PAINTING OUTSIDE THE LINES
“EVERY CHILD IS AN ARTIST.
THE PROBLEM IS HOW TO REMAIN AN ARTIST ONCE WE GROW UP.”
There must be a new way to look at this
Taking the usual and making it interesting is the artist’s task, adding a dab of paint or note in an unexpected place. This something that grabs our attention. and makes us take a look is what we call art.
Children and jazz artists do this all the time. We can learn from them.
I can remember when I was most pleased with myself being told that I was “acting a little childish”. It seemed to happen when I was discovering new things and I was a little loud expressing my joy. I keep working to get this joy back in my life. I want to be childish again.
Children are free to see and interpret the world around them. That gift is sometimes lost as we accumulate life’s experiences and gain certainty.
We know what is risky and what to fear. We neglect the freedom of thought that we had as children. We eventually know too much and imagine less. Most artists cherish the freedom to express themselves without incrimination and to imagine the unimaginable.
RETURNING TO OUR “FACTORY DEFAULT” SETTINGS / LEARNING FROM CHILDREN
What do children know that adults seem to have forgotten? Children are more confident, more courageous and enjoy life far more intensely than adults. Sometimes it feels that we spend our entire lives trying to return to who we were as children.
Pablo Picasso remarked while at a children’s art exhibition: ” When I was the age of these children I could draw like Raphael. It took me many years to learn to draw like these children.”
We can learn from our younger selves to bring more clarity and joy into adulthood.
When we were young, play filled our day. What we didn’t know was that this free play helped our healthy growth and learning. Play was a positive in our lives and only later in life does it become a luxury.
Play energizes and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” – Stuart Brown
Except for school and family meals my days were completely unstructured. I went out the door and never looked back. With the same group of friends we filled the day until it was getting dark and lights were coming on in the neighborhood homes.. All day long we made things out of stuff that was around. We pretended things around us were whatever we wanted them to be. We fantasized and most importantly we improvised. You could run and chase your friends until you were out of breath and your cheeks were flushed. We had the same friends for years who could challenge each other without having winners and losers. We would jump and run for no reason and never thought of it as an exercise program or a daily fitness routine. It was just playing. And it was fun.
LISTENING TO THE CHILD THAT YOU WERE
How would that little girl/boy that you were look at the person you are now?
I play with gooey oil paints and move the paint around until I like where it is placed. I justify having so much fun because I can sometimes get paid for the results. Not everyone can be so lucky, but everyone can make time in the day to return to that healthy time when you played freely with your thoughts and unashamedly shared these thoughts with your friends. I now happily spend time around artists and musicians who have peeled away filters that would only limit their shouts of glee and remorse.
Jazz artists enjoy their childish notions and can comfortably say “I play jazz for a living”. It is possible to play jazz for a living because the best have freed themselves from adult rules and in the truest sense play like children.
When I paint I listen to jazz. I get creative nourishment from the players’ freedom of expression. I hope that I will someday be able to play like these cats.
Listen to the children who discover something new every day. Jazz is about discovery. It will keep us young.
If you were to peek in and watch an artist at play when he is alone you would probably see a familiar expression on his face. It brings to mind the face of the infant being securely held by the person just ahead of you in the grocery store line, the one with the wide eyes of discovery and the wry smile of knowing all is good. The next time that you are in a jazz club or with a group of artists you may notice that there are some knowing childish grins and glances going on.
THE DIRTY DOG IS AN ADMONISHMENT AND RECRIMINATION FREE ZONE
COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ
March 21 – March 24
One of the jazz world’s greatest spirits will strip away any of your late winter blahs this week.
Bring your most youthful attitude.
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