activity in expressing myself

I’ve had a wonderful five weeks of painting lessons, just being creative and arty – a simply delightful activity in expressing myself with tempra colours.

Despite the growing cold weather, and a new country to navigate (I am here as a visitor to this wonderful country of Canada), the warmth of the welcome by Arthur and fellow students has been a complete blessing; plus, I had some serious painting pleasure – oh yes, I’ve had fun! .

I have not painted since I was just a young kid, so a lo-o-o-ng break of decades has passed. I love creating, and, the appeal of the name of ‘Reckless Painting’ brought out the rebel in me (!!). The funny thing was, this was a class that despite its name, simply and beautifully meant I could just ‘be’. I could paint what came out of my head and heart, no matter my mood, and there was no ‘judgement’… simply, acceptance.

Each week, being amongst other students of differing ages and from all walks of life, we chatted together sharing (or not!) our current life’s challenges and joys, beginning the lesson with ‘free-thinking’ painting – the first 15 minutes with no boundaries – just playing like kids, dabbling with colour onto cardboard that built each week into a thick medley of creative layering.

The structured side of ‘reckless’ was, gentle but firm guidance… actives that led us to express ourselves however we could, within Arthur’s gainful activities. Often we would start a piece on our own, then rotate around the table, adding our painting energy to each person’s piece. Sometimes we would complete a picture by ourselves. But never were we curbed or told how to express ourselves – just given ideas to follow and dabble with. I loved the lack of ‘rules’, and appreciated the wisdoms of Arthur’s 20 years of experience facilitating this class. When we were given activities that meant having to work on another person’s work, lo and behold, the most wonderful paintings happened – every single time – this always happened!

Every week was different with what we were guided to do. I think my favourite time was, painting left-handed with a blind-fold on – we each painted one picture without a eye covering using our right hand; then, we set out to duplicate it with a partner guiding us, whilst using the opposite hand and a blind fold. The finished paintings were ‘free-er’, and gorgeous… so many wonderful expressions, without our personal criticisms getting in the way. I also loved the final lesson – painting a full-length male/female. In groups, we began one of the two genders; then added to each others paintings…. and… its just amazing what happened: two glorious pictures, each different, bold, gendered, magnificent in simplicity, without pretence – the paintings flowed effortlessly.

Just loved this course of lessons… this was good medicine therapy…. and, I met very good people there as well. Thank you Arthur!

Love & Respect, Jaya Khoobsurat.

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Autumn 2017

We are back for another session – September to November 2017

A bit of a sampler from the first class….

 

 

 

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Winter 2017

Some treasures [….and that is NOT a compliment :-] from the last session.

These examples are from the 5th and 3rd session.

Image Image 1 Image 2 Image 3
Image 8 Image 4 Image 10Image 9
Image 5
Image 6

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Right now I feel

At the 1st Class of Reckless Painting

That’s the first question I ask the people gathered at a Reckless Painting class to answer – anonymously.
A common response is something like; “shy & inhibited”.

Well, why wouldn’t they! Most of these people have not been in an ‘art’ class for decades! And here they are in a small room with a few other new and novice artists.  How brave of them – and how exciting.white on cardboard

Sometimes I wonder what it feels like at that point – just before we pick up the brushes and start. I hope that people begin to feel decreasingly inhibited as they see the materials in front of us: cardboard claimed from the backs of stores on Commercial Drive, and white paint. Simply white paint to start.

SARK says, “Painting is putting colo(u)rs from your heart on paper. Painting is playing with colour.”
Yet even with one colour there is playing to be done…

Welcome to the first class of Reckless Painting.

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something I wanted to do

I first heard about Reckless Painting

guest blog from Julia Weisser, Montréal, QC

…from my friend Brenda. I was visiting Vancouver and sharing my latest career plan with her: to start a private practice (I’m a social worker) focusing on artists and other creative souls. I also told her how I planned to run workshops with people who wanted to get more in touch with their creative side, whether because they had lost touch with it or had never dared to explore it in the first place. I felt strongly that this was something I wanted to do, although the “how” of making people comfortable enough to embark on such a journey was not clear to me.

