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Stay in the Lines

I’ve recently returned from holiday to Egypt with 13 members of my family. It was lovely.

One day by the poolside my youngest daughter (4) and my niece (4) were colouring.

Now to add some context my youngest is extremely creative, as of course is my niece, however, whilst my niece and my other daughter (7) spent most of the holiday throwing themselves into the pool my youngest would sit with her lego in the shade and create little worlds she’d come up with.

Anyway, whilst Florence (my daughter) can colour ‘in the lines’ today she decided to scribble and poke holes in her piece. My niece was mortified by this and told her to stop scribbling and stay in the lines – you have to love conversations of 4-year-olds.

I had a little chuckle and told her she was being expressive.

My sister explained that she encouraged her to stay in the lines.

It got me thinking…..

Should we ‘stay in the lines’

Should we ‘paint a certain way’

Should we ‘follow one particular path’

My answer is no! there are so many different approaches to being creative and it’s about figuring out what works for you.

I’ve had students join my classes who have been told (as adults) that’s wrong! All this does is discourage someone. Now I’m by no means referring to my sister’s suggestion to stay in the lines. To her this is how it should be done, however, as an artist, I encourage a freer approach to creating art. Again we all have different views on things.

Have you ever been told in the past either at school or maybe as an adult that you are doing something creatively wrong? I can imagine it knocks your confidence somewhat.

So here is my tip for today. You are not wrong, you are simply exploring a path which for you may or may not be the right one.

If you don’t try different approaches through fear of ‘getting it wrong’ you will never develop as an artist. It’s in trying many different ways that we truly find what works for us.

I very much encourage my students to develop their artistic voices and never try and lead them down one way of doing something.

I’m not trying to create clones of myself. Everyone is unique and individual. I merely provide the tools and approaches to equip them to find their inner artist.

Be carefree next time you paint, you may just surprise yourself with what comes out.

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