What is art but an expression of self? Technique can be a part of art but does not have to be. Ask any child. Young children will create without worrying how it is going to turn out. They are process oriented, scribbling because it feels good. They will paint something one minute, then paint over it the next. They are here and now. Present. Pleasure in the process. They know how to connect to their happiness.
What is it that happens to us as we become adults? We impose purpose on our actions. Everything has to have some sort of intention, or goal, explanation. We explain things to death. We explain away our fun. We even go to the point of feeling the need to justify our fun by explaining its health benefits. While the benefits may be true, they are used as an excuse to do art, as if we need one. That’s what happens to us as adults. We slowly loose touch with that child side of ourselves in order to grow into responsible adults who are contributing to society. But we forget that our art plays a significant role in enhancing the quality of our lives.
This is why we do art. This is why we get stuck. This is why we feel the turmoil of wanting to create while feeling pulled toward our “responsibilities”. What if art was more valued? What if art was not seen as a separate entity from the rudimentary aspects of life?
When I am working as an Art Therapist with children, I count myself as truly blessed to witness their raw expression. Their pure joy and engagement with life as expressed through art: in play, painting, storytelling, singing. I work with a five-year-old who turns most of her commentary into songs as she plays. So joyful, natural, and uncontrived.
Another child pieces together a worry doll, independently adding a face with beads in her own unique and beautiful way, unconcerned about it looking like how it is “suppose to look”. Other children dance about (in fact I remember doing this as a child myself) without a care, off or on rhythm, following their own internal flow and rhythm, not one imposed from the outside. This is art. These are my teachers.
I might even say they are brave, but they are not. These children are simply connected to their inner artist. In contrast, many adults have become conditioned to disconnect from their inner artist. I might say these children don’t know any better. But I would be wrong. They know better because they don’t’ “know” otherwise. They have not given up that part of themselves that allows their creativity to flow freely.
All is not lost. Inside each and every one of us there is an inner artist waiting for permission to come out. You are the only one who can give that permission. The choice is yours. Never forget that.
Hey Torontonians! There are still a few spots left in the 1 day Intuitive Painting Workshop this Saturday February 23rd. Join us if you can! Your inner artist will thank you!