We’re taught to seek constan improvement, to work on our weaknesses and out-do our previous performances, because better is better… right?
Except it’s not better when making art is involved. How you feel making during the process IS the point. The fun of making something out of nothing, the sensory experience of using your hands and switching off your mind for a few precious moments in your day is worth gold. To reconnect to the part of you that enjoys making something just for fun, with no a hint of it needing to be productive or valuable far outweighs any incremental progress you’ll achieve.
You don’t NEED to get any better in order to continue making art. You have everything right now to make something from nothing and it’s even better if the art is messy and flawed. Why focus on impossible task of making everything perfectly if it doesn’t feel fun?
“There’s nothing to be done,
No way you need to prove.
Your art is already enough.
There’s nothing to improve.”
The spirit in which art is made is more important than the art created. By focusing only on the ‘result’ of our actions, we can forget that the experience of making art – having fun and being playful – is what really matters. Children are masters at being playful and are encouraged to play on a daily basis, but as adults, we can loose the connection to our playful spirit.
Fred Rogers in The World According to Mister Rogers encourages “Play does seem to open up another part of the mind that is always there, but that, since childhood, may have become closed off and hard to reach. When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we we helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. We’re helping ourselves stay in touch with that spirit too. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.”
How can we connect back to our creative spirit? Make something today. Then make something tomorrow and rinse and repeat. Sometimes all it takes is getting out the colouring crayons and make a big juicy bad art mess. No rules or direction necessary. The only goal or focus is to have fun and feel playful.
“To tap into that natural creative spirit, recapture your childhood enthusiasm for everything around you. Work with the reckless delight of a child.” — Nita Leland
Regularly reviewing art we make helps hone our tastes and reflect on the art making process. Consider displaying a ‘successful’ piece of art in a prominent spot you spend time daily at like the bathroom mirror or kitchen. These regularly visited spaces prompt you more often to think about your art and reflect why you feel it’s successful.
Is there it one particular mark that seem full of confidence? A cluster of dots that intrigues you? A colour next to a line that you particularly like? Or it could just be a reminder of how it felt being creative. By noticing the small details, you may start to notice other ‘successful’ areas or marks in other art you initially thought wasn’t good.
Art doesn’t have to be a masterpiece to move us. It can be a fun and uplifting tool to help reflect on your creativity.