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The Joy of Painting, and other lessons on being flexible and patient.

This month flew by as I prepared my graduation portfolio and had some exciting meetings at work. My research team also just finished writing our literature review, which was a challenging yet rewarding process. We approached arts engagement in three different settings, which made finding collective themes in the literature tough. Fortunately, through our critique and reflection process within our group we were able to synthesize what each of us had written. Much to our surprise (and delight!) during this process, themes did emerge!

The most significant revelation I had about the research process this month was the importance of being flexible and patient. Trust your instincts, record your observations, and share them with others. It’s the sharing part that really helped me clarify the connection between our settings, and refine the driving focus for our research project. For a while, our team was struggling to convey the big picture connection between all of our research. Writing our literature review really helped us define why exactly we are all researching arts engagement. We approach our data collection with a clearer understanding of how each of our settings fits into the bigger picture of arts engagement.

Another activity that had a big impact on my learning this month was the official launch of the Adobe Creative channel on Twitch. Although the Creative section has been around for a while, just this week Twitch announced the official launch of new channels and activities. The kick off event was a marathon of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, episodes were played back to back for 8.5 days! My grandmother introduced me to Bob Ross and encouraged me to make art when I was quite young. I remember countless days on grandma's couch being amazed at the ease of Ross' painting techniques. Made a mistake? That's not a mistake, it's a happy little accident. Now, everything is coming full circle as I watch Bob Ross paint on Twitch and am just as as enthralled by his creativity and positive attitude as I was when I was younger. On most days of the marathon, there were more than 40 thousand viewers watching him paint and very active conversations in chat. At the end of each episode, the viewers in chat type GG (good game), demonstrating just how engaged the gaming community can be in creative streams. It has also been exciting to see media coverage of this launch, and it gives me hope that there will be better recognition of the potential for arts engagement on Twitch.

My biggest question to reflect on at this point is to imagine the outcome of my research. What kind of impact will my research bring to the creative community of Twitch? Will it provide unique insights that will help to drive others to embrace this platform for creative activities? How will my research be interpreted within the context of my research team’s project? Will my findings be communicated clearly enough, or will they be buried in a 100 page research report? My answer to myself is to be flexible and patient; trust my instincts, record my observations, and share whenever possible. I doubt my enthusiasm and excitement about the creative potential of the platform will end with my research report. I imagine this exploration and infatuation to continue on past the confines of my report, class, and degree. I look forward to seeing where Twitch Creative goes, and I plan to find a way to continue to participate in this wonderful community.

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