Sunday, January 4, 2009

Play-fulness In Art & Writing

I find myself having a hard time getting started back to writing or drawing in the new year. I had the habit of drawing/writing something every morning while I had my first cup of coffee. The holidays have thrown that off a bit it seems. I've gone from "couldn't wait to get started" to "finding it difficult or downright impossible to start."

This brings me to a question Leah asked in a post, and since I'm participating in her Creative Every Day Challenge this year I thought I'd share my answer here.

The question was, "How do you return to playfulness when your creations are getting stiff?"

Instead of having a chance for my work to get stiff, I tend to get blocked. Sometimes I get stuck before I even start and sometimes it's half way through the project.

I love to do stream of consciousness writing, and if I do it a couple of days in a row that usually unlocks my writing and gets me going again.

Tammy in the Mojoart group introduced me to touch drawing the winter my dad died, four years ago. She shared her story about a technique that she had learned in art therapy. I looked it up on the net and tried it. I was hooked. I made dozens of drawings over the next couple of years. It not only helped my art, it helped me survive those years when we were hit with one trauma after another.

Touch drawing only requires your fingers, ink, thin paper, and an inking board. It helps if you meditate and center yourself first. You spread a very thin layer of printers ink over your board with a brayer, lay your paper down gently over the ink, and tapping into your inner self, let your feelings come out through your fingers and hands onto the back of the paper. You can use both hands at once if you want.
It's amazing what images come out when you pull the paper up and turn it over. Each drawing tells a story, which you can write out if you want. You can also add color to them. Each drawing is numbered in the order you drew them during your session. I can line all of mine up in order from all of my sessions and see a progression from grief and anger to acceptance and healing.

I haven't done any for a while, but they sure did help my creativity and my sanity during a rough time. The Center for Touch Drawing has a website with a demo if you're interested.

Another thing I learned this past year was from Judi Russell's website. She shares her art journaling technique, where you center yourself, close your eyes, try not to think about what your pencil is doing, and let it glide lightly over the paper making different shapes, lines, circles, etc.

When you're done, you open your eyes and study the shapes until an image emerges that means something to you. When it does, you darken the lines of the image, add lines, words/phrases, faces, enhancements, etc. to bring it out as far as you want to. Go over the image lines with an ultra fine black sharpie. Then you can color it if you like. You can also journal about what the image means to you.

Judi does have a gallery of her art journal drawings and some of her paintings that derived from the drawings. I have a tutorial of sorts on my Moxie Blue website under the label "quirky art journal instructions." However, my images look nothing like hers. :)

I've been doing at least one of these a day since last April and I have over 325 now. I am constantly amazed at the images I pull out of a bunch of shapes and lines, but they have inspired dozens of ideas for paintings and stories for writing for me.

I tend to take everything waaaaaay too seriously and these techniques are a lot of fun to me because I don't worry about everything being perfect or good enough. I just relax and let things flow. I always come away from these "play" times feeling more relaxed and confident about my art and writing.

As a matter of fact, writing about play time with art/writing has put me in the mood to do some. See you later! Have a creative day!


Hootin' Anni said...

Oh yes, yes!!! Rod Stewart's concert was fantastic! Believe it or not, his show was nearly 3 hours long. And when he, at the end, came out in his tux and sang all the old heart melted!!! Whoa!!

Glad to hear that someone else likes him like I do!

Happy weekend to you, and thanks for visiting with me Sharon.

Betty said...

Hi Sharon,

I am having a really hard time, too, getting motivated to blogging again. I am very seldom bored, but I always feel that my writings will be boring to others. Therefore, I just don't do it.

Anyway, I appreciate you visiting me recently, and I hope you have a wonderful week.

Dianne Q Adams said...

The technique you mention sounds interesting. I'm going to have to check it out. BTW, where is Rabbit Hop:) I'm in Tennessee also.