Tony Hart – what a legend!
If you are 35 to 40 something I am sure you know who I am talking about.
After school TV wasn’t complete without some sort of ‘art’ program – Art Attack, Hart Beat, oh, and the one with Rolf Harris. Blue Peter presenters with their ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’ creations had us hooked on sticky tape, sweetie wrappers, toilet rolls and empty washing up bottles.
My favourite was always Tony Hart, and his sidekick Morph. I sent so many pictures in, hoping to be featured in his gallery.
Because at that age, the concept of “but I can’t draw” hadn’t yet raised it’s ugly head.
And I don’t remember when it did, do you?
When did we go from drawing everything around us, and bringing home creations from art class to be proudly displayed on the fridge to ‘dropping’ art at GCSE because we were ‘rubbish’?
‘Rubbish’ at art is a ridiculous concept – you just have to spend 10 minutes in any modern art gallery to see that.
Yet somewhere along the line some of us stop bringing pictures home to mum, because they weren’t ‘good’.
So we stopped trying.
I think it probably happens sometime after starting secondary school. Instead of just ‘doing’ art we start having classes. We learn new ways of doing arty stuff, and we experiment with different materials and techniques.
Then, out of nowhere, we get ‘marked’ on our creations.
Suddenly art can be good or bad!
If you ask a 5 year old to draw an elephant, they will pick up their pencils with glee and crack on. Ask a 35 year old and they will most likely try anything to weasel out of it. Starting with the proclamation that they ‘can’t draw.’
If you can make a mark on a piece of paper you can draw!
(Go on – draw an elephant!)
Art is art. It’s not right or wrong. It’s not even good or bad.
It is what it is, and I believe most people would get an immense amount of joy and fulfilment from just creating something, without needing someone to tell them that it’s good!
There are a lot of studies out there on the interweb about the benefits of art therapy for people suffering from depression, dementia etc, but I believe picking up a pencil, splodging paint about or moulding something from plasticine can help us all in our day to day lives.
Whether you think you have your life totally under control (does anyone?) or you think you are holding it together by just a thread, some time out away from technology can work wonders on your state of mind.
There’s an interesting article I read recently about fighting memory loss. One group started wallking, one group started doing puzzles and the last group started life drawing classes. Which group do you think showed the biggest improvement in cognitive tasks? Yep, the group who’d been drawing a naked man!
Look in any book store just now and you will see a huge selection of adult colouring books, and the vast array of fine nibbed colouring pens to go with them.
These are a great way to go if you are still in the “I can’t draw” camp. (Go on, draw an elephant, I dare you!)
And remember, there’s more to art than drawing!
Maybe you would like to take a class in jewellery making, sewing, card making or pottery (Patrick Swayze in Ghost anyone?) Checkout the craft section of magazines next time you are in WHSmiths for a huge range of ideas to get you started.
Lately I have been ‘splodging paint’ about quite a lot. When I am stressed or working longer hours than normal, instead of zoning out in front of the TV I’ve started grabbing paper and pens and paint and trying to learn to let go.
I’ve been trying to learn to splodge with abandon, and not ask for approval. To enjoy the process. To free my mind and look at colours and shapes and patterns, instead of spreadsheets and invoices.
Trying to be like a child again – a fearless, free, creative genius!