That’s when Brenda told me about Arthur Orsini, and about Reckless Painting.

RP mixed face 2013I was immediately both intrigued and very happy to hear that such a person, and such a course, existed. Brenda shared with me how much fun she found the course to be, and that she now did “pizza box art” once a week on her own at home. As someone who used to be intimidated by a blank canvas or a brand new notebook, the idea of painting on cardboard, on someone else’s painting, or blindfolded made a lot of sense. Although I now consider painting to be one of the great pleasures of my life, it took me a long time to work up enough nerve to take my first painting class and to buy my first set of nice brushes. Reckless Painting seems like the perfect bridge between the before and after, between nervousness and accomplished enjoyment. Maybe one day I will be able to bring Reckless Painting to Montréal!

January 26th, 2014

Next course – Sat Feb 22nd

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Merry Christmas – Get Painting!

Know someone who could use some time & space for painting?

Give them the gift of Reckless Painting!

Call up to register your friend, co-worker or family member in need of some creative bolstering and then print out this coupon.

Easy AND creative!

merry christmas 2013

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The Poetics of Spam

Sometimes spam can be fun.

I don’t know who is composing these, but I’ve begun collecting the artistic poetry of the unknown & unwashed: thank you for your picturesque English-speak. All of the following are direct emails – no editing has been attempted.

They make me stop and ponder the many meanings – join me:

Author Articles written very well. Content is very exciting.Although there are many shoes can expose ‘shows the status of the wearer, but the sandals are different. Whether prominent noble, or poor poor; whether innocent girl, or kept woman can wear i…

He that fears you present, will hate you absent…

Your article is here, the feeling of a mere individual can bring in more.Let these people from poles to polesthe world, even in the heart with felicity. We are not solitude….

This article made me effulge. After doing some reading of this article, I impressed a lot. I will pay more attention to your blog. I hope everyone like me hereharvest happy, harvest moved….

This article made me feel shines. After doing some reading of this article, I psychopedagogy a lot. I will focus on your blog. I hope everyone like me herereap happy, bring in moved….

Your article is here, the feeling of a mere individual can bring in more.Let these people from every corner of the world, even in the heart with empathy. We are not odinochestvo….

A work of a harvest,truly because of your troublesome writing, we can feel so much blessedness, learn more our own understanding of their. The world could be so wonderful….

This article is really wally, people do not consciously into the author’s writing situations. I want to present it to more people, so the more the body will be such a wally feeling….

A work of a harvest,exactly because of your hard writing, we can feel so much weal, learn more our own understanding of their. The world could be so beautiful….

This article is really dulcet, a friend gave me a look. I looked, I would like to express the feelings I looked. Others did not feel that I do not mind, at least now I show myself….

If you believeI do not care to set eyes on this article, the next time I am paid more attention to about your article, I think I will never again careless. Do you believe in yourself, you do not know your article can make people so crazy about….

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un-learning the “etiquette” of fine arts

When people ask me what I liked best about Reckless Painting I don’t know where to begin: the people? the compelling instructor? or the immense fun we had?

All of the above.

And what did we learn, they ask?

un-learning the etiquette of fine arts

To me Reckless Painting was not so much about learning (a specific skill) but un-learning the “etiquette” of fine arts instilled by our art teachers since kindergarten. That is not a painless process though- feeling embarrassed or silly is a big part of it.
At first you may think ‘Grown men and women don’t paint on tables as if it were canvas’, but if you let go of the “should’s” and “should not’s” you will see how much you can enjoy this.
The same happened at our warm-up exercise each week, where we painted over last week’s warm-up exercise (usually someone else’s). Initially reluctant to ‘destroy’ somebody’s artwork, it was probably my favourite exercise. It allowed me to just get started, to paint without asking ‘What should I paint today?’.
So, if you want to learn how to use that fancy fan brush your mother gave you for your birthday, this is not the course for you. Everybody else, give it a try and see what it can do for you. I for my part believe that Reckless Painting took away a lot of anxiety and dampened my perfectionism that so often gets in the way.
guest blog by Anna, June 2013
figure painting

figure painting

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she&he

Silent Painting of “She” & “He”

Tonight was the last class of the Spring 2013 Reckless Painting sessions.

figure painting: she - the female

figure painting: she – the female

figure painting: he - the male

figure painting: he – the male

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the usual warm-up on the cardboard ‘canvases’ that we’ve been using since Week 1, the room was re-aligned for the very last activity: She & He.

