Friday, February 26, 2010

boo boos and playing....

"Boo Boo Bear"
Encaustic on wood
5" X 7"

Recently, I received an email from a very nice lady who had purchased art from me. She said her parents had discouraged her from creating art at a young age. And now, at 52 she wanted to start painting...where should she begin? She didn't want to go to art school, and couldn't even find the nerve to start with a box of crayons and paper.

I actually get this question a lot, and always have a hard time answering it. I know some people need structure...they need someone to tell them how to paint. They need a step by step lesson plan. I think there is a lot of value in learning that way...if you can later break away and find your own voice/style in your painting. I told her to check with her local art supply store or Michael's for classes. I also gave her some online resources, such as SmartFlix...where you can rent art and craft videos like Netflix, and Artist Network TV where you can watch lots of art videos online.

But, the truth was...I really wanted to tell her to just "Play". Forget about the structure of a class, just remember how it was in Kindergarten when you just painted because it was fun! There shouldn't be any rules...except to have FUN! How wonderful it would be...if we could all do that!

I guess you are wondering why I didn't recommend my classes. Well, she didn't tell ask specifically to paint girls...and I was afraid that a total beginner might get lost in my Art Play class. Although it encourages you to play, it's just a whirlwind of mixed media techniques and fun, and no finished paintings. Maybe some would disagree with this, but I didn't want it to discourage her. Sometimes you do need that structured class. Over the summer, I took a private workshop with a famous encaustic (wax) painter. I had worked with encaustics before, but I still needed the validation that you get from taking a structured class. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.

I guess my point is, that you have to find what works for you. Some people need a structured start to finish class, while others need to just find their own way with the materials. There is no right or's up to the individual.

I hope that whatever she decides to do...that she will take the time to "Play". Even as a seasoned artist, we still need to take the pressure off ourselves to make a "masterpiece" piece of art, and just take the time to play around with our materials. As a beginner, play is an important part of learning. And's just plain FUN!

messy art desk playing with encaustics

After answering her email, I decided to take the rest of the day to play. I created "Boo Boo Bear" shown above. He's done entirely in Encaustic wax. He's quite simple, imperfect and yet, enchanting. He's a total detour from my normal work...but I had so much fun creating him! I would have never known...if I hadn't of taken the daily artistic pressures off myself....and just played.

Find some time for love and play this weekend too!


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