I’ve been thinking about the importance of play in art.
I feel pulled in many different ways on a daily basis. There’s so much to get done – writing and organizing social media posts, updating my websites, applying for exhibitions and grants, nevermind painting. And what about family, bills, exercise, and a balanced life?
I noticed one of the first things to go in my art practice was the action of play, as in anything I do simply for the joy of doing rather than a means to an end. It rarely feels like ‘play’ when I’m trying to create a successful piece. I worry about messing up when time is so valuable, and I want the final product to be great. Yet I know that failure is a good thing. Some of my best works have come from creating something new when things didn’t work out.
I needed to get out of my studio and away from distractions to truly immerse myself in ‘playtime”. So last week I took a collage and paper-making class with Suzanne Siegel and Jane Davies. I set a goal NOT make a finished piece of art. The idea was to try as many new techniques as possible and to start a lot of work without trying to complete any of them. It was a success, and I’ve come home with piles of messy, weird, and uniquely printed papers and painting starts. Will I continue working on them? Perhaps a few, but mainly the purpose was to explore and have fun. Now I just have to bring that into my daily art practice.
What have you done recently for yourself that qualifies as ‘playtime’?