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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Importance of Play in Painting

'Spring Play'               8x10               pastel             ©Karen Margulis

 I didn't want to go out today. I was behind in several projects. I just wanted to stay home and work. But I had put off errands long enough. It was a beautiful spring day but I quickly went about my errands and headed back work.

As I drove home I passed a playground full of children. Surrounded by the beautiful blooming trees of spring these children played without a care in the world.  I had a deep thought. Children play. It is their work. The learn and grow through play. We give them toys. We encourage them to play. When does it stop? When do we become too old to have toys and play?  I felt sad that adults don't get to play as much as children.

Then it hit me....We can play as much as we want if we make it a part of our lives. I am lucky to be an artist. I get to play every day. I have a lot of toys too (pastels, boxes and all kinds of art stuff) But too often we make art seem like work. We try too hard. We put pressure on ourselves to succeed. Sometimes it stops being fun.

'A Breath of Fresh Air'         5x7    plein air pastel        $45

I decided that I would take time today to play. The projects could wait for a few hours. I took out a plein air study of a dogwood tree that I had painted last spring. I used it as a reference and painted it larger. I used a homemade support that I had toned teal blue.

I had fun just playing with the colors and textures in the painting. It was fun to be a kid again and just play. Play leads to growth. It sure is more fun than work!

My toned surface with the plein air study on the easel
 Have you just painted for the pure joy of it lately?  What are some of the fun discoveries you made?


tim moore said...

i like to play with full strength watercolors..dabbing without water, sometimes just a hint..but makes wonderful underpaintings,texture..

robertsloan2art said...

I love today's painting and essay. That tree shimmers with life - your studio painting is as fresh and lively as the plein air.

I do my best paintings sometimes if I decide I'm just going to goof around and try something. Play with it and magic happens!

Lori Twiggs said...

I recently discovered that I do not paint well under pressure and I put pressure on myself when I'm working on a piece for the gallery. Everything tightens up. So I now paint only for myself and sometimes for a specific wall in my house. This frees me up to get back to why I paint in the first place! For fun! :) Ironically, those are the pieces the gallery loves and has sold for me... go figure..