DaVinci and the Creative Mind


Recently, I’ve begun to familiarize myself a little with the life of Leonardo DaVinci, an inventor, artist, dreamer of dreams…and so much more. He accomplished an incredible amount in his lifetime, yet many of his ideas remained unrealized until long after his death.

Regardless, he remained bold in his imagination, and his speculations became part of our future. He envisioned a variety of flying machines. He sketched out ideas for cars and bicycles long before they appeared on roads. He drew prototypes of weapons of war–cannons powered by steam and large tanks–but he also explored the purely whimsical, like shoes that could walk on water, a lyre shaped in the head of a horse, and a robotic knight.

Unlike many, he didn’t settle for second-hand knowledge of topics that intrigued him–he did whatever it took to learn and pursue excellence. To understand anatomy, which he put to use in his art, he dissected a number of corpses and made countless pages of drawings and notes on the human body. And his art still impresses today.

He dreamed in a way distinct from everyone else in his time, right down to his mirror image writing that scrolled from right to left.

This carries over into the imaginative ventures we pursue. A creative mind learns and grows and explores new ideas without fear. Dreamers feel at home in the realm of the fantastic and don’t settle for things already seen and known, and DaVinci’s life provides an excellent illustration of this, though he was far from a perfect man.

Learning more about his creativity has brought consideration of the imaginative ventures in my own life–what impedes and what increases them. For me, chronic health issues (namely Lymes Disease and a number of problems it’s caused) often present an obstacle…but regardless I want to live boldly and dream freely. In the past, I’ve mentioned some practical ways that I increase creativity, but in the end, I’ve found that God provides the most inspiration and encouragement.

So does anything hinder freedom of imagination and creativity in your life? And what encourages you to dream? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  • Jennifer Hallmark
    May 10, 2012 - 2:36 pm · Reply

    Great post! Like you, my state of health at times tries to steal my dreams. [asthma, stomach issues] And sometimes the fight to find time to write in this world we live in, (and me with my children grown and moved out.)
    Blogs like this one, inspirational books, especially non-fiction, like Max Lucado and John Maxwell, pick me up and send me back to my creativity. And of course, music, church, my friends and family even. I guess what I mean is God encourages, using many different ways and different people. 🙂

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 15, 2012 - 7:36 pm · Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Jennifer. So many people deal with chronic health issues, and they often interfere with life or make our dreams seem impossible. I’m so thankful that God gives grace for every situation and enables us to hold fast to dreams He has given. 🙂

      I love that you fleshed out many of the means through which God encourages creativity in our lives. He puts the right things in our paths at the right time!

  • TheQuietPen
    May 13, 2012 - 2:40 pm · Reply

    Losing sight of God saps my creativity. I’m a teacher, and I have just become a direct sales representative to earn some additional income. My time to write is limited. Often, I’m tempted to skip over the whole devotions thing and just get on with the writing. That’s a little like trying to run a marathon while severely dehydrated. God is the source of all life, truth, knowledge, and creative energy. I MUST be found in Him, or soon I’ll find myself in a complete creative dead zone. However, when I”m in Christ, it’s amazing the kind of ideas and direction I get.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 15, 2012 - 7:37 pm · Reply

      Great marathon analogy, Janeen! When we put first things in first place, everything else goes more smoothly because ultimately all of life flows from our relationship with God, including our creativity. Although I’m well aware of that, there are times when my focus slips and have to “recalibrate” my life, so that my attention remains where it should be.

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