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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do You Know How To Play?


(Robert Genn & his precious dog, Emily out for a ride in his classic car)

I think I have forgotten how to play.  I used to be good at it.  As a matter of fact, I wanted to do it all the time!  But, as I've gotten older, and with all the children I've had the honor of being "mother" to, I've become an old fuddy-duddy.  My favorite activity at the age of 52 is sleep, and to admit that I've turned into my mother is quite obvious.

I will say this, though, I love being creative, and yes, I suppose that is a grand form of "play."  But when I sew, paint, or quilt, I keep to the pattern or the instructions so precisely as if any deviation would result in a tragic bungle of mass proportions.  Experimentation is not my strong suit.

The one time I dared to experiment with painting ended up being a disaster and finding an appropriate way to destroy the mess became my creative and playful adventure of the day.  I suppose I view play as wasteful of paint, canvas, fabric, thread, and time, and that is why I don't play much.  Unfortunate I know.  I think it is time I throw all caution to the wind and play - play to my heart's content and see what happens.


Now take artist Robert Genn, for instance - he admits to the following deviations:

"Anyone familiar with the miracle of acrylic has tried throwing in texture-enhancing items like muslin, doilies and leaves. Things I haven't resisted include confetti, streamers and sparkle. My sparkle period lasted a full summer. While it added body and a crumbly texture and seemed like a good idea at the time, it also added an undesirable tartiness, like a girl with "George" tattooed across her front, especially when your name isn't George. I didn't feel guilty. The misguided nature of my sorties is not to be disparaged. For an artist, play is both necessary and unavoidable. Unlike the girl's tattoo, creative play doesn't have to be permanent.

Other items I've added to my acrylics include spaghetti, tortellini, vermicelli, the internal workings of clocks, radios, cameras, toys, nuts, screws, nails, bones, shells, pebbles, sand, bark mulch, crockery, springs, bathroom and toilet implements, human prosthetics, cellphone parts, computer motherboards, old automobile accessories and vintage engine parts. It's inexcusable, I know, but I can't help it. Maybe I've got a bad gene.

FYI, acrylics lock down this sort of stuff in perpetuity and seal away the bugs that eat the biodegradable bits."

Now that's what I call "Play!"  Why don't I have that kind of gumption?  Heck, that kind of play takes exuberance!  I want some of that! 


Do you play? Or, do you stick to the recipe - the pattern - the instructions - with such precision as to not want to screw up what's already been tested?  I'm definitely the latter, but think I might just deviate from the familiar and try something new this week and not worry about the waste.  And, although I can't attest to ever being playful enough to use the sort of things that Robert admitted to, I do admit to being a "stick in the mud" if that counts.



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