Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Let's play!

Er, I mean, WORK!! Work, work, work, of course.

I have the opportunity to teach two 10 week art classes to 4th and 5th graders in the gifted program in our local school district. The lovely part of this is that it pays decently, will be attended by motivated students who choose to sign up for the classes, and REQUIRES me to PLAY!!

My inner taskmaster (also referred to as "FEAR BRAIN"), doesn't like play - in fact, it loathes play.

"There's no time for play," sneers the taskmaster. "We must work. Time is slipping by. Tick, tick, tick. We must make money. We must succeed. If we don't succeed WE ARE DOOMED!!!"

Ha!! "This is a job", I explain to the taskmaster. "We have a money making opportunity here, (he, he, he, he), but I have to come up with projects that fit within a bigger idea that will become the "class". Projects - (he, he, he, he), I must WORK to create projects (he, he, he, he, he).

When I was young, I saved my money and bought into an art craft of the month deal. Every month someone somewhere sent me an art project in the mail - with directions and supplies. I cannot tell you have much I LOVED that deal. I would get the box and disappear to my room for however many hours it took me to complete the project. It was magic - pure magic for me. I still can remember that feeling, the utter excitement at the thought of this project arriving in the mail and then the process of creating it. If someone were to ask me what some of my favorite childhood memories were, this would be on the short list.

The process of creating these classes to teach has brought that all back to me and more. I've realized that I don't let myself play. Hours have flown by immersed in tempera paint, chalk, oil pastels, charcoal, without a thought of eating or stopping. I catch myself grinning and singing as I play with materials and ideas. When I think of returning to my "real" art, my heart tightens slightly like it's gripped in a vise.

An expectations vise. I have no expectations for greatness and criticism when I am creating teaching projects for children.

How do I infuse my own projects with that gleeful process-oriented childlike attitude with which I approach these teaching projects? I think the answer is simple - I must play more. Even the task of creating these projects has opened something up within me that surely will infuse my "real" art. I wonder what would happen if I gave just as much weight in terms of studio time to play as I do to work?

Can you play today?

1 comment:

  1. Just when I think I have my computer figured out- I hit a snag. Tried to post a comment today on your blog article- no luck. (Not the first time) So, here I am. Loved the article. Learning to ignore Mr Fear Brain is one of life's hardest lessons. But you're doing it! I so hope you're keeping hard copies of your blog entries. They are so interesting and I know many people would benefit from them if they could read them. Maybe someday they will. The class sounds like such fun. Those kids are so lucky to have you and, I think, you're lucky to have them.
    Enjoy! ( Or IN-joy!)