Petrus Spronk

Whenever I get a chance to add to the activity of the creative spirit by practising it, and thus keep it alive, I take it on, because practicing creativity is good for mental health. Without creativity in my life, it wouldn’t be worth living. In fact it would be like hell on earth.

To practice the creative spirit involves being inventive, using your imagination, being innovative, experimental, original, unusual and resourceful. To be creative is to be unconventional and to have good ideas. It is therefore good to practice it.

However being creative isn’t only for artists. It is for everyone. We are all born with the creative spirit as part of us. Our first breath is our first creative act. You can practice the creative spirit with such simple activities as setting the table, organising your kitchen or even hanging the washing.

The creative act is closely related to the concept of play. Play is an activity which has no outcome, no end product. It is an activity of learning, an activity of exploration of one’s environment and experimenting with that which is available.

Just observe babies and young children involved in play and through that play discover their immediate world. And learn.

Play is not a waste of time. I start every new project with a period of play. It is a very important use of time, especially for the artist, because the artist plays with his/her material and in this way discovers what he can and cannot do with it – discovers the boundaries.

One day, some time ago I took a walk in the forest, because I believe that you can walk yourself into answers for all kinds of questions.

If you are stuck for answers in relation to any question, take a walk in the forest, or, just take a walk, and pose the question and allow an answer to arrive as it invariably does. The only tricky aspect of this is to stay open minded, instead of expecting a certain outcome. You may be surprised what turns up.

And example. This is what happened to me on one of my daily walks. I was and had been walking with the question of ‘where to now’ when I came across a branch of a tree which had fallen into the fork off another tree and thus created a perfect horizontal beam in a forest made up of verticals. In other words, it stood out. Then by chance there was a rock laying nearby which I picked up and paced in the centre of the horizontal beam – A simple sculptural statement.

Since I usually carry a camera with me on my walks I took a photograph of it and forgot about it.

However, something had stirred, and awakend my creative spirit and the next day I created another piece by placing a row of stones along a fallen branch and I was off onto another wonderful story of play and discovery – A story of the creative spirit waking up into another project of enrichment which lasted a year and was titled: ‘no harm’.

All of this to keep the creative spirit alive.

To finish this column let’s consider what happens without the creative spirit, which is the instigator of art and poetry.

“imagine life without art and poetry”

the art of cooking, the art of writing and the consequent reading of that writing. The art of film making, the art of dancing, the art of teaching, in short, the art of everything.

Without art life would be brutal and terrible.

Just consider this:

who creates the magic in an otherwise ordinary existence?

who changes the ordinary into the extraordinaire?

who provides the colour into our daily life?

who provides the inspiring stories?

who creates the movies we so much enjoy?

who has the magic touch to turn on the light in the dark?

who colours in the black and white?

who lifts the mundane into the majestic?

the poet does

the poet who resides in the artist

this is what the artist and poet do.

They awaken in us a sense of wonder,

which is the driver of a creative life.

They take us on a journey, a special

journey in a world where we are perishing

for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.


here is my last thought on the topic.

“art exists to disturb the sleep of the world”


Petrus Spronk is a local artist who contributes regular columns to The Wombat Post.