process of play

penelope dullaghan - play process

I've always believed that really good work comes out of continually playing. Just sitting down to do the work as often as you can because one idea leads to another and you never know where you'll end up. It's the process of playing that produces ideas.

A few weeks ago I ran across this quote by Chuck Close that says it more clearly:

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” ~ Chuck Close

I've been seeing this in my own progression lately. In the last few months (with Veda in school now) I've had more time to explore - intentionally sitting regularly to work. I've started working on (playing with) a series of patterns. I've been painting just for fun - watching that evolve has been fun. And through all that work (play) my illustration has changed. As I follow the process of play, new ideas appear.

I thought this was a fun little progression of images to show how play has affected my work:

One of the abstract paintings I started exploring:

penelope dullaghan - play leads to inspiration

An illustration for Panera sprouted from that work:

penelope dullaghan - play leads to inspiration

Out of that came the idea for pattern-making:

penelope dullaghan - play leads to inspiration

Pattern-making led me to start using bits of pattern, representational and abstract elements in my paintings based on my walks by the river:

penelope dullaghan - play leads to inspiration

And then those elements also start showing up in my recent illustration for Spirituality&Health:

penelope dullaghan - play leads to inspiration

I think I'll keep playing and see what idea is next...