More Thoughts on Play

As I relaxed on the beach, listening to waves lapping, I mused further on the benefits and need for “play” in our lives.  Just as we need to play with our art materials, we need to have time to play in our work-a-day worlds.  Even if we enjoy our “work”, we can become hunkered down trying to make it through the week if we don’t find ways to play a bit, let go of agendas and the incessant striving to “get better”.

Over the last 12 or so years of “being an artist”, I’ve seen how something that begins so playful and full of life, can lose its lustre when it becomes one’s job, a money-maker, a grasping for being professional…whatever that means!  There is a delightfulness in being a newbie to something.  I re-realized this as I plunked haltingly on my new ukelele.  There’s something intrinsically wonderful to being a beginner, to being on the first steps of a new journey of discovery, to doing whatever-it-is poorly…but doing it with fervor and passion!  It infects the rest of your life.  The wonder of discovering chords and chord progressions, the delight in realizing that the complexities of music are sometimes quite simple, figuring out how to finger-pick a little…gives you a renewed zest for doing the dishes for 15 people after a lasagna meal, and for getting all sandy and gritty with your 8 year old to make, yet another, sand castle.

So for all of you newbies out there, whether you’re a newbie to drawing and painting, or photography, or quilting, knitting, crocheting, or a musical instrument, here’s my thought for you:

Enjoy being a newbie!  Celebrate being a beginner! Rejoice at all the wonky drawings, splotched paintings, halting plunks on your uke, buzzing strings, lost stitches in your knitting, ripped out rows…they are all part of the play!  Play on!

0 thoughts on “More Thoughts on Play

  1. Krista Meister says:

    Nice post! We could all benefit from having a kindergarten mindset and enjoy playtime at its most basic level. As for taking the joy out of something, I recently stopped taking commissions because I just want to do only what I want to do – no pressure, no restrictions. Create for the pure joy of it instead of under someone else’s restrictions. Have fun playing!

  2. Mary says:

    You’re so right. I’ve only begun to get back to drawing over the last couple of weeks, and because it’s something new (sort-of) I’m enjoying it so much that I’m already resenting the other demands on my time that keep me away from my pens and pencils. We should all play more!

  3. Janene says:

    Thank you for your thoughts–I agree completely. I think taking oneself and one’s work too seriously steals away the joy of creativity. That reminds me–I need to play more!

  4. Johanna says:

    This is such a great post! I love it, and I couldn’t agree more! I think part of the joys of being a newbe is also the speed at which you progress, you learn so much in the beginning, in such a short time, and it is so much fun to realize that you get better all the time. And then, you hit plateau, and it is sometimes really hard to push through to the next level. At least that’s how it is for me, and a lot of the time I give up instead, when I hit that plateau. Maybe then, as well, you should remember the joy of playing. I definitely need to play more!

  5. Timaree (freebird) says:

    I love your playful drawing! If I saw this in my kid’s notebook it’d be out of there and on the fridge! So if you are really into playing, stick it on the fridge and enjoy it there.

    I’m taking a class in technicolor portraits. I probably should have learned how to draw people first but since I’ve been playing (working really hard at my playing) with art for the last two years I decided to just dive in. I hope it works but at least I will learn something about color and can come back later when I am really ready. Thet’s the other thing about playing I like. I don’t have to have what others consider success, just fun and feel like I am learning something.

    It sounds like you had a good time except for doing those dishes! That’s good and you can play with your ukelele more at home now.

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