This is an hour-and-a-half painting exercise done in complete silence (other than the instrumental music…) and it seems to be a zen way to just sink into the painting process (& the painting), let the brushes flow without any comments or suggestions and get-out-of-your-head.

….and I love to just sit back and watch the process…

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choosing paint colours

Don’t be intimidated!

I’ve heard from a lot of new artists that they just don’t know how to navigate themselves through an art store.

…really, what I think they are saying is that they are a bit too embarrassed to ask for help…     They needn’t be.

But in the space and time before a ‘new’ artists feels that they can speak the language of the art store, here are the suggested colours that I’ve been directing people towards for years now.

See the chart below. Starting from the upper Left corner, the most basic colours for a starting palette are listing below. The more you wish to invest, the lower you can continue on the page. Or, you can use the alternates on the Right side of the page. Or, if you want a more-full range to get started on, then fill your basket with the entire sheet.

Did you find this useful? Do you have any different suggestions to offer? Please let me know.

cheers……..

colour palette for Reckless Painting

colour palette …after Reckless Painting

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WalkAround Face

An activity from Reckless Painting for collaborative “art making”.

This activity was also completed using magic markers – at a UBC Adult Education class March 2013);

walkaround face - with magic markers

walkaround face – with magic markers

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Experiencing Creativity Rather than Trying to Create “Art”

Guest blog by Amy Walker

My favourite Reckless Painting moments were when I really felt free to just “keep going” with a painting instead of thinking about what I was trying to do with it. Arthur told us that one difference between the way kids approach painting and the way adults do is that kids don’t tend to get stuck like adults do: “They just keep going.” In this spirit, I tried to keep going, simply enjoying playing with the colours and releasing the need to make it look like something in particular, or even make it look “good.” It felt exhilarating and so much more fun than when I’m concerned with what the final product will look like, and how other people might judge it.

creativity for adults

Amy recklessly painting w/Blindfold

It also helped that in our class Arthur had us all working on each other’s pictures (pieces of cardboard that we painted on). We worked on a different piece each class, so we never became too attached to one painting. We just kept building layer upon layer, collaboratively, but with no plan, just responding and adding to what was there before.

Everyone has experienced creativity. We’ve all felt an energizing, fun, in-the-flow feeling while experimenting with colours, structures, movement, music, symbols or language, and most of us have also known a feeling that is not so fun, when we become self-conscious and critical of what we are creating. Often this is what stops us from taking part in creative activities, “making art,” using our imaginations, or simply playing.

Even though creativity is something we’re all born with, we live in a world that places a lot of emphasis on the aesthetics of the end product and unfortunately that superficial attitude turns a lot of people off – literally!

You could argue that life IS creativity.

So why would we want to be creative other than to try to make something beautiful and breathtaking? Well creativity makes us feel alive. You could argue that life IS creativity. It brings us energy and connects us to ourselves and to each other. We open ourselves up to the universe when we are being creative – we have access to something bigger. You could say that creativity is a form of prayer. A way of participating in the great mystery and saying “Thank You!” to life.

A way to get back into creativity is to have no expectations. Tell yourself it’s going to look /and or sound like a terrible mess when you’re done. Give yourself permission to play and enjoy the process no matter what the result. Reckless Painting provides the situation and materials for this. It seems very simple – and it is in a way – but I felt that the energy I gained and the freedom I felt in the class was of great value and I’d encourage people to give it a try (without expectations) to experience your own creativity – and feel for yourself what I mean!

