I firmly believe in acknowledging your own successes and in accepting all positive acknowledgements others give you. I don’t see how an artist can thrive creatively without this kind of nourishment. Maybe a driven “certifiable” creative genius could, but not a more ordinary mortal like me.
I’ll let you know what kind of inspiration arises out of this little boost for my artist’s ego. 🙂
To me, playfulness is one of the hallmarks of creativity. That’s a pretty serious way of saying something I don’t want to be serious about at all.
Don’t get me wrong. Creating art is — on some level — hard work. AND if we don’t play at our work, it loses the vibrancy and energy of authentic self-expression. When does creative work become play?
Play is FREE. It’s uninhibited by rules, expectations (our own and others’) and the desire to live up to someone else’s dreams, desires and standards. We may take those factors into account, but we don’t allow them to limit our self-expression.
Play is FRIVOLOUS. It doesn’t mean anything. I may be creating the most “important” work of my career, but I try to remember that 500 years from now, this canvas will, in all likelihood, be consigned to a dusty attic, if not to a reclaimed landfill.
Play is FUN. At least for a moment, it takes you back to some childhood moment of giggling, giddy delight.
Play with your art. Those moments of free, frivolous fun are what creating is all about. And play with me on this blog. Your (playful – or serious, if you must!) comments are welcome.
Today’s post was triggered by a comment on an earlier post made by “surrealsol”:
“Early this year I got back into art after not being very engaged in it for many years… I had to get rid of all the preconceived ideas I had learned in my youth… I learned to focus on feelings… There were no expectations or mandatory rules to think about. This focus on feelings allowed me to have a freedom in art I had never experienced. It keeps everything fresh and experimental… Now I feel certain that art will always be a part of my life.” — surrealsol
The teachings, expectations, rules and preconceived ideas from the “gurus” of our youth are a powerful foundation for who we are as artists. Most of us wouldn’t be artists without the discipline of our art education. But that education can also become the concrete overshoes that sink us before we learn how to swim on our own.
Give yourself permission to transform those rigid rules into flexible guidelines, to experiment boldly with your art until you discover for yourself what works and what doesn’t work in your own creative self-expression. Do this, and you’ll unleash, as “surrealsol” did, a new freshness and freedom in your work, and perhaps a new commitment to your art career.
I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend — filled with the 4Fs of any holiday — family, friends, food and FUN. If you’re feeling reluctant to get back to the studio on Monday — welcome to the club! Me, too.
One suggestion to ease the transition from Holiday Play to High-powered Performance: Stop for a moment and remember all you had (and have) to be grateful for in your creative life. Not just the routine things you might have thought of or even shared around the Thanksgiving table, but the special things that make YOU the Creative Genius you are! Your unique sense of color, proportion and style. The feeling of your favorite brush in your hand. The lovely texture of that canvas or paper you’ll soon be christening with paint. The amazing painting or sculpture you just finished, started or dreamed up in your sleep last night.
Be grateful for every drop of creativity you posess, and every aspect of your life that supports you in manifesting and sharing that creativity.
Several years ago, after I’d been away from my artwork for a few months — due to a broken ankle and a very involving personal growth project — I got back on track by following an active online artists group and reading a popular creativity book. At the time, I wrote in my old blog: “Now I’m feeling like an artist again (or even moreso) and ready to keep creating. I love the way I can get caught up in drawing and lose track of the time and effort involved — there is no effort when I’m really into it….I’ve got a whole new appreciation for seeing what I’m trying to draw and for composing the drawing.”
At the time, I felt like my creative juices were in full flood and unstoppable. In reality, of course, I know they can be stopped by a wide variety of distractions — personal problems, work-related overload, getting busy with other projects, the holidays, etc., etc. The bottom line is PRIORITIES — setting them and keeping them set. Being willing to put my creative time first on my lengthy to-do list.
I’m still mastering the fine art of prioitizing my life around my art career, as opposed to shoehorning my art career into my life. I love it when I feel like an artist and get so caught up in a project that I lose track of time. It just doesn’t happen often enough.
What I want to know is this: How do YOU manage to keep yourself on track for creativity, despite the distractions, interruptions and other temptations that can send priorities flying out the studio window? Please share.
We’re up and running! “Creativity Rocks Our World!” is the place to share your artwork and your thoughts on creativity and its importance in our world. Notice, that’s OUR world. I’m a firm believer that EVERYONE is creative in their own way. Whether you’re a teacher, engineer, full-time parent, massage therapist, insurance agent, doctor, truck driver or cook, you have a spark of creativity you can bring to your work, your home, your family or your hobbies. I hope the artwork and the insights of our contributing artists will inspire you to explore your own creativity and share it with the world. Happy creating — Linda