Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We All Need to Play A Little....

Last Friday, I did something rare. I took the entire day off. I had a "Art Play Date" with my very good friend Kelly. Now, Kelly is an extremely accomplished jewelry designer who can wrap up wire loops neater and more consistently than bath towels folded at Macy's. So, we had a little agreement that she'd give me the wire wrapping "secret" and I'd teach her some of what I knew about painting and collage. I think I made out like a bandit on that deal. She showed me "The Secret" in 5 minutes or less. I on the other hand, tried to teach her all my tricks and secrets to my paintings. It turned out to be much harder than I expected. Well, what I found was that...How do you teach someone to "Just Play". How do you teach someone not to fear making mistakes, and just let go. Once you have some basic knowledge of paint, glue, and just have to experiment. Let things happen, there is no right and wrong. It was really hard to describe to someone...and I learned in the experience that most of the time I work very intuitively, and there is no rhyme or reason. Kelly did create an awesome painting, and wrote about the experience on her blog. You can see it here.

After she left for the day, I was dumbfounded as to what I crummy teacher I had been. I thought after all these years of experience...that I'd surely be qualified to teach someone something much more credible than to "Just Play". But, I guess as adults with all sorts of responsibilities we forget to that. It's something we keep thinking we should do...and never get around to it. As artists, we always need a new supply or a new technique to "create". We put off our creations, and continue our search. I did it for years. Sometimes, I still catch myself doing it. The truth is...we don't need any of that stuff. Remember, Kindergarten? You could make anything out of anything. You didn't need the latest, greatest technique...the latest greatest paint....YOU JUST DID IT!!! You Played and had a blast doing it. We all need to PLAY more.
We'd all become the artists, we dream about becoming...if we just let go, stop procrastinating, and Play.

The whole "Play Date" taught me a lot. I had a painting in my mind for years that I never did because I always felt like it wasn't the right time, I needed more experience, better techniques, better supplies. I was saving it. So, I decided to forget that silliness....find my own silliness...old brushes and all...and just Play. I'm so glad I did.

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