The Story Behind My Slapdash Joy! Series

When I set out to create the Slapdash Joy! series, I had been going through a process of realising what had been getting in the way of my art-making. This was of course also connected to what was interfering in other areas of my life! They’re sort of the same “team” of troubles, but they do have slightly different qualities and strategies for stirring up head-shit. Their names are:

  • perfection
  • preciousness
  • fussing
  • making everything important
  • overthinking

I wanted to work on a series that would be a way of standing against all that crap. And I wanted the process of art-making itself to support me to practice that stance.

The creative process of Slapdash Joy!

I’ve learned so much from Carla Sonheim about the way that constraints can get you unstuck by reducing the friction and overwhelm of decision-making. So I gave myself constraints that were all about kicking the head-shit, perfectionism, vision loss grief (I lost 80% of my vision in 2013), preciousness, fussing and overthinking out the door:

  1. Create 12 backgrounds, working on them all at the same time.
  2. Multiple layers were allowed for the backgrounds, but I gave myself a time limit of 2mins per layer, and remember rule 1! So I had to work quickly. No careful decision making or placement. Work fast and easy. And no fussing over individual pieces.
  3. Draw dancing figures in charcoal, spending no more than 10 seconds per figure!

Just as I’d hoped, these constraints made it impossible to fuss. I had to work quickly, so there was no time for perfectionism to get in the way!

The meaning behind the title, “Slapdash Joy”

As a very young child, often when I did my homework, my mother would sit next to me to “help.” She was very supportive and encouraging of both my school work and my creative pursuits. She is also a very neat person who likes everything to look very orderly and tidy. I have a strong memory of her always saying, “Don’t be so slapdash” when I worked too quickly and my handwriting or colouring was untidy.

The dictionary says that slapdash means “slipshod, haphazard, done hurriedly or carelessly.”

Of course, I appreciate the privilege of having a mom who is involved and supportive. But the thing is, while there’s value in being slow, deliberate, careful, and observant for some things, I was in the place in my life where I really wanted to claim the value and delight in being SLAPDASH!

And that’s how this series came to be called “Slapdash Joy!” It’s all about celebrating the joy of impulsivity. Moving quickly, even though you haven’t got it all worked out. Opening up the throttle. Feeling and doing, without much thinking, planning, or controlling. I was so pleased to feel this way while I created my Slapdash Joy! pieces, and I love that just looking at these pieces takes me right back to that open, free, and joyful feeling.

I hope you can feel it too.

Want to affirm some Slapdash Joy! in your life?

Enjoy the full Slapdash Joy! series, available to purchase as Fine Art Prints for your home.