Play Around with Dirt


Dirt 2002

This is a favorite go to, for me: play around with dirt. Besides the metaphor as wildly inspiring, dirt offers our inner-artist much guidance.

Step outside, place your hands in the first patch of dirt or mud that you locate. Smother as much of your skin into the mud. Paint a portion of your body. Consider jumping up and down in muddy puddles, as my daughter and Peppa Pig have invited me to do. The celebratory energy has a twofold effect: 1, you are stirring circulation needed for creative focus; and 2, it brings an inherent appreciation to something too often thought of as a problem spot in the world. “Watch out for the muddy puddle. You don’t want to get messy,” sounds different to me than, “Look for muddy puddles to jump in. Let’s have some fun!

One of my favorite creations arrived one sullen afternoon. I was depressed (triggered by a grieving coming-of-age-self-absorbed heart), and moodiness oozed over my plate of life. I walked into my parents’ backyard and smeared dirt over an old canvas. Then, I dusted the dirt with a coat of paint. It remains a piece of abstract wall art of which I am most proud. Go on. If you read this far, make your own masterpiece with dirt.

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