One of the things I struggle with most about being an Artist, is being truly Authentic in my Art. Every time I bring a brush to my canvas, I desire to feel free - but it's not always that easy!
Over the last few years, I've grown to feel more confident with being openly expressive in my Artworks (and in my life), but it's taken great courage to get me where I am today. I still sometimes feel anxious about how people will respond to my work when they see it and I've been making Art for people to see, for over 10 years!
This is why I love working with children. I think because we're taught how to 'fit in' as we grow up, it can therefore feel difficult to let go and be free in our work like we once did. We often fear ridicule and creating Art means putting ourselves out there in view of others. It's both a freeing and fretful experience to create as an adult!
There was a time in our lives when we were all openly playful and expressive and putting brush to paper was as easy as breathing for us. I believe it's possible to once again feel free and uninhibited when it comes to painting and creating. Children do this every day and I think we can learn a lot from them!
Here are my top 5 tips for embracing our childhood creativity and moving beyond fearful blockages ...
1. Make your Art just for you.
When I notice my Art-making feels stunted, I stop and check in with myself: Am I making this artwork for me, or am I making it 'acceptable' for others? Making a commitment to paint that leaf blue (when my head tells me it 'should' be green), means I'm letting go of people-pleasing and doing what feels good for me. Children are masters at this game!
2. Change colours with your moods.
One of the biggest deal-breakers when it comes to Art-making, is trying to 'get-it-right'. A wonderful and really simple way to begin moving beyond this perfectionist behaviour, is to intentionally mix it up, by using colour more freely. Do children agonise over mixing the perfect brown to paint in a tree trunk? Not at all, in fact they're likely to paint it red with yellow spots. This is one of my favourite Art-making tools and it feels fun to be free with colour, like a child again!
3. Go big.
Working large is deliciously conducive to free-form expression. When we work small, there is less space to create wildly like a child does and we are more likely to get stuck in the fine detail. Remember those big old easels with large sheets of butchers paper at preschool? Try it again, it's amazingly freeing!
4. Use that paint up!
I used to feel guilty about using my paints liberally. Not only did I tell myself they were too expensive to waste, I also secretly thought I wasn't worth it. Funnily enough, many of my paints went rancid from non-use, so they were wasted anyway! These days, I squirt out great big piles of the stuff and more often than not, I use it all up! As children, we would see the paint there and you'd be hard-up trying to stop us from smearing thick globs of it all over the page. Make a promise to use some nice, fat squirts in your next Art-sesh!
5. Get in there with your fingers.
I may have saved my favourite tip until last: Fingerpainting. This is a technique I incorporate into every class I teach, because it's so darn juicy, expressive and amazing to work with! I use fingerpainting in every single one of my Artworks these days, because there's no brush or method that can create such expressive and unique outcomes, like my very own fingers can! There's nothing quite like stepping back into childhood and feeling the cool, fluid paint slipping between my fingers. It's great for blending and creating backgrounds, not to mention making beautiful textures and organic patterns on the surface of your Artworks. Try getting messy, I promise, it's fantastically freeing!
I hope these are inspiring for you ... do you have any freeing Art tips you'd like to share?
Love, Chrissy x