I am not very good at playing. It is not something that comes naturally to me. I have been working on pictures of rocks and of dry-stone walls all term in my art class but am missing something in my slavish copying. My tutor sat me down for a demonstration of different techniques yesterday: wax resist, oil pastels, ink, wet-in-wet, drawing with the paint brush. She encouraged me just to play around. It makes me nervous. I can look at the paper and grasp that is is a single sheet, worth perhaps 20p. It doesn't take much paint. It is one afternoon, time for myself, away from the children, and I don't need to achieve anything. But I still feel that I can't do it. I still feel that I'm going to mess up. With the courage it would take to jump off a diving board, I persuaded myself to try everything she had shown me, to work my way across and down the page, a few rocks at a time, deliberately playing with each method. Some worked, some didn't. Some were fun, some weren't. By the time I reached the bottom left of the sheet, I was pleased with what I had done. I worked back in to a lot of it, covering over what didn't look so good and using the styles that were expressing what I wanted. Taking away the pressure of producing something, seeing it as an exercise in playing, in experimentation, freed me to paint and to let go.