Art by Lynn Yokley, @sly_pics
I asked in a recent newsletter, Have you created lately just for fun?
This might be a strange question… but it came up for me because I’ve found myself needing to create stuff that isn’t for an upcoming class, isn’t for sale, etc. 😀
Here are some of the responses… thank you to everyone who took the time to write!
Hi Carla, I have been creating ATCs just for fun, inspired by the ATCs you have been making and the up coming Cori Dantini class you mentioned in the May newsletter.
What I really like about making these is because of their small size I do not feel so pressured or afraid to try different techniques and I can make them in a small amount of time which is so helpful to me when I am short on time.
(Lynn’s artwork above)
I loved this question! Here’s what I did just for fun. I had read that John Cage created watercolor paintings by using the I Ching to randomly choose colors, brushes, river
rocks and other items so I wanted to try it. Amazingly I found an article with photos of some of his paintings plus a video of his actually making some in 1988:
One of Cage’s last rock paintings is 28 feet long and 8 and a half feet
high! It was just recently found after being lost for almost 30 years and
is now on display at http://www.rauschenberggallery.com/
Watching the video and coming up with my own version was a big part of the fun and as Cage said there are no wrong answers. This is a brief outline of the first idea I tried which is of course just one of many possibilities. I used a small piece of watercolor paper about 5.5″x7.5″, randomly picked one rock at a time from six small rocks of different
sizes by tossing a die, and placed the rock on the paper at a random location on a grid. Then, like Cage, I painted a wonky circle shape around the rock with a brush and a color both chosen at random. I then repeated the process for a random number of shapes from 5 to 9. (Note that individual rocks, brushes, and colors might be picked more than once or not at all.)
I mostly create for myself. I think after 34 plus years working at a government job that I deserve to play and do what I want! I think its also why I don’t want to follow direction. LOL
I love taking classes and feel very motivated and produce a lot of art so I try and hold off judgement till something is done, no matter the direction it ends of going. I am very dedicated artist and usually work in my studio many hours each day and feel so blessed to be able to do so. I am so happy to do what I feel I should be doing. Art! And filling art journals is my favourite thing. I have about 300 journals of all sizes and types and its awesome because one journal can hold so much art, not like a canvas.
I love playing with my materials, but like you mentioned, too often there is pressure to deliver a particular thing inside a particular timeframe, and that can lead to less play. So, recently I found myself struggling with the expression of a particular idea (the non-literal merging of solid form with negative space), and decided to approach finding a solution from the perspective of play.
I asked myself what processes in the past were super fun (the play aspect!), and gave me an interesting series of marks and painting beginnings – and that answer was simple! Lynn Whipple’s spin drawing (from Big Bold Blooms), and your random collage beginnings (from Year of Collage). So that’s what I did – I grabbed some bits of interesting paper, glued them down (without overthinking), and then spin drew overtop. I mixed things up a bit – put an isolation layer of clear gesso overtop the collage so that the surface would uniformly accept new marks, and substituted water soluble graphite, crayons and pencils for (Lynn’s) pastels. Then I practiced intuitive response to what was there, pulling out bits that I liked, and altering those I didn’t (with more drawing, painting and collage).
The process taught me so much on all sorts of levels, and while I haven’t completely figured out my challenge of merging positive and negative space, I do feel as though I am getting all sorts of other gems to add to my toolbox. And I have accumulated a number of studies that will be fabulous beginnings for large scale paintings.
Art by Kimberly Santini.
I put a lot of pressure on myself/my art too sometimes. I’m doing my first ever 100 day project. That may sound like pressure but actually, choosing a to do a tiny piece with limitations on my media and the form (circles) allows me the relief of not having to ‘choose’ what to paint every day. This allows me to play within my constraints. My 6 year old has also joined me in the studio which is fun and inspiring to me.
As someone who sells her paintings – my “just for fun” stuff is usually something un-salable – like painting with water, collaging with magazines, and stringing beads are my favorites. : D
I’ve found that my creative pattern tends to be to paint flowers and plants in the spring, marine subjects in the summer when we’re spending a lot of time on our sailboat, landscapes with all the glorious color in the trees in the fall, and experimenting in the winter. Interesting that your time to create just for you is the season directly opposite mine!
I also find the change of seasons, and changes in venues a great excuse to explore new ways of seeing and truly looking at things—to me all art is the act of seeing, the visuals we create are more the result. I’ve been traveling a lot recently with an art residency in California piggy backed onto 2 weeks in Japan to work on a commission. Somewhere in there I learned some rather challenging family news. As a result I needed to find positive, faith filled, hopeful energies in the world around me. I’d been working on climate change issues in California, and then sought refuge in the gardens of Japan. The result is an exploration of growth, colour and hope through the wondrous flowers that seem to be lovingly tended and appreciated everywhere, no matter what continent I’m on, nor what the challenges of the day might be…
Art by Lisa Cirenza
You are so very right about trying get free of the “why” and just play to have fun. After 30 years as a production potter it has taken me a couple of years (!) to allow myself to just explore and enjoy. One thing that really helped was classes such as yours offered online. I can watch how someone else thinks about their work, see new processes and new materials. We have such a wealth of talented artists who have classes which I can watch in my bathrobe or in the middle of the night ! One of your classes was the first one I took. Anita’s Landscapes class which I have been revisiting since it first came out. The class really helps me get out of the trap of the familiar. It can be so easy to feel constrained by work an artist has done repeatedly and/or for a long period of time.
Glad you are doing a blog about this. Certainly there are new comers to discovering their creative talent but I would guess many people are trying to free themselves from a production mindset. I had a wonderful art teacher in college who said “always ask yourself, ‘what would happen if I…….’ “. (That is some weird punctuation)
Thanks again for offering these classes. I don’t have to enroll in a school, travel, park, lug art stuff. Oh, one last thing that it helpful for “playing” is to have my supplies ready to hand. Shelves, a table, light, supplies. Need not be huge but it is so freeing just to sit down and peruse the toys. Treating myself to a new color of paint, new tool or substrate can be play-inducing as well.
“Joy on a Frontier Direct (a Few Friends)” by Carol Armour
Painting for the fun of painting…..versus for the customer. A great huge difference!!! I have learned that my creativity abounds now that I have stopped doing shows, and being more concerned with what will sell. I am just painting and creating for the joy of the process, the experimentation, the pleasure, the learning experience. LOVE IT!!!
All of my creating is just for fun! I have a demanding technical career, and creating art (painting, drawing, jewelry making, art journaling) allows me to decompress and give the right side of my brain some exercise and some expression.
I take a watercolor class, I did Sketchbook Revival (watched all of the lessons, did as many as I had time to/felt called to), I’ve done other online drawing/painting/gel print classes, I do beadwork, I recently filled an entire art journal (50 pages, something on both sides of every page). I post on a few closed groups just because it’s fun.
Call it “art therapy” if you will. 🙂
I took a course with Ingrid Dijkers called the Chimera Codex. I have been having a blast playing with all of her collage sheets and creating a book. I have no agenda for it. It’s just fun!