Art And Paint – Don Charisma’s Prompts – Conclusion

I got demoted in English in school. They moved me down from the top class with Mrs-Stuck-Up-Fancy-Pants, into the class below. One’s first thought would be that that would be a denigration, how dare they move a genius like myself DOWN a class. Turned out the best thing that could have happened and I came out with better English than my compadres who’d stayed in the stuck up top class. Why ? Well I got to meet Mr. Ashton. We are talking about some considerable time that’s passed, I can still picture him and know his name. He’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Why ? He’s just a down to earth stand up guy, friendly, charismatic, ENTHUSIASTIC, funny and cool if that’s possible for school teacher. I love that guy, same as my dad really.

The difference, social skills, emotional intelligence and being happy, probably is what makes Mr. Ashton one of my favourite teachers. Also presumably some humility in the mix as the guy wasn’t teaching the higher echelons of humanity, like mrs-up-her-self.

Success I don’t feel is in getting it perfect, success is in having a go. So writers do not need to be perfect, nor do artists, designers etc. You will learn much quicker and get much better if you don’t strive for perfection. Put some fun into it, life isn’t that long.

Also how many times have I heard about writers block, even get it myself when I open a word document with a blank page. The simple and easy way to get around this, well it’s in these two prompts. There’s many budding writers out there who completely blanked my prompt, in favour of writing about a “C” or a “W” or whatever. Not interested in learning anything outside the box and not interested in developing creativity ? That’s really sad, actually, but I learn lessons here too.


It’s not an original exercise, it didn’t patent and develop the idea myself, I’m no Art teacher nor Writing teacher. You don’t need to be if you’re getting people to have fun. Mums aren’t Art or Writing teachers, or Chefs or Chauffeurs or for that matter Relationship Counsellors, and a lot of kids manage to have a lot of fun in what they are doing/being. What do mums do ? – the best they can, glean a bit here, there everywhere, I’m guessing being a mum is pretty spontaneous, and takes a lot of confidence, it’s a high power leadership role really, right ?

The framework and structure are important for the learner, so being rigid and fixed, and steering participants in the right direction is necessary for developing skills. But this is especially difficult when trying to teach spontaneity and creativity. It’s like a complete contradiction, on the one hand your asking people to “just do it” and on the other hand your telling the exactly how they should do it. Thankfully most people got it, and they understood the paradox a teacher has often to work within.

The other paradox is the critic in the teacher or leader. Probably most people that have the writer or artist’s block problems have been very harshly criticised, so more criticism is unlikely to help. There’s a very fine line a leader or teacher walks with this one.

So look, I learn’t a lot, my participants learn’t a lot, and we all had a lot of fun.

Whilst there is no right and wrong, and I made it easy, because fun is easy. I still got an inkling of competition and moving outside what I’d asked, and no biggie, just the way things pan out. I deliberately made it simple, because I wanted people to learn about just doing it and not trying to be perfect. Trying to be perfect doesn’t help. Having a go, making some mistakes, having fun, and continually learning is what will make you perfect. It’s ironic, the harder you try, the more difficult and the less likely you to be perfect. It’s a bit like that old cliché that you can’t fake charisma, in this sense you can’t.

Also why compete with others, how do you expect to learn “your art” or “your writing” and “your creative potential” if your only drive is to do it the same but a bit better than the others. There’s no creativity in that just a lot of unhappiness and disappointment. Why ? Simply because a Mozart or a JK Rowling or an Einstien will pop his head up and blow you out of the water.

Within that I get the need to be part of a group and to conform, not saying these things don’t exist too.

I reckon – Compete with yourself and yourself only, drive yourself, forget what others are doing, most of them are morons anyway.

Within that pay attention to what others are doing, learn from them and join in any friendly competition. That’s synergistic.


The only criticism I’ve already offered. The challenge was open to everyone and anyone, writers, artists, designers whoever. But you’re above trying something new ? You’re above learning something ? REALLY ?… You CAN WRITE ABOUT an Art or Painting prompt. What do you think I’ve been doing the past three days ? And if you can’t learn anything new or you think you’re above trying a kids exercise, well good luck with your writing or designing or art, you’re gonna need it, probably quite soon.

We’ve put hundreds and thousands of likes on other people’s blogs through reblogging this weekend. I bet all that entered and I reblogged saw increased pageviews and readership. I know they did they told me. And you’re a writer or designer or whatever and you didn’t want that ? … again, good luck with that you’re gonna need it.


