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Rediscovering your 'Inner Child'

Defining Practice, Newlyn Art School

Who is this 'Inner Child'? Well we all have one - remember it that kid who played in dirt and mud and caused havoc with poster paints, felt tip pens and crayons!!!!! Accessing this sense of freedom is fundamental to year long course I am now attending at the fabulous Newlyn Art School. 'Defining Practice' is a mentoring programme aimed at artists who wish to gain a stronger sense of their own artistic voice. Over six intensive weekends the group will experiment with an assortment of methods, media and processes to find process most suited to the production of their own work.

'Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.'


Unbelievably the great man spent a life time trying to find his own inner child.

So how did the weekend go?

Firstly it amazes me the positive energy created by getting a group of artists together. That is the over-riding memory I will take with me of the weekend. Our tutors encouraged us to think outside the box. To move out of our artistic comfort zones and embrace 'play'. That's harder than you think!!

With the contents of a studio classroom at our disposal we were let loose to play with the paint, inks and pastels creating abstract images that materialized without conscious thought but rather using emotional responses to the day. Our tutors encouraged experimentation with a devil may care attitude!! All very gratifying if not a little challenging for someone whose approach has been much more traditional.

Day 2 became a day of defining what we had produced the day before looking to our efforts in terms of potential ideas, forms, colours and composition with the aim of producing a 'book' which could be taken home and explored at a later date.

I was amazed to see that overnight my splodges and splatters had formed into two sets of ideas. I had produced two completely diverse colour palettes - one softly 'feminine' if somewhat exotic and the other clinical in its use of colour and line? Cropping and cutting of the more rigid blue/brown/white palette produced a number of works suggesting horizons, of man's instinct to conquer all. However, the inclusion of scale a perspective goes on to suggest man is but a pin point in the scale of the universe. All very deep for a Sunday morning....

Whereas the softer palette with its suggestion of the feminine encouraged a more organic approach and I subconsciously found myself creating spirals and curved egg shapes and organic solid forms.

The positive energy in the room on day 2 was phenomenal. The work produced by the group was extraordinary and for many of us completely different to our usual compositions. The single most important impact on me throughout the day was succumbing to instinct rather than artistic comfort. As a consequence I created two work books that may (or may not) become the essence of a single or multiple pieces of future art. Either way it was a fantastic journey getting to know that 'inner child' a little better.

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