6.25.2012

crayons

When we were all little tots back in gradeschool...I would bet money that not one of us didn't have at least 1 set of crayons as part of our required school supplies.  I would also bet that a good majority of us, as kids, whipped those colors out without a second thought to draw whatever it was that entered our imagination...parents, spaceships, houses, castles, flowers, robots, cars, animals...and didn't think twice about whether or not it was "good."  Most children, when given a box of random crayons and regular cheap copy paper, have no trouble drawing, scribbling, tracing, rubbing over textures, and coloring with wild abandon.  Watch the next time you go to a restaurant that gives kids a few crayons and a placemat/kiddie menu to use...you aren't likely to hear any second-guessing, statements of whether they're making art or not, etc.  OF COURSE they're making masterpieces!  There's no question! 

Working with kids, I have always been a big fan of giving children crayons and blank paper to use...NOT coloring books with pre-drawn images of the latest cartoon characters (you know, the ones with the "lines" in which most adults want children to stay within).  Why?  Children spend most of their time in environments that are structured by the adults around them.  Environments with "lines" that they can't cross...structured environments with rules and boundaries.  This is not a bad thing, in fact, I spend a lot of time in my day job teaching foster parents exactly WHY those environments are good for children in order to give them a sense of safety and security.

It's not so different for adults, is it?  We spend most of our time in structured environments with rules & regulations, too.  We thrive on structure sometimes.  It helps us take care of the "stuff of life" - paying bills, keeping things in order, keeping jobs, meeting goals, staying healthy...to a point, that is.  A little self-discipline never hurt anyone.  

HOWEVER.  Life is all about balance.  Without a little play time, to be free, to experiment, to investigate the world around them...to COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES (sorry for the cliche, but you had to know it was coming, right?) we can begin to lose some of that magical curiosity and excitement that can lead to creativity, art, design, storytelling, inventing, discovering, dreaming...

This could apply to anything, but since we're on the subject of crayons...here's a good example.  You don't need fancy art supplies to create.  Take a look at this site:


So...I think an exercise is in order.  

Let's be kids, even for just a few minutes, again.  Put aside 5 minutes of your time, grab some blank paper (any kind will do - paper towel, copy paper, butcher paper, post-it note, it doesn't matter) and some crayons (if you don't have any, go get some - a box of 16 colors runs about $2, cheaper than starbucks so i don't want to hear it!) and just play.

Not sure what to do?  Blank page freaking you out & you just HAVE to have black lines to fill in?  DON'T grab your kid's Disney Princess coloring book - instead take a dark color crayon and scribble random lines all around/across the page...then fill in the white space that's left with color.  This can be VERY therapeutic.

Whatever you do, keep that inner bitch critic quiet - he/she is not allowed to judge you for any reason!

When you're done, sit back and admire your opus.  Then, msg me with your results, I want to see your wild, young-at-heart, whimsical & crazy crayon art!  :)  I'll post mine by the end of this week.  (You know I wouldn't ask you to do something I'm not willing to do myself, right?)

Oh!  And this is VERY IMPORTANT: if the crayons are yours - I insist that you break them up into smaller pieces - at least in half - and take the wrapper off some of the smaller pieces so you can use them for wide strokes.  This is also part of the therapy!  A nice, sharp, non-messed up crayon just might inhibit you from doing this, so mess it up FIRST!  When I was a play therapist, this is the first thing we did with all crayons...broke them, took wrappers off of bits, and threw them all into a big box (not all in neat little rows in the crayola box, as satisfying as that is, I know, I know...).

Just do it.  For me if you must, but I'd rather you do it for YOU.  Have fun!

2 comments:

Susan King said...

This resonated with me somehow so I did one. Gonna do another tomorrow. Maybe by the time I'm out of paper my inner critic will be silenced.

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