Just Letting Go

I teach an art class for Carers once a week and as it’s the dead of winter, with grey clouds looming, lurgies stalking at every turn and unexpected Caring duties interrupting every well laid plan, I wanted to try something different, something that would bring colour to the grey and chase the ‘blehs’ away even if just for just an hour or two. So following a chat with another artist I broke out the watercolours, sponges, brushes, a cup of dried couscous, a bowl of rock salt, and a few tablespoons of dried rice. 

Letting each artist choose only one colour each led to a palette of brilliant pink, blue, green and yellow which we then shared around the table, before slowly adding more colours one at a time as the whim took us. 

The most important lessons immediately jumped forward as we began work: the importance of not being too tentative in making a mark and the importance of ‘just letting go’ … of the need to be in control, to plan, to predict and the instinct to judge before you’ve even started. 

In bringing the self-imposed rules we often create for ourselves to the fore I was reminded how creative joy often comes from letting those boundaries fall away. It was the most energised session we’ve had in months and artists who are often shy in approaching a blank piece of paper created works of stunning colour and vibrancy. The inability to plan what would happen made a jump into the unknown a precondition to participation, reinforced by the unexpected magic of running salt through your fingers and watching it chase colours away in intricate starbursts impossible to predict. 

But what I will carry with me was the mayhem of enthusiasm, joy and creative chatter that followed once glitter had been added in to the mix. 

The creative process for me is about listening to my inner self, about following my instinct and in controlling the lines and swirls that fill my paintings, so that extreme self-discipline emerges as natural seeming, nearly chaos. 

This though was a reminder of the magic that is possible when we step outside of our comfort zones, let go of the control and allow our inner child to just play with the medium, no finished goal in sight and no expectations to fail against.  

There’s still glitter worked into the grain of my table, but that’s ok - I’ve let go of the need to tidy it away.

As posted to Facebook, 29 January 2016

‘Today’s Creative Carer session brings you an experimental garden of colour, texture and light to fight those winter blues.’

All images and site content © mjhodge