Red Playground, Day 3

Play in the studio boosts creativity

I want to play in the studio the next twelve months to boost creativity. Because children seem to be the experts in play, I’ve taken notice of what they do.

What children, the experts, do

When youngsters play, everyone abides by rules agreed upon, thus maximising amusement for all. (That is unless an adult needs to step in to enforce their own set of strictures.)

Left to their own devices, the they toss out rules that hamper a splendid time. Sure enough, fights do erupt. But, isn’t that part of the fun?

Breaking the Rules

In studio, this means playing with the elements and  the principles, or, the rules of art.  I bend or break them to see where it leads me. Some rules I ruthlessly toss aside. 

The principles, including balance, contrast, movement, pattern, rhythm, unity, emphasis and proportion can be manipulated to see where the work ends up.

Playing with rules in my current work

For example, in my current work, working title, “Red Playground-Finish What You Started”, there is balance, contrast, movement, pattern and rhythm. My concern for my work, at this point, is that of unity. Too much unity can lead to boredom. Too much variety can be chaotic. I desire liveliness; not chaos.

I manipulated the paper, creating texture by soaking, wadding, and dying the support with red Inktense. Then, I layered colour, shapes, form and lines to the paper. Value, and space are the remaining basic elements of art I can employ to influence the work. I can hardly wait to see where this work ends up.

You can watch the third episode of the creating of “Red Playground-Finish What You Started” by clicking here.

Click here to get a really good overview of the principles and elements of art.  

I’ve also created lists down below.

Playing in the studio
Red Playground Finish What You Started, in progress

The biggest detractor of Play in the studio

I’ve found my inner critic to be the detractor I battle most in my pursuit of abstraction. 

How do I silence the critic?

It’s very simple but not easy. I allow mistakes. I don’t beat myself up over them. I embrace “failures” as part of the path to where I wish to go. Most importantly, I show up as planned in the studio to apply graphite, Inktense, and ink to paper; even when my inner critic hollers, “people will think this is really dumb”. And, I show up on YouTube.

avoiding insanity

Insanity is continuing to do the same thing (over and over) and expect different results. It’s attributed to Einstein, Ben Franklin and other influential historical persons. No one knows for sure. Nonetheless, I believe the idea to be relevant in my arts practice.

I’ve created many narrative realistic drawings and paintings I’m pleased with. I’ve exhibited them widely, and like the collections of work I’ve made. 

However, I no longer desire to make them. I’m not willing to invest the considerable thought and preparation to do them. Perhaps, in another season. 

I look forward to creating, relaxing, and enjoying the process for the next 12 months, not knowing not where it all will lead.  Perhaps, that’s the allure. My sole aim is enjoy the journey and give myself a break from high expectations.

Can anyone relate?

Creating art around life
Progress Rahab's Circle
One of the "failures" (in progress) that I'm okay with. I see it as part of the process.
Adding texture to the support
Adding texture and colour to the support.

Silencing the Inner Critic

Allow Mistakes

embrace failures

Show up

Principles of Art









These are terms often used to talk about artwork.

Elements of Art








These are considerations an artist manipulates to affect the principles of art in a particular manner. 

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