I could hike Circle Bluff again.
Or I could swim in Blue Hole.
Or I could lay claim to a hammock.
But I want to do art, I say.
I used to do art.
Crocheting, cross-stitching, soapmaking, scrapbooking, stamping, quilting.
Painting–not so much.
But doing art takes money.
And there’s the clutter factor.
Fabric bolts and scraps and papers of all patterns and designs and glues and threads and scissors and yarns and raffia and oils and stamps and inks and rulers and cutting boards.
And these days, I don’t have time to do that kind of art.
So now I pretty much stick to making word art–sewing scraps into sentences.
But today I want to do art.
I can swim later–if I’m brave enough to don my suit.
Freud recognized the importance of creation and mastery in childhood:
Should we not look for the first traces of imaginative activity as early as in childhood? The child’s best-loved and most intense occupation is with his play or games. Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or rather rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?
The child’s serious re-creation can become the adult’s playful recreation. ~ Ellen Langer in Mindfulness, pp. 63-64
I’m not a big fan of Freud, but he might be on to something here.
Anyway, I don’t know what to expect.
Soft strains from the Frio Suite calm the stimulating array of colors and organized clutter in the studio .
My eyes land on the sign.
“Look around,” Kathy, our instructor, says.
So I look around and wonder if I still have time to catch the hikers, but I take a seat on a stool.
Kathy hands me a tiny square of copper. I stare at it, unsure of what kind of design to press into it. Finally I make some squiggly lines that are supposed to look like a river.
Kathy shows us various watercolor techniques, and I get lost. When and what do with the salt? Am I squeezing too much water out of the Niji brush? Not enough? Dabbing too much color? Is this supposed to be wet on wet or wet on dry? Do I circle these words for my black-out poetry with pencil or pen? What? I’m not supposed to use the marker? I need to use acrylic paint? Okay, I’ll use brown. But the black marker will peek through. What glue am I supposed to use? Did I do this right?
I’m a little tense.
But I start to relax and realize time is whooshing, and I probably won’t have time to swim.
I’m not as focused on the product as I am on the journey.
. . . our outcome orientation tends to deaden a playful approach. ~Ellen Langer in Mindfulness, p. 64
I choose mats and paper scraps, arrange and glue.
I toss several pieces of ragged-edged paper as I try to write “see deep” with a stick dipped in ink. I’m a bit frustrated because it won’t come out just right.
“You can’t do it wrong,” says Kathy.
Finally, I’ve made a piece of “art,” flawed.
I’ve heard that Amish women purposely weave a “mistake” into their quilts, because only God is perfect. I don’t know if that is true.
Before I go, I collect some scraps and “create” a gift for Grace.
Others do this, too. Salvage scraps and throwaways and rearrange, create gifts for others.
In the end, I realize I’ve played.
And I’ve had fun.
Hanging out with folks from The High Calling today as they discuss the book, Mindfulness, by Ellen Langer.
Check it out.
LOVE this, Sandi. You got so many great shots – I hung my camera up after those first two – felt like it was in the way, that it wasn’t supposed to be there… Isn’t it interesting how we can so quickly feel like we’re not doing it ‘right?’ (whatever the heck right is!). So glad you persevered and even got something going for Grace! I posted a bunch of pictures tonight as I finished my 2-part attempt at a 2nd person POV. See, I was listening to something this weekend. :>) (Not sure I’ll do that again anytime soon – it feels a little bit removed…)
Kathy Robbins says
Cool! I like the way you wrote about being concerned that if you did are, you might not get to hike or swim. I like the way you commented about your doubts all the way through. Great post!
I like the way you commented about your doubts all the way through. Great post! Isn’t it interesting how we can so quickly feel like we’re not doing it ‘right?’
Elizabeth Young says
This looks like a wonderful room Sandra, and so much to work with! I love, love, love creating creating cards and crafting, it releases our unique creativity and blesses our soul in the process. Awesome!
Cecilia Marie Pulliam says
Your words echoed in my heart. I’ve not picked up a paint brush for several years although art has been a passion of mine since I was twelve. Thank you for reminding me to give myself permission to set aside the Should Do’s once in a while for the I Want To’s.
And you are right also about art taking up space as well as time, and if you do not have a specific area designated to your art, you also must factor in the set up, the time to create, and then clean up as well. Sometimes time constraints make it difficult, but I now realize it is worth the effort to do something you love so passionately.
I am happy (and encouraged) you gave into your passion without regrets in regard for other activities. They always seem to be there.
I must be Amish. 😉 But I leave way more than one mistake in my work (writing and otherwise). 😀
Permission to play. I love that I think our God is playful.
This is so wonderful. I love that you connected it with mindfulness, Sandy. That’s what it’s all about, right? Beautiful.
L.L. Barkat says
“So I look around and wonder if I still have time to catch the hikers, but I take a seat on a stool.”
This made me laugh!
I’m glad you sat on the stool and let yourself color-play 🙂
Nikole Hahn says
Short term art projects I can handle, but my time doesn’t allow for long-term. Plus, I have low patience. LOL. They look nice though.
The honesty shines through this, Sandy. Thank you. I’ve never been one to wield a paintbrush. Charcoals, a bit, when I was a girl….later lots of sewing. Now I work with beads. I’m a bead beginner.
I admire you for working through your doubts, and sharing them with us. Your art looks beautiful to me.
S. Etole says
How fun it would be if we didn’t worry so about the results. Especially for those of us not artistically inclined.
Bradley J. Moore says
Awesome! Great photos. I loved this: “Focused not so much on the product as the journey…” If only we could incorporate that into our lives overall. 🙂
BTW, I also looked back on this experience as one of giving “permission”. Why is that so hard for us?
It was great meeting you there.
Wasn’t the art studio so much fun? Kathy made it so easy to create. I would have loved a few more days with her. I’m glad you took all of those photos. Brings it all back so vividly.