Friday, August 24, 2007
Committed to Creativity
Two day ago, I spent several hours working on a digital collage. It can be a very time-consuming, nit-picky process to take disparate elements and blend them together well and somehow tell a story as well. After approximately two hours of work, I got the message "Photoshop has experienced an error and must shut down. Any unsaved work may be lost."
Humph. It set me back a little bit, to say the least.
My artistic recovery was to spend time (maybe a lot of time? I'm not even sure) playing with my Peerless watercolors. I dribbled them onto photos, I dribbled them onto wet watercolor paper, I dribbled them onto paper towels--you name it, I dribbled on it.
So much fun! Now I'm not saying this is great art--I can't paint like Elizabeth or Jessie or Leah, and I haven't written a book like Olivia's doing--but oh, to just play with no expectation of anything other than fun! This is what children do, ALL THE TIME, and it always makes me so sad that we squeeze this right out of them in school.
Not only did Mrs. Bacon tell me not to waste Elmer's glue, but she also told me not to just dribble water colors on my notebook paper. I guess I was just wasteful in many ways... But Mrs. Bacon was a good teacher, one of my favorites, and I was a very good and dutiful student, so I quit playing with my art supplies. And now, I wonder, isn't that exactly what art supplies are for? WASTING your watercolors would be locking them up in a cupboard, saving them for a day when you could paint a great masterpiece. Ahem.
I think that the luckiest, happiest adults are the ones who retain this ability to play and be completely in the moment. I include myself as one of the lucky ones; I've consciously cultivated this ability (first with gardening and now with art) to be completely involved in what I'm doing. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely involved in all I do. Take cleaning my house, for example--if I were totally involved in THAT I'd be up there right now, scrubbing and vacuuming and dusting, all of which it surely needs. I'm only completely involved when I'm doing fun stuff. Like sitting out here in the studio drinking iced tea. But I digress.)
So I think that's what committing to creativity for a month is all about--promising yourself and the universe that you will practice having fun EVERY DAY. So, yes, I do count my yummy crabcakes as creative, just like I count sitting with Joel and Katie last night, coloring posters Katie had drawn to say 'vote for Katie for School Council Treasurer'. She drew them, she lettered them, and then the three of us sat and COLORED, together. Time joyfully spent. (Joel would snort if he heard that I said that, so shhh! promise you won't tell him!)
So here's some of my 'play'. And may you all spend time today, not making some THING, but MAKING something.