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Imperfection, Embracing the Mess through Art

January 24, 2011
Life is MessyArt is Messy.  Life and Art are so incredibly, inexorably, and mutually tied it is unbelievable.  If you’re stuck in the rut of a daily grind, let art bring some mess into your life.

Beautiful Mess 2a, originally uploaded by creativeisthmus.

In my line of work, precision, perfection, and methodical exactness are the norm.  They are expected in the sciences as in many professional fields and a focus on precision and accuracy is often imperative; drawing the line between understanding and mystery, between someone living and someone dying.  This mode of being feeds into the “type A,” perfectionist side of my personality.  The part that loves clean cut procedures, schedules, plans, diagrams and details.  But, to really connect the dots in any endeavor, a bit of joyful mess is always required.  Were it not for some imperfect mistakes, we would be a dull world devoid of many important discoveries.  Take penicillin, were it not for a stray plate, mistakenly left out in the elements, there would have been no impetus to look at molds for antimicrobial substances.  One moment of imperfection in a well-maintained lab gave birth to penicillin and the whole notion of “antibiotics” as a method of treatment. 

Are you yearning to be messy through art?

Let’s put on our little kid hats for a moment, remember the days of mud pies, mud balls, puddle jumping, digging for worms and lets play!
One of my favorite ways to de-stress and be artistic is to dive into finger painting.
Yes, finger painting.
You can too!  I may not be a kid anymore. I am capable of using a brush or pencil with dexterity but I often choose not too.  It’s much too easy with a brush or stylus to get caught up in the detail, in the perfection, and many times I’ve witnessed myself (and other folks) walk away from their art because they just can’t make it look like they see it in their heads.  I say, that’s not important.  Don’t see it in your head.  Dive into paper or cardboard or cloth or your wall with no plan, no image, and no intention other than letting yourself go and experiment.
Do you like blue Let yourself play with blue.
Do you like shapesLet yourself play with shapes.
Do you like to danceYou can let yourself play with dance.  You could walk through some paint and dance around on your canvas, heck roll in it!  Just let yourself play.
There is no perfection here, just play and it’s just for you.  When it comes to things like this, my goal is generally to de-stress to express and I’m not thinking any farther than how I’m feeling or moving at any given moment.
My favorite method is to turn on some music I can get into, tape a bunch of paper to the wall or lay it on the floor with something to catch the drips and just go at it.  I’ll cut paper and collage it in, throw things at it, crumple parts but honestly, just playing with the paint is carthatic…and it’s fun!
The nice thing with this kind of art is that one can play with finger painting with practically no supplies.  Seriously!  No need to drag yourself around an art store or know what the heck your doing.  The first time I did this, I took some old photocopies, taped them together in one big sheet and put it on the wall.  I didn’t have a lot of paint.  I found a tube of dry blue tempra, grabbed some old makeup well past its prime, some leftover hair dye, a marker, and then headed to the kitchen to mix some colorful spices with flour and water.  I put on my tunes and Had At.
It was great!
When I was done, I didn’t really know what to do with it.  I let it sit there for a while (and my room smelled tantalizingly like potato chips from the paprika-flour and curry-flour “paint” I’d made) and then I gave the whole thing away to someone who liked it.  She ended up hanging it in a different orientation then I’d painted it and we both realized “Hey!  It’s supposed to go that way!  Whatdyaknow!”
Embrace the mess!  Give it a try!
That First Finger Paint Picture: (want to see how it hung on her wall?)
For Further Ideas….

Some Colorful Clutter:

Colorful Mess 2


Crop 2a

or Mess?

Painting Block

The world is filled with possibility, dive in!

One Comment leave one →
  1. tigger permalink
    January 26, 2011 5:16 pm

    you’re playing my song! although there are some days when i’d like to get OUT of the little kid’s world and play grown-up games. i love the colors of imagination being more important than knowledge.

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