Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Taking Time to Play...

If we think about the last time we actually played with paint and pencils and crayons and stamps — with no expectations and no judgements about our work — it was probably like... when we were 7 or so? I know for myself... I can't even remember what it was like to not make an icky face at my first attempt at anything!

Which is why I felt it was so absolutely necessary to take Mindy Lacefield's Play Journal workshop at the Art & Soul Retreat recently. She teaches... nay... preaches... living from your authentic childlike self and her fun and whimsical attitude is contagious!

Her work is so playful and visually stimulating in a witty, lighthearted way... that I just needed to be a part of that type of creation face-to-face...

That's why even though I've taken her classes online for almost a year now, I still felt compelled to learn with her in-person in a 2-day workshop. And I am so very happy that I did!

We started off with some warm-up exercises... drawing on deli paper with our non-dominant hand (we'd use that later in our journals). Once we crafted our journals (it was easy peasy!), we jumped right in to putting paint on paper, which is still always exciting and scary for me each time I do it!

Painting. Stamping. Mark-making. Drawing. Gluing. Lettering. These are things that just bring pure joy when there is no end result in mind. And it was fun! I gave myself permission to let go.

And it was so cool to watch my pages as they progressed. I ended up disassembling my journal because I wanted to add elements to multiple pages and my 7 year old self couldn't wait for them to dry (who am I kidding, that's the impatient me today!). I was so overcome with excitement and the desire to add more and more (and more!) that I found myself shoving lunch into my mouth faster than I could chew it... just so I could get back to the classroom more quickly. Come on! Hurry up! So you can have more fun!!

We had a fabulous group dynamic in our class and we all fed off of each other's energy. We journaled and shared stories, got a little teary-eyed, laughed a lot, shared some more, got ideas from each other and evolved as a group. At the end of day two we had a little show-and-tell. Everyone did such a great job and each person's creations were uniquely their own. It was a blast!

And after I returned home, the party didn't stop! I was obsessed with mark-making and doodling and painting and finding just the right piece of epemera to complete an empty space. I was kind of cracking myself up over cracking up. Is my therapist on call, I wondered?

But I finally came down a bit, off of the major adrenaline high I was on, and just enjoyed the whole process. I found that after Mindy's workshop, I was more free to make marks, really letting go of the fact that they might get covered up. I had more confidence that I could make those marks again if need be, or take the technique and use it as a new tool in another way on another page. And yes, I will be making like a gazillion more of these journals!

In fact, this mermaid is the result of what I created over that background above. I covered up a lot of marks and painting and drawing and little bits of ephemera. But I love this page oh so much. And I made sure to document it before I covered it. So anything I had, I'll know exactly how to re-create it again for another page.

To be honest,  I wasn't sure how much I'd learn from an in-person class from a teacher I had studied with online. But to my surprise, the person that signed up for that workshop and the person who came home from it ... well, they're two different people. And it's hard to find words that express what a wonderous time I had, and how much my art has changed as a result of it. I am over-the-moon excited every day knowing that all I had to do to move forward, was move backwards... and revisit my childhood self.

I'm so happy I remembered how to play. Makes life (and art) a lot more fun. Wheeeeeee!


  1. Wow ! This was such a perfect workshop for you and your child-like wonder, Michelle ! It is awesome to hear about all you got out of it. Happy Playing !

  2. Totally delighted for you Michelle!!
    I knew something was different about your work in class, more free and fun, (though you know I was a huge fan previously!).
    Now I see it is because you met with Mindy!
    Oh how awesome, 2 of my special people together! What joy!!
    So very, very happy for you and I love what you have produced.
    Big love and hugs xx xx

  3. OH wow!!! i'm overjoyed with love right now. my cup runneth over. what a magical story about how this class unfolded from the eyes of your 7 year old self. there are simply no words to what your friendship, love and support have given me. what a beautiful gift YOU are. love,

  4. OMG! I'd give ANYTHING to paint like this. I need to take her on-line courses since I can't seem to get to see her in person.


  6. I love seeing your creations on our True Free Spirit class and I have some of the same feelings of just playing and having fun while learning from Mindy online. I would love to create with her in person someday too if possible. Thanks for being a bright inspiration in our group.


  7. Looking at your journal makes me so happy! It's beautiful!

  8. these are just incredibly awesome pages and creations! I love them are an inspiration!


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michelle renee bernard