Module 12 — Deep Play

Some of us have a hard time allowing ourselves to just mess around with our art materials because we feel like play is frivolous or wasteful. But messing around with the materials is often where we discover new ways of working, or how we really feel about a particular technique. Deep or creative play is open-ended, curious and nonjudgmental, but it doesn’t have to be silly and frivolous (unless that’s what you want it to be).

Module 12 Thinking Prompt—All Work and No Play?

What is the role of play in your studio practice? Do you allow yourself to play (experiment, mess around) with your materials? Or do you feel constrained by concerns about cost or waste? 

Or are there times when you find yourself engaging in play instead of working on a painting you intended to work on? Is that okay? Or do you use it to avoid or procrastinate on a challenging step?

What do you feel is the right amount and type of play in your art practice? 

Module 12 Activity Prompt—Play Date

Take some time today to engage in deep play.

Some possibilities:

  • Explore and catalog different ways of making brushmarks, or other kinds of mark-making (e.g. stamping, dripping, spattering, lay materials in wet washes). What do these marks remind you of? (What would they be good for suggesting?) Which ones do you most enjoy making?
  • Pull out some fun or interesting materials that you don’t normally use (or don’t normally use with your watercolors) because “it’s not done”, or “they don’t belong together”, or it’s too messy, or whatever other reasons you don’t normally use them. And use them. Kid’s crayons and watercolor? Sure! Metallic markers? Go for it! Opaque paints? Absolutely!
  • Make some random marks, drips or spatters and then start turning them into “something”—whatever you see or want to imagine—even if it’s not real. Fat purple dogs. Surreal landscapes. Whatever you can dream up. 

Module 12 Journaling Together Video

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