Our First Sis-tych

sis-tych  'Gene Pool x 3'
sis-tych- a trip-tych created by three sisters


It is such a joy when accomplishments are shared with others.  Three sisters had paintings accepted into the juried N.O.A.A show last fall!  Recently we painted this triptych, each of us working individually on a panel.  In the past few years we have been noticing that all of the siblings (and many of the cousins) have shown an interest in art and/or photography.  We have been dreaming of having a family exhibition.  Wouldn’t that be fun!  But it also raises the age-old question:  “To what extent is creativity determined by DNA?”  

I was standing at the sink shelling peas and thought of the phrase ‘two peas in a pod’ (or three or four or eight).  Then my brain immediately made the connection to Mendel and his research on heredity.  You remember those lessons from high school, where Mendel, growing peas and checking for characteristics or traits which were passed on, brought us to an understanding of the role of dominant and recessive genes.

Is creativity, like curly hair, or blue eyes, or the size of your big toe in comparison to the others, something we have been born with?   Or can anyone with enough practice and dedication become artistic?   Most scientists are coming to the conclusion that creativity is a complex matter, where a constellation of factors is at work.  Both nature and nurture are responsible for creativity, but creative people may be “wired” differently.  The two halves of the brain communicate with less inhibition.  To date, a single gene, responsible for artistic ability, has not been isolated.  

I am intrigued by that – the skill of writing, painting, or composing music, is not fully understood.  It is part science, part mystery,  and rather humbling.   It excites me, too.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.  Come on siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles – get your feet wet.  As Baptiste Barbot said:  “Everyone is creative.  We’re just creative to a different degree.”

(Linda Saffrey, July 27, 2016)

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