Creative Play at Work

Even though I think of myself as a “creative”, I spend very little time playing. Partly this is because I take on too many other things that fill up my time, and partly it is fear that what I produce won’t live up to my mental image of what I am trying to make.

And partly because if you put something off long enough, even something fun, it becomes just another item on the to-do list.

Orna Ross, Irish indie novelist and poet, talks about the importance of Creative Rest and Creative Play in rejuvenating the creative spirit. I needed that. So yesterday, I took a trip with my family to the Shurniak Art Gallery.

The day started as Creative Rest, soaking in the inspirational beauty of the variety of artworks on display. But the vibrant playfulness of the Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings made me want to play too. So when we got home, I dug out our acrylic craft paints, brushes, and the art paper that was stashed behind a cupboard, and made a dot painting of my own.

Snoofs in a Sandstorm

What I learned about painting with dots is that it is really hard to do it well. It is hard to:

  • make the dots round and consistent in size. I wonder if the Aboriginal artists used round sticks of different sizes to make those perfect dots. (Note: add researching this to my to-do list for later)
  • make the patterns the same size, shape, and orientation on the paper.
  • space out the background dots evenly
  • come up with an interesting and meaningful pattern and colours that work well together.

The dot paintings in the gallery are rich with cultural significance. Mine…well, I started with the idea of depicting the swirling wind in a sandstorm (one of the events in the Dragon Planet story I’m working on now), but it kind of looks like a butterfly. The four snoofs (the dragon word for snakes in my novel) were a happy accident.

But the point isn’t the result, or even what I learned. The point is that it was fun! Relaxing. Creative.

And this morning, I woke up with creative words swirling in my mind. An idea for my website. A possible new story, or section of a story. Creative Rest and Creative Play. It does rejuvenate. Now, back to that Creative Work.

(Header image Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash)

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