Art Alchemy Studio

Mixed Media Art by Chaska Peacock

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Importance of Play

I was utterly delighted when I read the following in Robert Genn's newsletter:

"There was no use in arguing with the woman. She had asked me what I thought she should do next and now she was against my suggestion. It was she who had complained her work was dull." Your work will continue to be dull," I said, "until you learn to play."

This was no ordinary girl--well read, smart in every way, and very, very neat. She had read all the books. "Work is play," she said. "Play frees up the inner child, empowers confidence and invites creative elan. Play is a creative need." She knew her Carl Jung.I told her that my dad used to say, "If you can dream it, you can do it." This advice was given in my early teens, and it sent me off into some extreme fantasies. Like painting a mural on the Grand Canyon. I recruited helpers, but it was the park rangers who were unable to see my vision. "But you at least had the dream," she said. " Some people never have them."

Talking some more about play, I suggested there were two more things she needed besides a dream--a new way, and a new toy. I demonstrated by laying in a painting with one of those small rollers that house painters use for going around the edge of door frames. The pay-load lasts forever. Colours dabbed and mixed around the roller provide never ending blends. She gave it a try. After a while I pointed to a virgin tube in her paintbox. "It's Aureolin hue--yellowish, I never use it," she said. I showed her mine.

"For the last week I've been mixing it with everything except Mai Tais," I said. "Here in Hawaii it's useful. Makes things glow. You can substitute it for white. It's great for glazing too. New tones with every mix. Ya gotta love it." She squeezed some out.Artists are not always prepared to take advice from other artists, but this one was beginning to see the light. "So, in order to play properly you need three main things--a new dream, a new way, and a new toy," she said. "I think so," I said. "Maybe you just need a new toy, because then you might just pick up the new way and the new dream." A peculiar creative silence overtook us. A big wave could have taken us out. Later, I noticed her wading into the surf. She was glowing. I squeezed out more Aureolin hue.

You got to love it. Dull person, dull art. I do know that my art is better when I approach it with a light and playful spirit. Besides, I rather enjoy the whacky part of me!


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