What if artists spent a whole day just playing now and then? Well, some of us do! Lucky me, I was invited to Abigail Anderson-Shine’s beautiful home and studio in Madera yesterday, for just such a day.

Abigail, Lonnie Flowers (from Visalia) and I just played from morning till late afternoon, with a delicious lunch in the middle of the day.

By MY definition, “Just Playing” involves doing a “project” that you have no idea what you are doing when you begin. You just begin. In a well-stocked studio, finding things to work with was NO problem at all. The three of us each began by choosing one or more old cigar boxes that we found appealing in terms of size, shape or construction. Then we started embellishing them.

 I chose 2 with tops that opened upwards, with 

open fronts. They looked like little tiny theater stages. I covered my first little box with colorful papers, added tassels and a handle made of small blocks. In this photo it is drying.
Lonnie chose a very flat, square, wooden box and Abigail selected 3 square-ish wooden boxes that were all alike. We all worked on the boxes in the beautiful, peacful setting.
Lonnie working on her first box

“Men”, complete with a Surgeon General’s warning!
Lonnie’s second box–looking down into it
at the arrangement of shapes she decided upon
Abigail’s 3 boxes, glued together, being embellished. . . .
Right side up

From another angle

My first little box, labelled “What If?” and topped with a bird

We all agreed at the end of the day that we’d had a great time working on the boxes and that we’d finish them and share the results with each other. Every now and then, the best thing an artist can do is “just play” with artist friends in a non-threatening environment. What if we all did it more often than we normally do?