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Art classes teach adults to:

art classes teach adults to...

art classes teach adults to…

I “liked” an image posted on Facebook the other day*. It was preceded by an intro/caption of: Why Art in Schools Matter. And it continued to describe 18 values that are derived from teaching Art in schools… to children.

Of course, the very same argument could be made that these same values apply to adults.

So, here I go, thinking out loud that participating in ‘Art’ is beneficial to adults – possibly more-so than for children! Art classes help adults to;

  • respect other people’s opinions,
  • open themselves up to dialogue in a way that would not otherwise surface,
  • experiment with more creative materials,
  • observe,
  • find their inner (less-listened to) voice,
  • self-evaluate & self-let-go,
  • make connections through self-reflection,
  • express themselves without censor,
  • learn from their mistakes unexpected creations,
  • share the tasks of cleaning up,
  • reflect on their work,
  • embrace diversity and alternate points-of-view,
  • persevere – even in the early stages when their painting “looks crappy”,
  • have an opinion,
  • appreciate beauty – even in the details of a painting that “looks crappy”,
  • break away from stereotypes,
  • envision solutions & un-reality, and
  • value aesthetics of the paintings they are pleased with, and the paintings that “look crappy”.

Yes. I’m convinced, Art classes teach adults a lot.

If you are over 16 (& live in/near East Van), sign-up for Reckless Painting.

++++++++++++++++++

* Image adapted from FB post entitled: Why Art in Schools Matter by Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

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Development of Creativity – by Letting Go

A recent tweet/re-tweet led me to a very complicated article about creativity.* Luckily, another link led to something a bit more tangible; Development of creativity.

reckless painting set-up

reckless painting set-up

I’ve always had a great interest in “creativity” and how it can sometimes be out of grasp for the average person who might consider taking a Reckless Painting course. So, I read on….

According to this article, there are four categories of creativity: creative process, creative product, creative person and creative environment. Maybe, for the purposes of Reckless Painting, I should add another category: letting go.

For the majority of my “students”, Reckless Painting sessions have aimed to free-up a creative environment so that shy but under-encouraged creative persons might find a creative process unburdened from the creative product that starts to form in their mind.

Taking it step by step;

  1. creative environment: Anyone who says to a friend or a partner, “see ya later, I’m heading out to my Reckless Painting class” is on their way to a creative environment. Even before they arrive, that person has scheduled themselves into 2hrs of painting each week. (Or more.) They have allocated precious time to be in a place where …well, most participants arrive without a very clear sense of what they’ve allocated time for! And that letting go, is a wonderful part of the creative environment which we build from.
  2. creative persons: Each season I open the door for some Reckless Painting without really knowing who will show up. Of course, each participant is there because they would like to either, see more creativity within themselves, or else to re-allocate some time for creativity that has slowly been squeezed out from life, work and relationships. i.e. There is a desire to let go of the day-to-day routine.
  3. creative process: Each of the Reckless Painting exercises aims to suspend expectation so that participants refrain from trying to think about what comes next. I guess that the session where we paint blindfolded is a good representation of this letting go of the process.work @ reckless painting
  4. creative product: There are a few signals to a newcomer that the Reckless Painting classes aren’t about creative products – and that these large sheets of paper and salvaged & flattened cardboard boxes will not end up framed on their living room walls. Even more, with paper stretched across tables, the paintings are a shared process, with a shared result. So, by this time, letting go of the product isn’t really a shock.

Letting go. Maybe that is what I’ve been seeing as a necessary component within the development of Creativity.

Next Reckless Painting course begins Wed. Jan 30th 2013. Are you ready to let go?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* An Autopoietic Systems Theory for Creativity

** Development of creativity as a basic task of the modern educational system

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eightandahalfbyeleven

8 1/2″ x 11″

It seems that standard paper sizes are too much around us.

paper stretched across the entire tabletop

paper stretched across the entire tabletop

Just as the parking and movement of cars shape our buildings and cities, the 8 1/2 by 11 of the printer & photocopier shape the dimension of many workspaces and bookshelves. (A4 outside Canada & the US.)

It can be very limiting; …unless you break open to engage the arm and shoulder. i.e not remaining confined to the movement of an adult, human wrist.

