Monday Motivator: Ideas Find You

“For me play equals experiment equals learning equals exploring equals surprise equals creativity equals fun. Play gives you the freedom to create.

“Play for me is serious and hard work. You don’t have ideas so much as ideas find you. Then you are caught by them and have to follow them, just as it was at seven years old, but with the help of the technical skills I have learned over the years.”

Lotte Glob, “Three Questions to Lotte Glob“, Kilmorack Gallery 22/3/23

For me, the key to successful playing when painting or drawing is to approach it with lightheartedness, or nonchalance, to not be focused on producing a result (nevermind a “good” result) but on seeing what happens and where things lead. It’s not being frivolous, it’s playing.

In my Higham Hall workshop last week, in the last half hour of the last session, one of the participants decided to use up the leftover paint on her palette on a “scrap” sheet of paper that had various marks and colours on it, rather than discard the paint. The various colours and brushmarks that emerged then suggested flowers to her, and she painted a vase with a few strokes in the centre bottom. That’s the point at which I wandered into that corner of the studio and was intrigued.

A short story even shorter: after asking permission, I followed my impulse to blend together the colours in the negative space using a wide brush, then added a couple of squiggly lines with a rigger brush to define some yellow flowers. Then Helen added more blue as she finished up her paint. The result is this expressive flower painting which makes my heart soar with delight in its playfulness and sense of suggestion.

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