The importance of playing with your materials

This week I started playing with my watercolors after reviewing some of the videos for my online watercolor painting class, “In love with Frida: A Watercolor affair”.

It was one of these days when I did not feel particularly creative, but I felt the need to create something, and just staring at art books and my watercolor paintings (Something that always cheers me up!) was not enough.

So I took brushes, paper and paints and I just started with drops and swirls of color, mesmerized about how the paint dances and creates beautiful patterns on the paper.

I kept at it for some time, just playing with absolutely no purpose except watching the color swirl and mix on the paper.

Then, suddenly…

She happened.

And then her.

And her. And many more. Before I knew it, I had a collection of little portraits that I had absolutely no intention of making in the course of a week, but they happened. Just by playing with my materials, with no exact destination in mind I allowed my creativity to spark.

If you see the complete watercolor painting collection, you will notice that there is not a lot of consistency between them, because they were made on a whim, without judging and without any criticism from myself. I just let myself go and let art happen.

After a while I realized the power of playing just for the sake of playing, and how as adults we have lost the ability to lose ourselves into the world of our imagination and just get lost there.

Have you seen children play when you leave them with creative toys like dolls or blocks or boxes? How their play is pure imagination and nothing more, and how they get lost in their creations without judgement?

A cardboard box can be a fortress, then a spaceship and a minute later a giant dinosaur after them. They don’t care, they just use what they have and let their playful nature take command.

I encourage you to try it. Just get your favorite creative tool and let yourself go. Don’t worry about what you are using, or if it’s going to be wasted paper and paint. It will not be wasted.

By freeing your mind from restrictions and just play, you will change your mindset and you will explore your materials in a very different way than when you work. You will enjoy every little surprise, every little mistake will be joyful because you discovered something new.

You will have fun and will love both the process and the end result, and you will  be surprised when you realize what you are capable of after letting yourself go without inhibitions.

I know I was.

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