And what the 8-1/2×11 ‘letter-size’ paper is to the pen …or keyboard, the 18×24 ‘cartridge pad’ is to the paintbrush: limiting.

sharing the canvas

sharing the canvas

So over the past few years, I’ve shifted towards rolls of paper for my Reckless Painting classes. And I’ve liked the results.

By covering the entire table with “canvas”, people are able to take up the space that they need. …someone who has had a very full day might need the chance to pull up a chair and focus in, …others might feel inclined to stand back and get their shoulder moving.

Table-tops covered with paper allow that. And, they create spaces in-between that help lead to the next few paintings. The shared canvas also allows for more movement across the table.

The shared – and larger – canvases allocate space and movement with fewer limits than people are used to working up against.

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Winter Solstice gift – 2012

Looking for a Winter Solstice gift for a friend who’s hard to buy for? Why not give them FIVE Wednesdays of Reckless Painting…

Winter Solstice gift 2012

Winter Solstice gift 2012

You can sign your friend or family member who is in need of some reckless painting at Britannia Community Centre in East Vancouver.

Just call them up at 604-718-5800, or go online at (registration for Jan 2013 courses begins on Tues. Dec. 11th) and print out this card to let them know.

…enjoy!

 

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Retrieving Creativity

Workplace Seminar & Social Year-End Wrap Up

When the David C., the Go Green Choices Co-ordinator* for a Vancouver-area municipality arrived on-site for the Work@ Reckless Painting seminar, he wasn’t quite sure what he’d gotten himself into. Go Green Choicesstaff were helping workshop leader Arthur Orsini set up the workspace by laying down tarps and covering tables with newspaper. David looked at a pile of men’s shirts on the chair and paused… “Are we painting?” he asked. You bet!

retrieving creativity for work colleagues

Arthur leading the troops at the most inspirational seminar of the year

Painting is the technique that Arthur uses to help people re-capture their creativity and explore new approaches to situations. Since people are often intimidated by creative or artistic pursuits, like painting, we had not mentioned specifically what exercises the seminar would employ to help people retrieve their creativity. (2012flyer 400KB)

Work-at-Reckless-Painting-2012

Work@ RecklessPainting (2012 flyer)

As Go Green Co-ordinators, we are often confronted with negative reactions to the Transportation Demand Management initiatives we might want to implement.

I can’t carpool / take the bus / ride my bike / walk / etc. to work.

There’s no money for incentives / shower and change facilities / bike racks / preferred vanpool parking, or subsidized transit passes.

…are phrases that Go Green Co-ordinators often hear.

After a while, this negative refrain impacts our motivation level. It is important that when we feel discouraged or unmotivated, for us to re-examine the sources of our inspiration.

Through several painting exercises, Arthur encouraged us to think about the reasons we started doing the type of work we do, in or official jobs, and as Go Green Co-ordinators. Working with a partner, we explained what we had drawn in response to Arthur’s direction, and why.

Building on that exercise, Arthur led us through the next painting exercise in which we were to paint our work-spaces. This was really enlightening – it, and the discussion that followed, helped us focus on what aspects of our workspace nourish us and sustain our momentum. It helped us identify key factors about our workspace from which we draw energy to keep moving forward.

Now that we had the creative juices flowing, and had again connected with our inspiration, we were ready to work collectively. Our next exercise involved partners painting on half of a page, and then matching up the two blank areas, we painted from our partner’s painting back towards our own painting – incorporating and blending elements of both paintings together to find some middle ground.

This is a challenge we face regularly in our daily lives; perhaps even more so as Go Green Co-ordinators as we must work extra hard to meet some people halfway.

The goal of this seminar certainly wasn’t to paint a masterpiece, but participants went home inspired and reconnected to the creative energy in all of us that motivates our work and play!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

* adapted from a newsletter article in BEST’s Go Green Choices Getting to Work, Winter/Spring 2001
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I am here to …get out of my head!

One of the lead-off activities in a Reckless Painting class is to ask a few anonymous questions of participants. As the title suggests, it is worth getting an idea of why these people have signed up.

