Having fun with art is not just for children!
Fun with art – my three favourite words! As adults, we are easily capable of getting a huge amount of fun out of art and craft – if we allow ourselves. Somehow, somewhere along the road of growing up, we stop ‘doing art’ because we can’t do it ‘properly’. As children, until we reach a certain age, we do not care whether we are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at art. If you watch children at play, having fun with art comes naturally. It was through my creative work with children that I began to think about art and craft in a different way. Children simply create and often forget about their ‘art’ once the crayons and paints are put away; their joy is in the doing.
When children have had fun with art, their pictures may get displayed on the fridge door but, for a child, that is secondary to the pleasure they get from creative expression.
When five year old Alex drew the pictures above, he was totally immersed in the moment for the sake of the enjoyment he got out of it. Once they were finished, he was done with them. They hardly mattered because he was on to the next wonderful moment. I am sure if I showed the pictures to him now, he would have little or no emotional attachment to them.
The children above are totally lost in the moment while having fun with art and will probably forget about their pictures when they move on to something else.
So how can we recapture that ability to get lost in the process and not care what the outcome looks like? How can we not care what anyone else thinks about what we have done?
The answer is to simply just do it and not worry about the outcome. I have had hours of meditational fun slopping paint around and then junking the sorry mess I made. Then one day, I produced an image I really loved. I scanned it into my computer and had it printed onto stretched canvas. It now hangs on my bathroom wall. It has drawn many flattering comments from visitors which is ok, but the point is I liked it and gradually I did more and more paintings that I kept.
Having fun with art is massively therapeutic to adults and should never be seen as something you ‘can’t do’.
If you approach painting with the same joyous abandon that children do, it is possible to get lost in it the way a five year old does. Anyone can get a canvas and squirt paint on it. Anyone can trail a paintbrush through the squirts to see what will happen to the colours. It really is that easy. And from there, ideas happen. It has been a long time since I wailed, ‘I can’t draw!’ Yes I can draw. Perhaps I don’t do it as well as members of the Royal Academy, or even as well as some six year olds but the point is, you do not have to be good at drawing to ‘do’ art. My paintings will never resemble anything recognisable but it really doesn’t matter. You’d be amazed at what people ‘see’ in my abstract paintings.
Having fun with art is something you need to consciously make yourself do – especially if you want to paint, colour, sculpt, take pictures etc but are put off because you are ‘no good’.
Are you ever likely to be any good if you avoid getting immersed in it? And do you have to be any good to enjoy the feel of paint or clay? Can you not just enjoy an hour of colouring and then walk away as a child does without a backward glance?
If having fun with art is something you would like to explore. Stick with me and learn a very simple way that you can put colour down onto paper and then make some beautiful, durable beads from your artwork. Once you realise that your scratchy scribblings can become something awesome, you will want to do more – I promise! For more on my approach to having fun with art click here to read about how I plan to launch a secret exhibition at the Royal Academy next summer – well, I can dream.