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Being Playful In Art

I love playing, how about you?! I’m a very playful person. I love humour, laughing with people, being funny (I hope other people think I am… lol), playing games, joking around with my kids.

But how often do we truly get the opportunity to play as adults?

Our lives don’t seem particularly set up or conducive for play and playfulness. We are often serious and responsible people in the world and sometimes play doesn’t seem compatible with this. Or it feels like work and play are two very separate things. There is a time for the one and a time for the other, but not necessarily for both at the same time.

Playing, fun and laughter are so healthy and beautiful, but I think we don’t play enough.

I think it’s important to incorporate play into art. Sometimes it’s hard to translate playfulness into art. We bring the seriousness of other parts of our lives into our art and then it’s difficult to switch from ‘adult responsible mode’ into a playful mode

I sometimes forget to play when I’m at my art desk. I get so wrapped up in the serious art practice or what I’m doing, that I forget to play.

So I need to remind myself to play. Personally I’m not a person for whom it works to say ‘just play’. That doesn’t enable me, rather it feels so intimidating that I start overthinking playing and get completely paralysed! Instead, I like a bit of structure; some boundaries and guidelines. I need to create an arty sandbox for myself within which to play safely as it were.

How can you play with your art supplies?

  1. Grab two drawing implements (pen, pencil, charcoal, crayon) and make symmetrical movements on paper.
  2. Make marks with interesting tools (twigs, leaves, vegetables, toy cars, wrapping materials)
  3. Do a ‘test page’ of all your red pencils, paints, crayons and pens
  4. Finger paint! (use disposable gloves if you use toxic paints)

Whenever you do art try to follow a feeling of playfulness. Cultivate a sense of openness, curiosity and wonder. If we can remember to do this I think we can be freer and really nurture this part of ourselves that can often be forgotten in our daily life.

So tell me, how do you play? How do you bridge the gap between seriousness and playfulness in your daily life and art practice?

If you’d like to join me and create playful and expressive art like the pictures in this post, you might like the Life Book Creativity & Wellbeing Summit. It’s FREE to join and starts on 1 October. Every day for 2 weeks you will receive inspirational art exercises and video interviews with working artists direct to your inbox. Go here to sign up.

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