Having fun with your art is good for your soul and your brain. No need to be serious all the time. I think Summertime is the perfect season to stretch your imagination and connect with your childlike tendencies. What happens when you play? Your body releases stress hormones and activates your imagination.
Adult play is as essential to your overall wellbeing as getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods. When we connect with others socially in unstructured and creative ways our bodies relax and release endorphins. They are the feel-good hormones that can boost your mood and even make chronic pain more tolerable. Play can also strengthen your imagination. Children learn best when playing and I think adults do as well.
Play and humor can diffuse a stressful situation and a walk with a friend with no destination in mind can be relaxing and rejuvenating. Running and working out has its benefits, but just enjoying an evening walk with a friend or strolling through your neighborhood can provide tremendous health benefits too.
Play a card game with a friend, take a kid out to the park, go on a walk with your dog or take a class. When you expand your horizons, learn new things and meet new people your brain is cued to see the world in new ways. Take a different route to work, go into a store or business that you have never been in before just to see what it’s like. Learn some jokes and share them with someone. Laughter is great exercise.
Here are a few fun ideas to play and spark your imagination and creativity:
1. Play in the mud. Get some clay and create little creatures for your flowerpots or windowsill. If you put them outside, they will eventually melt back into the earth. I have some nicely painted lizards and bugs in my garden. Use watercolor paints to make them biodegradable.
2. Water balloons are fun for cooling off and they can also be a great way to move some paint. Take a round balloon and add a small amount of water. It should be smaller than your fist and tie a knot in the end. Dip it into several different colors of paint and then press it onto some watercolor paper. You get some wicked cool circular paint patterns. Who needs to do pours!
3. Blow some bubbles-Put some wet watercolors or acrylics on a surface. While it’s wet blow some soap bubbles and catch them on your painting. I have done this in workshops, and we are all dancing and laughing outside trying to catch bubbles. You really need a partner to do this; one to blow the bubbles and the other to try and catch them.
4. Gather flower petals and press between book pages. When they are dry you can collage them into your art. You can even put them between two pieces of glass and use metallic tape to seal the edges.
5. Create a scavenger hunt for your friends or family. Try an art themed scavenger hunt. See how many things you can find outside of an art studio to make art. Not only do you get new tools, but everyone stretches their imagination to figure out how to use them. Some of my favorites are kitty litter, clean of course, straws, string, pool noodles and masking tape. I wrote about some of these in several of my art technique books.
See what summertime art fun you can create and invite friends to join in.
Play keeps the body flexible and the mind active. Play is not a luxury; it is essential to refill the well.