The importance of playtime

A few days ago, while editing a lecture I’m offering this coming Thursday, a thought popped into my mind and I had to act on it. All this because I was working on PowerPoint. More importantly, because I digressed, and decided to play, instead of doing the work I had intended to do, I came up with something very cool, full of possibilities and that made it all worthwhile, even knowing I still have to finish editing the lecture.

If you read my last post, you saw some images I created in FotoDa – very interesting, with a lot of depth and layers which is something I really like to do. And this new play in PowerPoint found a way to edit images, layer, and create interesting work.

How does play influence our art? In life, it seems to me that play doesn’t have an obvious value. We understand why we eat and sleep. But we can’t really explain why we play. It’s not necessary for us to do it, but we do it anyway. It is fun, it makes you feel good. For adults, play gives us freedom from our day to day lives. We tend not to worry about how we look when we play, we just let go and play.

In “Play”, by Stuart Brown, he says that play is “anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength and poise.” 

Play is amazing stuff. It shapes our brains as we grow. We learn through play; we can test out scenarios, engage our curiosity, make mistakes, make good stuff, bad stuff … it doesn’t matter as we are playing. And, in turn, learning.

The book speaks about adults who have introduced play back into their lives have found that their lives flourish as a result of it. Do I play enough? Would I mind tidying and cleaning less if I played more?

“Those who played survived, adapted, and developed skills and capacities that their ancestors could never have imagine.”

We learn so much through playing together, inventing the game, setting the rules, arguing about the rules and being the winner or looser. But what about playing alone? You and your mind. You and your imagination. You and your ideas.

“I see that being playful has an important role in every sphere of our lives. As I’ve shown in the previous chapters, we are designed by nature to grow and develop in large part through play… play is what allows us to attain a higher level of existence, new levels of mastery, imagination, and culture.

Play isn’t always easy and you do need a bit of pain to really enjoy the highs. Stuart uses the example of climbing up a hill, it’s slow and hard and makes your legs hurt but when you get to the top the feeling of achievement is great and views are amazing. All that hard work is so worth while. “You have to make it through the discomfort to find the fun. True play is even one step beyond this.”

So I played. And played some more. And a bit more still as I had to develop all these ideas. Each idea formed and developed. And created more ideas that needed to be explored. And playtime became creative time. It put a smile on my face and a spring on my step. I played! And created. And discovered.

What will I do with these images? Well, that’s for another day. I realized that it doesn’t matter really if I know what I am going to do with them. How I will incorporate them into my work. The important thing is that I took the time to play, explore and develop these ideas to see if they could work. And amazingly enough, there seems to be a correlation between these images and work I made some time ago.

I am looking forward to finally finishing this piece. The free-motion quilting needs to be done in about 1/3 of it. I worked on it a few years back and did not like it so I took most of it out. Now it needs to be re-quilted and finished. It’s time for this piece to make its way into the world. I’m excited!

I can tell you what I HAVE done, though … I have set up a PowerPoint Demo for these new techniques. The date? Saturday June 25th at 10:00 a.m. Mountain. A 3 hour demo where I’ll share my screen and show you how to blend and merge your own images. And so much more. With it, you will receive a 50+ workbook to download and keep with step by step instructions and screen shots. Care to join me? Click here to register. Space is limited.

I hope you will find time in your day to play. At whatever it might be: gardening, art, cooking, walking your dog … Thanks for reading. Until I write again, keep playing …


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One Comment

  1. Dearest Ana,
    Your motivational posts are extremely helpful, brilliant thoughts that keep me on track. I get excited every time I see a new one pop up in my email. Many thanks for taking time out of your day for us.
    Cheers- Deb from NS

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