The man that gave me the idea (Keith Johnstone) said he did the exercise as an adult. His teacher tore strips off him for using blue paint instead of black, in front of the class. A public humiliation which doubly hurts because of the loss of face. He said he was trying to be creative, clever. It annoyed him that his teacher had been so “mean” at the time. He also tried to be clever with the painting, again his teacher was critical. The real lesson came at the end of the exercise after everyone finished, and the teacher opened a cupboard and brought out a stack of already done paintings. They’d been done by kids, like 10 years old, and he said his jaw dropped. Just utterly amazed by the beauty of what these kids had done, flowing lines, bright beautiful bold colours, all little masterpieces. The lesson, I’ve already illustrated above, but he does go on to say that we need to unlearn and unblock ourselves from over-analysing and trying to be perfect. As soon as we’re trying too hard, it’s game over for creativity.

Lastly my instructions were clear. Nearly nobody followed the instructions precisely. I didn’t give the instructions for the good of my health, I gave them to help you learn. The .PNG file is best for this work, and displays best on screen, to give you the best “look” you can get (perfection already built in). 1024 x 1024 pixels is not too small, not too big, just right. Square images show up currently the best in the reader, you get the maximum advertising space. You get all this “free help” then ignore it. So there’s a lesson here in following instructions. I gave the instructions as an aid, in learning what there was to be learnt and to take as much of the thinking out of it as possible. Not shackles in which to weigh you down, to bind and stifle your creativity…doh !


I’ll keep on doing these prompts for a while. I’ve invited everyone to take part, happy for almost everyone to do so (rude a-holes need not apply). So come on guys, grab the next one, see the opportunity and have fun with it, learn something.



Don Charisma

“Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime”

Resources & Sources

Check my feed for the reblogs of all of the above “Art” and “Paint” work 🙂

Notes for commenters:

Don Charisma Warning Improvised Writing

Comments are invited. BUT you are reminded that this is a public blog and you are also reminded to think before you press the “post comment” button. 

Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, non-argumentative, constructive and related, or they will be moderated. If you feel you can’t comply, press the “unfollow” button and/or refrain from commenting.

I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.

Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.

33 thoughts on “Art And Paint – Don Charisma’s Prompts – Conclusion

  1. I do this in part of my free time regularly but in acrilic paints. Sorry if I didn’t took part. It’s not something new for me, but I like so much the work who do people here :). Maybe next time I will take part!

    1. Whoops … can’t remember if I explained, but for a small amount of colours and a simple graphic, .png is much sharper and clearer than jpg … obviously for photo use jpg

  2. It was fun and so true, my likes and followers spiked after taking part, it was crazy and I’ve got such a more diverse and richer set of posts popping up in my reader today which are taking me places I didn’t think I could go. Thank you.

  3. Hi Don.

    I had a ball, The thing that really grabbed me. Was not the exercise as much as this little project gave me a genuine common ground with people that would have never seen my stuff in the past and in many cases people that I would never have hooked up with otherwise.

    This little exercise actually showed me first hand what the WordPress community is all about. As you know I have been following and reading everything I can from guys like you and OM to break into this environment and not look like a desperate wannabe looking for traffic. But, all it took was a little drawing and a few minutes to make me realize that I don’t need to be a great writer nor a great artist to be recognized and enjoyed.

    I have massive appreciation for this lesson.
    Thanks bud!

    1. That;s completely awesome, brought a tear to my eye, because you’ve got so much out of such a simple exercise … I’m really pleased for that, you really are a quick learner, smart ! And thank you, it’s gratitude enough that you’ve shared that, and that you fully embraced the idea 🙂

    1. Yeah! And Kudos to all who participated! (Pom-pom shakes) . sorry if I did no click on everyone’s pic and endevour, so this is my way to cover all who did have fun. 🙂

  4. Great post. in order to be a great teacher one must be able to relate to the student in some way even if their experiences are vastly different

  5. Oh I think I discovered this site way too late to realize what these prompts were all about. I missed out! Didn’t realize that people were doing and sharing. I think this would have been good for me. I’ve been labelled as ‘creative’ all my life but I know (deep inside) that I think alot and I’m very traditional and my creativity is hampered a bit by being so… rigid, for want of a better word. (But they don’t know all that:) So, looking forward to the next round. I like this.

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