So one thing that I find I am constantly saying is, “Sometimes art is messy.” In our culture we tend to have a fear of mess. This fear can act as an inhibitor to our creativity. We tell our children, “Don’t make a mess.” We tell ourselves, “I can’t do that it is too messy.” Sometimes though it is good to embrace the mess, to let it in. When we let go of all that control we can begin to feel free to be creative. In my last post I wrote about sensory art play for infants and toddlers. It is probably the messiest class that I lead. It is a ton of fun. In order to enjoy it though one must let go of the need to be tidy. It is a pretty easy sell for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, It is somewhat acceptable for very young kids to get messy. They after all are messy with pretty much everything they do! It is a much more difficult sell for older children, and even more difficult for adults. My argument though is that there is a time and a place for being messy, and that it can be quite freeing to our creative nature to allow ourselves and our children to embrace the creative mess on occasion. After all, “Sometimes Art Is Messy!”
Some of my favorite projects are the result of messy art. Once you let go and embrace the process of messy art, some really cool things can happen. For me this is where art meets mindfulness.
- You get in the flow. You become in tune with the moment.
- You let go of a need for control. You let the process unfold.
- You have fun. When you are not so worried about controlling the art, you are able to just enjoy it.
Fluid Acrylic Art
Fluid acrylic or ink pours like the one in the video above are a perfect example of letting go and embracing the process. This is a very messy technique and it is quite difficult to control the outcome, but if you can embrace the mess and let go of your need to control it then you begin to realize just how interesting and enjoyable it is to watch paint move! Sometimes you love the finished painting, and sometimes you don’t. Not all art is meant for a gallery wall or even the refrigerator. I find this method of creating to be quite therapeutic. For me it allows me to become present in the moment. It gives me a reset and a change in mindset and attitude.
A favorite messy art project of mine is string painting. I have done this project with preschoolers, school age children, and adults. This method is always fun, always messy, and always satisfying! I love how they turn out. They remind me of my favorite flowers, the calla lily.
Shaving Cream Marbling
Who does not love playing with shaving cream, right? It has a pleasant scent, and fluffy texture, and best of all it is so much fun to use as a marbling medium. Once you have marbled your papers you can use them in so many ways. They can become collage papers for future projects or backgrounds for more detailed paintings, or even journal pages.
Scrape painting is a favorite of mine for younger kids. I use this a lot for preschoolers and elementary age children. It is a great way to explore color mixing. It is quite messy but I love how these turn out! I could see adults having fun with this as well, I sure do!
I have written about blow painting before here. It is a super fun messy art project that is worth mentioning again. It is absolutely something that you have to let go of expectations and control to be able to enjoy. Young kids are really good at that. Older kids and us adults, well sometimes we need a bit of help in that area. I typically do these types of projects with preschool and elementary age children. Sometimes we turn our splatters into more “refined” art such as paint monsters or flowers. With adults I mostly have done blown paint with alcohol inks, but the idea is the same and te results are similar!
I hope that you and the kiddos in your life will try out some of these fun messy at projects at some point. Yes they are very messy, but the mess is worth the experience.
A fun little bit of info: The name of this blog Art-Breaks, came from some of my experiences with messy art! Last year, when I still had my art studio, my friend used to pop in on her lunch break for art time. We made some huge messes during these short little art breaks. We experimented with acrylic pours, and string art mostly. Several of the photos above are from those little breaks. I wish we were still able to do them. I miss it so much. Anyway these little breaks were so important to me that I named this blog after them!
Feel free to leave a comment, question, or little story about your experiences with messy art!