Creatives get blocked.
Creatives need play time!
It has been a long time since I’ve been involved in a project —
I’m not talking about recipes or art challenges but real projects —
a couple of years of learning watercolors, and before that, a few years of hard work during this recession making sure our business stayed on track.
(I am a finish conservator in our business, working (mostly) on furniture.)
Being driven toward making dollars is a very different mental state
than simply creating, and then selling what you created in that state.
Ask any artist commissioned to paint how different the two processes are:
In one, you have tight parameters within which you are creating, and in the other,
it does feel a bit more (at least to me) like pure play,
though you might have the parameters of materials, size, etc.
I’ve been struggling to get my project mojo back, and forgot that this, too, involves play. For example, I’ve painted a couple of silly journal entries, memories for Mitchell and I, and in the process, inducted my playful side. This playful side is necessary for one of the two projects I am moving forward, and always gives me more time in watercolors
(which is still necessary for me) and so, playing with Bunnies and Cake (below)
helps me in the bigger theme of telling the story I must tell!
There is a larger type of play creatives need to do,
He screws around with keys or chords or whatever he calls it, and I can tell when he is doing that versus playing a song. We’ve talked about him noodling around on the guitar, and how it builds confidence, makes him at ease with the instrument, etc.
As an architect, besides sketching buildings during lectures and so forth,
I always started a project with the plot of land or skin of the building (if I was creating an interior layout) by playing in it — drawing walkways, entries, trees, structural layouts, windows, views, line-work, lot of line-work, and that aimless noodling was a kind of physical thinking that led, eventually, to an idea. If I was truly blocked, however,
I went for a walk on Venice Beach or the boardwalk, read a short story of
Sherlock Holmes, or played with the cats, vegging out. Especially if I was familiar with the project on the boards, this vegging out time was time when somewhere, the project was generating ideas because my Muse was working behind the scenes.
In the same way, drawing or falling in love with a pigment and
playing with color or making marks going nowhere-in-particular lead to making me a better creative when I finally do get down to the business of a project.
(Lately it has been every shade of orange and coral…. and blue.)
I don’t think most businesses understand that play time that leads to good ideas and brilliant layouts. They push for billable time. I’ve been my own taskmaster, feeling the pinch of time, the billable hours of my own mind imprisoning me.
Mitchell and I talked about it this morning and it all became clear to me, again.
And then there was cake…
Aquabee Super Deluxe Journal, Caran D’ache watercolor pencil, Platinum Carbon pen,
and Daniel Smith, Holbein, and QoR watercolors.
©D. Katie Powell.
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