Have You ever Doodled with Scissors?
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
I teach an art workshop that specifically forces the participants to play. Funny, that. How we adults need to learn how to play where children do it so naturally. We are often told by our culture that childLiKE play is always frivolous and childISH. I suspect that it actually feels a bit scary to play when we are not used to it so it gets avoided. Creative play can feel vulnerable because it opens up our hearts to feel whatever "lies beneath" the surface of our busy lives. And it may expose our lack of artistic skill. However, it only takes following some simple tips in composition and colour contrasts to gain some skills, thus confidence.
Lean into the fear (which cannot hurt you): Pick up the piece of coloured paper that you are attracted to and begin doodling with scissors, cutting out strange and magical shapes. JUST PLAY. Arrange them on another colour you are attracted to. Are the contrasts pleasing to you? What shapes do your shapes create in the background? Like discovering dragons in the clouds, are you shapes "turning into something"?
About the example I posted, the boy suddenly commented "Hey, it looks like a bull!"
I responded, "So make it into a bull!"
"Really?" he asked with wonder and excitement.
"Really! You can make it into anything you wish." I answered.
What a special moment it was for him to realize he had 100% control of this space...I could see it was quite satisfying for him and a peaceful place for him to be.
This art workshop is called "After Matisse" and is based on the joy-filled, much-admired cut-out collages Henri Matisse made last in life while he was suffering, wheelchair bound, following surgery...His famous quote "Creativity takes courage" is the inspiration for my post today. He said, "I didn't expect to recover from my second operation but since I did... Every day that dawns is a gift...I accept it gratefully...completely forget my suffering and all the unpleasantness of my present condition and I think only of the joy of seeing the sun rise once more and being able to work a little bit, even under difficult conditions."
When my daughter was young, we lived in the country and she and her friend would say "let's go get lost." It was the adrenaline rush of newness and danger she was going for. When I couldn't immediately find them, it got my adrenaline going too --- but the point is, fearing and facing art (doing something creative that we don't think we are up to) can offer an experience of "getting lost to find a happy place".
And consider how, if you don't express yourself, it CAN hurt you! Some form of creativity (appreciating it or making it) is necessary for balance in our lives. Our culture has segregated most of art from life. Art is not just found it galleries. I suspect that ALL forms of expression have creativity connected to it somehow: Fear has frenetic shapes. Anger is dramatic. Joy is colourful. Determination is straight-lined. Relaxed is undulating rhythm. Memories become symbols.
Creative bents are found in a song sung, in a skip along a sidewalk, in a bouquet of God-designed flowers, dramatically in a long hug, in a beautiful table set for loved ones, and yes, in a paper doodle collage.
Let's deliberately re-integrate creativity into lives to keep from disintegrating!
Click on the picture to see my in-person and online art workshops offered.