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Experiencing Creativity Rather Than Trying To Create 'Art'

Guest blog by Amy Walker
a blindfolded man experiencing creativity at Reckless Painting

My favourite Reckless Painting moments were when I really felt free to just “keep going” with a painting instead of thinking about what I was trying to do with it. Arthur told us that one difference between the way kids approach painting and the way adults do is that kids don’t tend to get stuck like adults do: “They just keep going.” In this spirit, I tried to keep going, simply enjoying playing with the colours and releasing the need to make it look like something in particular, or even make it look “good.” It felt exhilarating and so much more fun than when I’m concerned with what the final product will look like, and how other people might judge it.

It also helped that in our class Arthur had us all working on each other’s pictures (pieces of cardboard that we painted on). We worked on a different piece each class, so we never became too attached to one painting. We just kept building layer upon layer, collaboratively, but with no plan, just responding and adding to what was there before.

Everyone has experienced creativity. We’ve all felt an energizing, fun, in-the-flow feeling while experimenting with colours, structures, movement, music, symbols or language, and most of us have also known a feeling that is not so fun, when we become self-conscious and critical of what we are creating. Often this is what stops us from taking part in creative activities, “making art,” using our imaginations, or simply playing.

Even though creativity is something we’re all born with, we live in a world that places a lot of emphasis on the aesthetics of the end product and unfortunately that superficial attitude turns a lot of people off – literally!

You could argue that life IS creativity.

So why would we want to be creative other than to try to make something beautiful and breathtaking? Well creativity makes us feel alive. You could argue that life IS creativity. It brings us energy and connects us to ourselves and to each other. We open ourselves up to the universe when we are being creative – we have access to something bigger. You could say that creativity is a form of prayer. A way of participating in the great mystery and saying “Thank You!” to life.

A way to get back into creativity is to have no expectations. Tell yourself it’s going to look /and or sound like a terrible mess when you’re done. Give yourself permission to play and enjoy the process no matter what the result. Reckless Painting provides the situation and materials for this. It seems very simple – and it is in a way – but I felt that the energy I gained and the freedom I felt in the class was of great value and I’d encourage people to give it a try (without expectations) to experience your own creativity – and feel for yourself what I mean!

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