Much of the discussion of art is plagued with false dichotomies. Is realism the only legitimate art form, or is abstraction?
There are at least two types of creativity: adaptation and innovation. Adaptation seeks to perfect the artistic paradigm. Innovation seeks to break it.
Rockwell Kent internalized the work of The Group of Seven and honed and polished his stylistic version. Jackson Pollack broke the paradigm by rejecting current convention by painting horizontally and rejecting the use of brushes and other academic techniques. Both types of creativity are legitimate. Pablo Picasso routinely merged both adaptation and innovation as his work slid back and forth across the creative spectrum throughout his long career. There are infinite combinations of adaptive and innovative creativity.
Creativity and visual art are types of thinking. The manner of expression changes depending on the artist's intent. Illustrator Sam Nielsen describes artists as of two types: planners or explorers. Planners tend to be more academic, where each aspect of the artistic process is planned out meticulously. Discoverers tend to be more loose in their approach. Abstract painters often use a discovery process to slowly evolve the work often not even knowing where the work is headed.
Personally I need a combination of adaptive and innovative creativity in my process. Anything less isn't truly satisfying. I need to have a general plan while using a technique that allows me to spontaneously modify my vision.
Brad Teare–May 2015