Learning through play

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I got a set of water-mixable oil paints for Christmas. I’m in the process of learning to paint with them. After my first session, I realized I really did need to purchase the painting medium (to thin paint when it was too thick—water works but it makes the paint sticky instead of easy-flowing). Last weekend, with that medium finally at hand, I decided to do some more exploring.

I dutifully read the colour mixing instructions in the oil painting book I had bought but instead of reassuring me, they left me feeling completely overwhelmed (especially since the instructions assume 13 colours; I have only four plus white). However I did follow directions to the extent I could and ended up with all these columns of colours blended from light to dark.

Now what? As I stared at what I’d done, suddenly stockings emerged. So instead of tackling the next set of instructions with my usual OCD-ness, I tossed the book aside and decided to play. That’s when the fun began.

Play with water-mixable oil paints, swatches of colour turn into stockings – VNesdoly

In the process of turning my canvas pad sheet of colour swatches into stockings and other objects, I also learned a lot about colour mixing (the object of the lesson) as well as mark-making and—and a big bonus—got to be better friends with my paints.

How do you learn a new skill? Is play part of your process? After seeing how it improved my attitude and learning last week, I’m going to try to incorporate it more often.

2 thoughts on “Learning through play”

  1. What a fun project to play with and it has turned out so well. It is very playful and using so many blends of colors. Good for you. My play often happens in the head as I daydream putting scenes or colors or ideas together – sometimes jotting them down for later use. This is and can be used at a later date for my paintings (in acrylics) or in my writing…as little bits of paper are left laying about the house. Keep playing Violet as it has served you well.


    1. Thank you so much, Valerie! I know what you mean about things happening first in one’s head! It’s also really nice when intuition and inspiration take over. Keep that brush going, my frend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.