, orig­i­nat­ing with the use of ochre for col­or­ing the skin hun­dreds of mil­len­nia ago. The human love of body dec­o­ra­tion involves the appli­ca­tion of col­or. The old­est known use of ochre is ∼ 164,000 BC from a South African culture.

    So art has been all around us for mil­len­ni­al bring­ing us joy by mak­ing us pret­ty; col­or­ing and design­ing our cloth­ing; and adding visu­al art like paint­ings and sculp­tures to record ani­mals, his­to­ry, hon­or famous per­sons or just to make love­ly struc­tures. There are many rea­sons artists cre­ate. Michelan­ge­lo described his incen­tive as ‘I saw an angel in the mar­ble and carved until I set him free.’

    There is sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence that there is a neu­ro­log­i­cal rela­tion­ship between visu­al cre­ativ­i­ty and lan­guage. For the view­er, art is healthy for our men­tal health. Think of the joy you get from going to a con­cert, vis­it­ing an art muse­um or watch­ing a dance recital. 

    With recent advances in bio­log­i­cal, cog­ni­tive and neu­ro­log­i­cal sci­ence, there are new forms of evi­dence on the arts and the brain. For exam­ple, researchers have used biofeed­back to study the effects of visu­al art on neur­al cir­cuits and neu­roen­docrine mark­ers to find bio­log­i­cal evi­dence that visu­al art pro­motes health, well­ness and fos­ters adap­tive respons­es to stress.” (Beth Daley, the Con­ver­sa­tion, a non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion)

    New exhibit at Hillsborough Gallery of Arts


    Art gives mean­ing to our lives. It helps us under­stand our world. It is an essen­tial part of our cul­ture because it allows us to have a deep­er under­stand­ing of our emo­tions; increas­es our self-aware­ness, and allows us to be open to new ideas and expe­ri­ences. “Addi­tion­al­ly, sci­ence has shown that view­ing beau­ti­ful art­work can actu­al­ly cause you to expe­ri­ence the same phys­i­cal reac­tions we get when we fall in love.” (Pro­fes­sor Semir Zeki, a neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gist with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don)

    So go fall in love. Vis­it the Hills­bor­ough Gallery of Arts new exhib­it, SWEET IMPOSSIBLE BLOSSOMS with Ari­an­na Bara, Chris Graeb­n­er and Ian Herdell. Now show­ing March 22nd to April 24th, 2022.

    ~Jude Lobe



    Art is good for the soul, and you have it all around you every day inside and out­side your home. It’s not only a paint­ing or pho­to­graph on a wall, or a sculp­ture in your gar­den. It is the gar­den, the jew­el­ry you wear, the pil­low on your sofa, the table­cloth, the design on your sil­ver­ware.  But art is not just some­thing to look at and admire, rec­og­nized it is func­tion­al, too. It gives you joy in view­ing it, every day it lifts your spir­its, it is good for your health. 

    Sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies sug­gest that art improves health and well-being among indi­vid­u­als. Ben­e­fits of art include improve­ment of mem­o­ry and low­er stress lev­els. Pop­u­la­tions stud­ied found that when per­sons viewed tra­di­tion­al and con­tem­po­rary gal­leries it pro­mot­ed well-being in them and includ­ed a pos­i­tive social impact and cog­ni­tive enhancement. 

    Saman­tha Kaplan believes that “Art is gen­uine­ly a gift to the world. It’s what we crave in the human expe­ri­ence. Art gives mean­ing to our lives and helps us under­stand our world. It is an essen­tial part of our cul­ture because it allows us to have a deep­er under­stand­ing of our emo­tions; it increas­es our self-aware­ness, and also allows us to be open to new ideas and expe­ri­ences. Art there­fore con­tin­ues to open our minds and our hearts and shows us what could be pos­si­ble in our world.”

    Eric Saun­ders, “Tree in Fog No. 4”,photograph

    In clos­ing, our phys­i­ol­o­gy is deeply effect­ed by feel­ings and emo­tion. Try to keep a bal­ance of good feel­ings in close prox­im­i­ty to your­self dur­ing the day. Per­haps a small paint­ing on your desk, or larg­er one on the wall. Maybe a piece of art sculp­ture at home in your win­dow sill to look at before you walk out the door. Or a calm­ing art­work on the wall of your bed­room to send you off to a peace­ful night’s rest. And be aware of the beau­ti­ful fab­rics you choose for a table­cloth, or your cloth­ing, the jew­el­ry you wear or the lamp by your chair. Art is all around us. 

    HGA arti­cle by Jude Lobe


    Here are my mus­ings about the new show. 

    It’s always fun when we brain-storm to come up with an inter­est­ing title for our Member’s show exhibits in Jan­u­ary and Feb­ru­ary. This time the vote went to ANYTHING GOES for the Jan­u­ary exhib­it. There are so many deci­sions that every artist has to make in cre­at­ing just one art piece and this new title offers the artist a challenge. 

    The pos­i­tive thing about a chal­lenge is that it stim­u­lates the artist’s cre­ativ­i­ty. They have a theme/topic to which they should adhere. Here’s how they begin. What piece of art can I cre­ate that express­es Any­thing Goes? What sub­ject, what medi­um, what size, what sur­face, and the list goes on. Some­time an artist may sit in front of a can­vas for hours or they may doo­dle on paper. In any event, we hope you will enjoy and maybe one of  these art­works speaks so loud­ly to you, you’ll just have to take it home to enjoy it every day. 

    ~Jude Lobe View more of Jude’s work at Web­site