In this current session, a few people gave a similar response of “getting out of my head“. (Which is a good start!)

We can ‘get out of our head’ when we are faced with the unexpected. And comfortable enough to not worry about getting it right. (What ever getting it right means …within the context of reckless painting.)

We can ‘get out of our head’ when we use only white paint for the first hour or so.

Or when we paint on the table.

And then scrub-clean some new canvases to continue painting…

on someone else’s part of the table.

Actually, there are many ways to ‘get out of our head’ in a painting class.

It seems that the first step is to get out of our home’ and over to an art, music, writing, drama, improv, etc.

It’s great to witness art, but don’t forget to participate.

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please refer to yourself as an ‘artist’

Welcome to Reckless Painting

reckless painting table with brushes and paint

reckless painting table with brushes and paint

  • if you don’t already, please refer to yourself as an ‘artist’
  • “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” Brenda Ueland 1938
  • as often as possible, try not to think about painting while painting
  • seek honesty, but feel no need to explain (except to yourself)
  • be gentle with the brushes
  • none of this will count for your final mark
  • heed your first reaction
  • ‘suitable for framing’ can be intimidating
  • when painting ignore adversity: disliking work in progress can be an important step
  • criticism – be it constructive, helpful or well-meant – is not always helpful
  • ‘untitled’ only works once
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Bring your genius self to painting class

Blurring the crisp edges of your world can help your genius-self achieve greater clarity in work, life and relationships.

Reckless Painting can help by blurring the brain’s expectations through unexpected directions, inspiring u-turns and fun re-adjustments to distract the internal editor.

For generations we’ve been pushing workers to … hide their empathy and their creativity and to pretend that they are fast moving automatons. … [Not only is it] not necessary. …it’s damaging [and it] builds organizations [& job descriptions] that bring no connection and no joy. … The world wants you -needs you- to bring your genius self to work. Seth Godin

Come to Reckless Painting where you can expect;

  • to be at ease with your innovations,
  • to be surprised with what your arms, hands and paintbrushes create,
  • someone else’s paintbrush will land on your painting from time to time,
  • the courage to let go so that you can continue on someone else’s ‘masterpiece’, and
  • to paint-over-the-lines and complete the gaps between paintings.

Relax about not knowing. Your genius-self will know what to do.

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if you can walk…

If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.* If you can hold a brush, you can apply paint to the sheet.

What an interesting saying.

I’ve always believed that it’s addressing the unspoken ‘well’ usually accompanying people’s guarded responses to creative pursuits; i.e. I can’t dance …well. I can’t sing …on key. I can’t paint …beautifully.

It is a very constraining mindset.

Really, what does it matter if a person can’t dance well: why should that stop them? And aside from their own joy and physical activity, isn’t it fun for others to watch/laugh at?

Even though some people might cringe when they hear the voice of someone who does not sing ‘well‘, the process -and results- of painting can be far less invasive on others.

If you give yourself the chance to paint, then you can paint.

Reckless Painting gives non-painters and artists a chance to apply inexpensive paint to inexpensive paper without anxiety of ‘getting it right’. The intent is to paint and enjoy the creative process – not anticipate where-in-your-home you will hang the finished product.

When we quieten the editor, we slow the thinking process. …and then anyone can paint.

It has happened many times before. It will happen again.

++++++++++++++++++++

*Zimbabwean saying

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we paint on each other’s work

People aren’t all that sure what they can expect at a Reckless Painting class – and actually, that’s not a bad thing.

Although a lot of what goes on is designed to distract the mind from ‘general predictability’, one thing participants can be relatively sure of is that they’ll be hanging very few of their paintings on the wall back home

…and not because their paintings won’t be beautiful – but more often than not each piece completed during a session will have been created by more than one person.

In other words, we paint on each other’s work.

After all, it is the process that is more important than the result in Reckless Painting. And each person’s growing ability to recognize their (often latent) creativity, adaptivity and responsiveness.

Inviting people to ‘share a canvas’ is very often a helpful step in that direction.

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