• Shawn Dell Joyce artist

Playing vs Professional Artwork

As I walk along the causeway and see dolphins jumping and playing in the surf, it occurs to me that most creatures understand the importance of play. We humans take ourselves so seriously, and creative people can be the worst! When you turn your hobby into a job, as professional artists often do, it becomes even more important to allow yourself to play.


Play for me, takes many forms, but most often it means picking up painting knife and oils.

It's hard to be perfectionistic with a painting knife, and easier for me to have fun and not take it too seriously.


Painting with a palette knife is alot like frosting a cupcake. You can really get details and you have to apply the paint pretty thickly. This is the opposite of how I work with pastel which has little or know surface texture. I find by allowing myself to play with a palette knife, I often have breakthroughs in my pastel work.


Finding time in the studio when you lead a busy life can be difficult, then asking yourself to sacrifice some of that time to play instead of work can be downright impossible. If you do, you will not regret it.


A great book on this topic is "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan. More than 20 years ago I read this book, and shared the process of uncovering my creative self with a friend. She and I went on an "artist's date" painting in the Wallkill River in NY and took a third friend who was healing from some deep wounds. We all had such a great time plein air painting that we decided to make it a regular thing. From this event, the Wallkill River School was born; a few years later, and is still going strong. We never know where creative play may take us, and for me, I couldn't be an artist without it!


Painting water lilies in oil in a kayak is one way I play!

Ways to play artistically:

-try a Sip and Paint

-Scroll through Pinterest for a a fun craft idea and set aside an afternoon to "make things"

-YouTube has great videos in acrylic pouring, string painting and abstract painting that are hard to resist!

-copy a fave painting by an old master.

-color with a child


Please post below how you play and what play has done for you creatively.

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