Sunday, February 20, 2011

Art Therapy, Play Therapy

 It's a funny business, this business of being an Artist. There is so much of the Self involved in your work, and it can be hard not lot let your ego get in the way. Sometimes you want to create and you can't.  The Muse is often fickle. Sometimes paintings sell and sometimes they don't. The incredible highs (I sold a painting! I'm in so-and-so gallery!) and lows (If I had more time I could be more successful! Why didn't they come to my art show?) are part of the ride.   And  when it gets to be a little overwhelming I try to remind myself that it's all about the journey.  That deep down inside I am still the little girl in third grade who hid in the art room and drew while the other kids played outside at recess, and whether or not people "like" my art is irrelevant to them liking ME. Cue deep breathing exercises...

This is my daughter at the DMA, but could have easily been a photo of me twenty five years ago.
What could be more special than coming to that realization?

I was having one of those low days last week and I took the big kids to the Dallas Museum of Art. It is one of our favorite places to visit. I was lucky enough to consult on the design of their Center for Creative Connections, which they re-vamped about five years ago, and I love the stations where you can make a project with dry media (aka mess-free media) just for the fun of making a project. My kiddos got so into the foil sculptures they would not leave the work table until I finally had to bribe them with treats I keep in the car just for the sole purpose of getting them into the car. I loved watching them create just for creativity's sake. Seeing them and the sheer "art brut-ness"

(Art brut: French for "raw art", the art of children and outsiders; actually, anyone not producing art for profit or recognition.)

of their whole experience was like the rain for me, washing my insecurities and hindering ulterior motives away and unearthing the pure, the true, the real.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
My creative ruts always seem to come from overworking, which is really tempting when you are running a small business on your own. I have to constantly tell myself that it's okay to shut the door of the studio and go do something completely unrelated to Utopia Pkwy. Art little passion project, my happy place. The longer I work in the creative field, the more certain I am that 'working through it' does not lead to great ideas. It's a combination of life experiences and incubation time, mixed with some heavy trial and error. When I feel like I have no other creative ideas, I try to be gentle with myself and have faith that, with time, my next inspiration will arrive when I least expect it.

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Gina Marie Dunn, Utopia Pkwy. Art Studio's Fan Box


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