Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Fine Arts (Integrated Arts and Education)

Department or School/College

Creative Pulse Program

Committee Chair

Ann C. Wright

Commitee Members

Hipólito Rafael Chacón, Rick Hughes


creativity, Philosophy


University of Montana


A deeply personal Journey, “The Discipline of Happiness” blends fundamental philosophy with the power of visual art. In a 42‐year quest for purpose certain theories have been tried, championed, discredited, and discarded. The distillation of these ideas into my current theory provides, more saliently than the theory itself, a venue for discussion of the creative process. My creativity often manifests itself in visual terms. Through the medium of an extended artist statement I reflect on the virtues of thinking in both a linguistic and spatial manner. Orchestrating the dual modes of inquiry, semantic and visual, into a single narrative highlights the evolution of my ideas about happiness. This journey is aided by a description of the associated artwork following each exposition. The effort clarifies my concepts for critical evaluation while establishing a framework for future innovation. By applying prose and picture to my thought pattern, discovery of the undercurrents of my creative wanderings bubble to the surface. If I understand my process, then better pedagogy may follow. Focus on one set of theories, the discipline of happiness, reduces the chaos of the possible into more quantifiable units of inspiration. Compressed in these theories the meaning of life and the apparatus for learning support, but do not dominate the discussion. Personal history provides context for the generation of creative definitions as well as the Achilles heel undermining the conclusions. Ultimately, I provide no answers; I debunk my own theory, hoping only that the discussion of the process of creativity remains compelling.



© Copyright 2010 Courtney Leigh Christopher