The piece went dark and moody.
It started off full of optimism with cloud patterns of pinks, creams and purples. No discernible composition or defined shapes. I wanted to keep it loose and up-lifting.
“New colors.” My friend noticed.
After completing a number of paintings which had clear separation of color and shape, I wanted to shift back into loose and playful.
I recently heard an artist talk about how his preliminary moves were free and childlike. He’d paint a lot this way covering yards of unstretched canvas. For days he’d stay in this mindset. This is a common way of working for many artists.
At some point he’d put on his professional artist hat on and start forming the work. Shaping, tightening and making decisions. Since he worked in a collage manner, his pieces still had elements of the playful mind. This too is common practice.
I began to think about this notion of “beginner mind” and decided to replace it with “playful mind”. This last year has been laden with sorrow and uncertainty and we’re not out of the woods yet. I’m giving space for the dark and moody because that’s freedom too. And that’s what occurred in the painting below.
Gone are the pinks and purples. In are a lavender grey and stains of red. Purple looms around the edges and hunkers down in the corner.
A “playful mind” is adaptive, aware and smiling. It makes room for all the emotions.