Thursday, April 7, 2011

Back to Kindergarten!

Still crazy after all these days!  Time for art is still usurped by organizing, packing, cleaning and all the other myriad things that come with a major move and transition.  So, although I don’t have any new art to share, this has been much on my mind:

Listen to Mustn'ts, child, listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn'ts, the Impossibles, the Won'ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.
-Shel Silverstein 

There are times when we just need to move our minds and creativity away from a world that says things should be a certain way; that there are right ways and wrong ways to be ourselves; that feeds us full to bursting with expectations and rules and can silently and insidiously steal away the gift of our creativity.

Remember when you were a child and every moment was an exploration, a joy, an inspiration?  Where every new creative act took place in the now and was met with enthusiasm and wonder?  When it was okay to color the sky purple, to build a house for the fairies or a shelter for a frog? 
All children have the capacity to live in the moment; to create from their hearts and experience joy.  It’s only as they grow and take in the “mustn’ts, the don’ts, shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts” that they lose touch with their creativity.  I love it when my 2 year old grandson climbs up next to me, asking to make art.  That pure creative spirit that brings him joy in the act of creating inspires me and lightens my heart!

Give yourself the gift of reconnecting to the child within you!  Keep it in Kindergarten, as one of my mentors used to say.  Simple, uncomplicated and fun…Here are some ideas to start with:
  • Watch the clouds!  What shapes, animals, newly created wonders can you discover there?
  • Look online for free coloring pages.  You can use these to simply color, as patterns, or as a springboard for simple collages that will use up some of your paper scraps.  The inspiration for my “Vision” collage was a coloring page!
  • Cut a crown out of card stock or colored paper, decorate it to your heart’s content and wear it.  Be Queen of all you see for a day!  Add a beautiful, handmade wand and be your own fairy godmother!
  • Sandwich various colors of tissue paper between layers of waxed paper, make a frame out of colored or scrapbook paper and hang in your window for a stained glass effect that is beautiful in its simplicity.
  • Finger-paint!  Mix salt and flour with a little water to make a paste (the consistency of thick gravy).  Divide into small containers or dishes and add just a bit of food coloring to create different colors. 
  • Create temporary stamps from vegetables—cut a green pepper, cucumber, etc. in half or cut a simple raised design into the raw side of half a potato.  A red onion, cut in half and allowed to dry out makes a lovely rose stamp – as does the bottom of a celery stalk!  For more permanent, reusable  stamps, cut a shape out of the bottom of a clean styrofoam meat tray.  Clean well, then use a pencil or pen to press a simple design into the smooth side of the foam.  My  kids and I made a whimsical floral stamp one year, which we used to decorate gifts, including a gardeners apron and tee shirt.
  • Stir up a batch of bubbles, and revel in some fun!  To one quart of water, stir in 1/2 cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves, then stir in 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid.  You can make bubble wands out of coat hangers, making sure there are no sharp edges.
Feel free to discover and add your own inspirations (and share them with us)!  If you’re in a place where creativity seems to have packed up and taken a vacation, giving yourself the gift of playfulness may be just the thing needed to invite it back into your days.
 An Arthur Rackham illustration from a vintage children's book, circa 1902


  1. I've never heard the Silverstein quote - I love it!! I think I feel a page comin' on. . .

  2. Trece, I love Shel Silverstein's poetry. I discovered him when my kids were little. Lots of treasures for those of us still in touch with that wonder filled child inside too...

  3. Just found your blog and plan on following it from now on.

    I also deal with fibro, and find a lot of peace and relaxation in art journaling. Sometimes I have to stop when I'm not ready to, because my right arm will start screaming at me, but I do as much as i can when i can.

    Good luck on your move...please post often(ok, IF you can, of course)and please post your work, 'k?

    Thanks. Joyce

  4. Joyce, welcome! It's always nice connecting to others who share some of my challenges and interests :) We create our own art therapy!
    I'll be posting whenever possible. I don't know how my fibro will react to the move, but I'm doing well so far.
    I'll definitely be posting my work too. I have more posted in the albums on my Creative ARTitude facebook page - plus lots of graphics, so be sure to check them out!

  5. beautiful post.. I feel it's important to create and play like a child each and every day hugs xo

  6. Thanks Cynthia for the inspirational post. I bought some Crayola markers not too long ago just to doodle with -- they're actually quite nice. Your post made me want to get one of those big boxes of crayons, though. Something about that big box of waxy color brings out the creative child. Good Luck with the move!

  7. I've stolen the quote! Thanks for sharing! Your header is beautiful!!

  8. Thanks Bonita! I totally agree with you...

  9. Joy, crayons and the creative child really do seem to go together! I can remember my mom drawing page after page of big squiggles for us to color and, when I was a bit older, using graph paper and crayons to create wonderful designs.
    Whether you use markers or crayons, I hope you have fun :)

  10. Scatter, thanks for the compliment! Maisy used part of one of my very first journal pages for the header, so I'm really happy with it.


Thank you for leaving your comments; I read and appreciate them all! Cynthia