Creativity – Nature versus Nurture?

I come from two very artistically creative parents. My dad is very talented with woodwork; he not only designed, but also built, just about every piece of furniture in my parent’s house, including the kitchen and all the bathrooms.

My mom on the other hand can knit and sew like it’s no one’s business! She grew up making a lot of her own clothes (by necessity more so than by choice) and still makes us curtains, throw pillows, and Halloween costumes, among other things. She openly does not enjoy doing these things, but she does them anyways and we love her for it!

A few months back, I came across a pattern on Pinterest for a very cute, girly, ruffly, apron. I e-mailed it to my mom, knowing she could easily make it. I never heard back so I assumed she simply didn’t want to make it. Understandable, since I am well aware of how much she dislikes sewing. My heart just about melted when I opened this on Christmas Eve (yes, we open presents on Christmas Eve here, not Christmas morning…).

Beautiful apron that my mom made for me.
Beautiful apron that my mom made for me.

I was beyond excited! I mean, how cute is it! And it’s purple too. Bonus. I think it’s too cute to wear cooking and risk getting dirty, so right now it is hanging on the wall in my kitchen.

She also made this one that was initially going to be a gift for someone else, but she didn’t think it looked good enough to gift, so she kept it for herself instead.

Here's my mom doing her second favorite thing other than sewing. Just kidding.
Here’s my mom doing her second favorite thing other than sewing. […sarcasm]
Pretty talented, no?! I will eventually show you some of the incredible things she has knit me over the years too.

Since I know how much my mom dislikes sewing (and cooking!) and yet she put in all that effort for Christmas, I gladly did another painting for her when she requested it. This one was for my parent’s bedroom, to hang over their bed. Like I’ve mentioned before in this post, my mom likes much different paintings than me. Knowing this, she was very clear what she wanted me to paint for her. Based on her instructions, this is what I came up with.

The finished product on five 10x30" canvases
The finished product on five 10×30″ canvases
Panel 1
Panel 1
Panel 2
Panel 2
Panel 3
Panel 3
Panel 4
Panel 4
Panel 5
Panel 5
The painting hung up in their bedroom.
The painting hung up in their bedroom.

Now back to the title of this post, do you believe that artistic creativity stems from our nature or nurture? I believe that nature has a lot to do with it. Before I could even understand the difference between the two, I know that I liked to create things. Because of this, I was always doing just that. This innate desire caused me to practice this skill over the years, which I am sure helped improve my creativity, however, had I not had that initial interest ingrained in me, I don’t think I would have ever practiced in the first place. So basically, our nature will often predict what we nurture.

On the other hand, I think if I didn’t have this interest and my parents tried to force me to do artistic things growing up, I would have only resented it. For example, I tried karate and I absolutely hated it. I’m athletic enough that I believe I could have gotten decent at it if I stayed in it, but I don’t think I ever would have grown to actually enjoy it and intrinsically want to pursue it.

What do you think on the nature versus nurture debate? What is something you always knew you enjoyed doing and thus pursued (or didn’t enjoy but did anyways) growing up?

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