In the mid 1920s,
nearly a century ago, Graham Wallis proposed his model of the creative process
in a book called The Art of Thought. The four-stage model borrows from earlier
work and thoughts by Herman von Helmholtz and Henri Poincare, and consists of Preparation,
Incubation, Illumination, and Verification.
Preparation is the
realization of a problem that needs to be solved, Incubation is a subconscious
working out of the problem, Illumination is the conscious work on the problem,
and Verification is checking to make sure that the end result matches the preparation.
It’s a compelling
model, and it seems to have aged well over the past ten decades.
And I think it’s
wrong. Well, maybe not wrong. Incomplete.
I think there are several problems with the Wallis model, but the first issue and the one most important to artists is the lack of aesthetic judgment. The model addresses what is right or what is wrong, but not what is good, or what is quality.
To be continued…