The Art of Play

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce

easels-372847_1920When I was a child I would sit down with a set of crayons and draw without much intention other than just being in the moment with my colors and paper.  Painting was even better.  There was nothing like afternoons in school where the math and reading were put aside for time standing at the easel with giant paper and pots of tempera paint.  I remember painting with big fat brushes with long handles pictures of skies, big suns, houses, horses- the usual subjects for a little girl.  The paintings I made were often brought home and gifted. There was not a lot of attachment to the pieces as there were always more paintings and drawings to come.

At some grade in school, the easels were put away and we were subtlety given the message that art was not important and academics were.  Art was play, nothing to be taken too seriously.  Good grades, college, and a career were.

What educators forget is that making art and being creative in any media is good for the soul.  Our culture is so stressed out being productive that we have forgotten how to play. We have forgotten that there is more in life than making and spending money.

I make art and realized this last year that anytime I have monetized my art making, it has gone flat.  Yes, I do sell my work but when I make money the priority– poof- there goes the joy in the process.  Since I have turned to making art with more intention of play, I find more joy. Since I have minimized my social media activity and turned deaf ears to the message of show, show, share my work I am so much happier.

Getting back to that child state takes intention. It takes years to undo the messages one receives growing up.  If there’s something creative you’ve been hankering to do just for fun, go for it.  Give yourself permission to do just for the joy of it, not worrying what the outcome will be.  Don’t feel you have to show anyone what you’re working on. Go back to kindergarten. You don’t have to be “good”. Take a risk.  Be open to learning. Be open to play.

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It’s not about the art

It’s about taking lines for a walk

Splashing in puddles of colors

And playing musical chairs with forms

 

While the muse sings her song

Add a pinch of mystery

A dose of alchemy

Stir the pot of imagination

And infuse your soul in the making

 

Therein lies the magic

 

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