Tuesday, September 01, 2015

My Orange Phase

To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play...
                                                                                                            ~ Albert Einstein
Bonus quote today!
I don't grow up. In me is the small child of my early days.
                                                                                                                ~ M.C. Escher

Conch shell in orange - 6" x 6" oil on canvas

I am now on Day 12 of incorporating creative play into my daily life. A few days ago I realized my definition of creative play was much too narrow. I was still trying to keep it "practical", and in doing so I was putting myself on the path of early burn-out. My creative play doesn't always have to be in a 2 dimensional form and doesn't always have to be limited to visual art-related projects. Ideally it should engage more of my senses than just seeing, and get me into a child-like state of fun and non-judgement (Fingerpainting with chocolate pudding, anyone?) It's amazing -and kind of sad- that we have to re-learn how to play.

One day after this realization, I made sculptures out of the geometric-shaped cardboard pieces packed in an Ikea furniture box. Today I sorted through stacks of my reference photos and gathered together a bunch of images of orange things, including the painting above that I recently did, and the items below:

(Can you tell I was that kid who had all the crayons organized by color?)

Speaking of being a kid, I'm finding that one integral part of my creative play is thinking about what I loved to do as a child. Tapping into my memories has not only reminded me of some really fun things to do, but has also helped me to overcome my adult tendency to dismiss the importance of play to my art practice. When my adult mind is grumbling that my time would be better spent taking care of the dishes that need to be washed, I just pull up the memory of spending hours happily building little houses for the chipmunks and toads in my backyard, complete with acorn-cap plates and twig fences. My resolve to be "practical" dissolves pretty fast after that.

What did you do as a child that brought you hours of fun? As an adult, what do you do to get back to that state of creative joy?

If you want to see an artist really playing with a painting, check out this video of Duane Keiser painting an ice cream cone. What delicious fun!


Elva Paulson said...

As an artist I think it is really important to play with our paint sometimes. Just push it around and explore its characteristics. I spent way too much time as an artist being careful and staying in the safe zone. Now I'm getting a much better feeling for what paint / ink / pencil.... papers can do.

Gabrielle said...

I completely agree, Elva! Glad we've both ventured outside the safe zone. Better late than never!