Art as Play

What do you do in your free time when you’re an artist? Well, more art of course!

When I was still working at my day job, I often wondered, what will I do with my free time once I’m doing art during my work time? Obviously liking to make things is really a life-encompassing personality trait, not just a work interest, but I did wonder how it would all shake down. Could I get sick of art-making? Could I need to take a break?

So far, the answers are: no, I do not get sick of art-making, but yes, I do need to take a break from my art business. But that doesn’t mean I won’t want to make other things.

At the end of last week, I found myself itching to get my hands dirty. My pen and ink drawing is the opposite of messy, so sometimes I find myself wanting to mush wet media around. I decided that I wanted to make something with surface texture, something more three-dimensional. The first medium that came to my mind was grout—you know, that sort of smearable, cement-like medium used in between tiles, and often for mosaics.

So this past Saturday I took a trip to one of my favorite art supply stores, otherwise known as the hardware store, and found myself a bag of grout. I already had some old paintings that I was ready to paint over (I had finally faced the reality that I would never finish them), so a $7 bag of grout, a little water, and some old paintings to use as surfaces, and I was off and running in the lovely Fall sunshine of my backyard. Here is what came out of this adventure:


I ended up doing two pieces so far. I smeared the grout on with a paint stick and my hands and then started “texturizing” with a small piece of wire mesh I found in my collage box.

Here are some closeups of the two pieces:



Oh, what fun to create without any intention of getting anywhere—to just put your hands in and go. To lose yourself in the process. To act like a little kid and get dirty. I suppose I’m not getting too far away from my Blue Bicicletta tendencies because I don’t intend to add color—I love the white. I’m hoping to do a few more pieces like this and maybe hang them somewhere in the house, just for something a bit different.

This creative feeling continued for me later on Saturday night with another more easily accessible project (and one you might want to do if you’re looking for a fun and easy way to get creative). Last week, I read this post on a blog I love called Ink on My Fingers, and the subject of the post, an amazingly creative woman named Gwen Bell mentions making vision maps on her blog, which reminded me how much fun it is.

I’m not an expert, but as I understand it, a vision map or board is basically a collage—you go through magazines pulling any images that call out to you, then you make a collage out of them, and then you look at the collage and use it as a tool to see what you value in life and where you want to go. Even without the philosophical analysis part, this is a REALLY FUN thing to do. I love collage—it’s just so creative, accessible, and fulfilling. I highly encourage it—and all you need is some magazines, some piece of heavy paper or board, a pair of scissors, and some glue (I’m a fan of mod podge). Here’s the vision board/collage I made. Please note, all of these images were torn from magazines, so I can’t claim credit for them.



I call this collage “Zest” for obvious reasons. It is now hanging on my office/studio wall to delight and inspire me. If I did decide to analyze this as a vision board, I would say that it shows that I’m looking to lead a passionate, playful, creative life [bright oranges, reds, and yellows, the lightening strike, laughing woman, lots of art and illustration in the collage, the word “zest”] with an ample dose of calm and slowness [the bicycles, (surprise, surprise), natural elements, the bedroom].

I wanted to share these projects with you because taking time to be creative can be such a breath of fresh air. It gets your mind out of the old ruts and opens it up. When you’re making something that is actively engaging your creative brain, you are right there, in that moment, in that project, and it is a wonderful free feeling. I think this is really true for everyone who is willing, whether or not you think of yourself as creative or artistic. Once you let go of expectations, or the judgmental ideas like “I’m not creative,” and just go with it, being creative will take you to a new place.

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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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