I used to paint about 13 years ago in a very abstract and freeform Jackson Pollock meets Zen kind of way, yet in the last couple of years I’ve been toying with the idea of finger painting for adults as a way of practising mindfulness and getting out of my own head. I discovered finger painting is very sensory experience and felt my whole body getting into it. I hate being delicate and this was a perfect way of being tactile with paint and just ‘playing with it’ without having to be perfect or nice. I’m not out to impress anybody or make a statement, that takes too much energy.
For me the idea is about having no expectation of what I’m going to do with the paint, just see what happens in the moment.
I could imagine that perfectionists would have hard time getting into it, but with a little time they’d be able to experience it for what it was; a chance to let loose and enjoy creative freedom.
In Dying to Know I said “We are born creative; it’s our right to express ourselves in whatever way suits us. Allowing ourselves to be creative prevents us from becoming depressed, tight-arsed whingers thinking the world owes us a living. No-one owes us anything; the only thing we owe ourselves is joy.”
Letting go of perfection and expectation.
Mind you Andy (who is overcoming perfectionist syndrome) still likes to have an idea for when he paints as indicative of his landscape above. So finger painting really is for everyone.
I feel drawn to start finger painting sessions (not classes as there’s nothing to learn, it’s mostly about unlearning) where people can just be free for a couple of hours and let their inner creative beast come out. I could imagine it could be great for anxiety, depression, being in your head too much and letting go of stress. There’s no painting by numbers, no drawing between the lines or even the need to paint anything, it’s all about being in the moment, using your fingers and let them go where they want.
That’s the kind of mental freedom we all could do with.