Friday, March 8, 2013

Fun Time!

 Every once in a while, looking back through old sketchbooks I find works which were never really meant to see the light of day. Pieces that, because the originals hadn't been particularly noteworthy had invited playful alterations. How could I resist?  Being poor work already I might have even made improvements! Looking at the male figure on the left, I saw awkward drawing, poor composition and a lot of empty space. The addition of a "twin" figure introduced "repetition" a solid principle of design. Adding massed background detail to set off the simple figures uses another design principle, "contrast". Both together helped make it a more interesting, more complete composition.

There's more to it than that. It's the basic creative urge that most artists share, the impulse to make something from nothing! The need to produce unique work, interesting not because it reproduces reality (a noble aim) but because it is just plain FUN! Playful engagement is the road to the new idea, new concept, new process -  in a word -  growth!

The works shown were fun but more than mere doodles, they were visual problem solving exercises. Faced with virtual disaster you are free to play around and to treat failures as opportunity. Not necessarily the opportunity to turn trash into treasure but a chance to learn.  It's like that early TV children's artist who would invite kids to scribble a line or two that he would turn into a funny cartoon drawing. - but looking carefully, gaining insight as you work. If in the end it's still a piece of trash you would have learned something there too!

Yes, I have to admit the fun ran away with me in that second piece. It became an over-done doodle but that's OK. It reenforced one other important concept, one tough to learn - knowing when to stop!

So, don't be too quick to toss bad works!. They are opportunities to push off in new directions, like taking a never traveled back road instead of a mundane highway and finding an architectural gem.  As the NY State Lottery motto says,  Hey - you never know!

"Creativity is not a talent; it's a way of operating."   John Cleese

"The essential ingredient for creativity is wasting time."   Anonymous  

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