Maybe the main reason I love my husband is that he knows me so well, he always seems to know the perfect thing to say to get me out of whatever creative/mental trap I have put myself in. For the record, he would probably prefer I name a different main reason I love him – at least publicly – but life is full of dissapointments.
Here was my problem. I had a wall space to fill, I really wanted 16 small paintings, but I only had a corporate budget for 12. Using pieces of paper the same size as the paintings (5 x 7-inch acrylics by Father Bill Moore) I started arranging them on my wall at home. Didn’t work. Hated it. No flow. No way to arrange the pieces to make the wall work as one cohesive unit.
So I said to Josh, “I really need 4 more pieces, but it’s not in my budget at this point. I just can’t make it work with 12.” He knows me well enough to know that I would now obsess on having 16 pieces, and no other solution would crack that obsession. So he said, “Well, if you can’t add 4 more — take 4 away. Do it with 8. Maybe a more sparse design – with less clutter – will work better.”
Suddenly, trying to imagine the space with fewer pieces, opened up the possibilities that I had closed off by my obsessing about the “magical 16.” Within 2 minutes, I found the elusive 12 painting layout. It was there all along, but I couldn’t break through the mental block formed by my preconception that this was a project that needed 16 pieces.
So often the phrase “think outside the box” is interpreted to mean “do something that has never been done before.” The more useful definition for me is literally “think outside the box you have created for yourself.” When I remember that, good things always happen.