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.
THE LESSON – “ART” AND “PAINT”
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 !
LESSON IN A NUTSHELL – DON’T THINK TOO MUCH … JUST DO IT…PICK THE FIRST IDEA THAT COMES INTO YOUR HEAD AND RUN WITH IT … CREATIVITY 101
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.
WE HAD FUN DOING THIS, A LOT OF PEOPLE SAID THEY FELT LIKE KIDS, AND IF THEY DID THEN THEY GOT IT RIGHT, THEY ARE THE WINNERS IN MY EYES – THEY “GOT” THE PROMPT.
“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 🙂
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