The 'Painting Play'  

has been developed by Arno Stern because of universal discoveries he made when introducing free painting as a way of occupying young orphans in France after World War II.
Throughout his life - up to this day - he studied and researched the effects of the 'Painting Play' on the participants of his 'Closlieu' as well on people from genuine tribes and nomads around the world.

Look also here: biography of Arno Stern 

The 'Painting Play' is taking place in this characteristically cocoon-like room, the 'Closlieu' (french, 'clos' = closed, 'lieu' = space/room), protective like a womb for 'the revival and expression of playfulness through painting".
Arno Stern


A further essential element - besides the closed walls, which provide a feeling of safety and timelessness - is the strict and reliable structure of the 'painting play': regular weekly attendance for a longer period of time (preferably one year), the necessary rules (of the game) to provide a framework and care for the , the fact that every participant gets 'served' during this play and most importantly the attitude of being non-judgmental towards the paintings which after all will remain in the 'Closlieu' to prevent critical comments or any dependency on outer authorities.


To get to an even deeper understanding of Arno Stern's realizations around painting in a 'Closlieu' we regularly offer information evenings and individual appointments. may as well continue to read here:

As the term the 'Painting Play' indicates it is not about teaching art techniques, nor is it any kind of Art-Therapy or 'Expressive-Painting'. It is about providing the necessary elements by which every participant will be enabled to playfully follow his/her own impulses, which Arno Stern calls the 'natural trace'.
This leads to trust and confidence into one's own abilities so that contentment thrives naturally. We become free from outer evaluation and stay autonomous in our judgement and generate happiness from within.


"This place allows us to renounce reason, to which we all have been dearly educated. Being unreasonable during painting in the 'Closlieu' can never be dangerous because it is taking place among other participants and the serving person, who is present of mind at all times. Moreover this particular play is limited by time and place- in the end the person returns from his unreasonable journey back to the real world, just as it happens after a concert or a (stage)play."
Arno Stern

"The framework is given by a couple of rules and regulations regarding the handling of the materials, so that care and thoughtfulness are practiced in order to guarantee each player a free flowing (painting) process".
Arno Stern


The 'Play of Painting' ideally can be described as a flow from the inside outwards! It is not happening by coincidence nor as a wild expression, even if it is not reigned by reason. The forms and figures of this expression are results of an inner drive, which impose themselves to him, who freed himself of concepts and conditionings and start to appear, once he has liberated the extaordinary, which is hidden inside".
Arno Stern, freely translated by Malort Kreuzberg-Neukölln


Yet those acquired concepts and conditionings are inhibiting already most of our children, by being confronted with learning Art Techniques when entering Kindergarden and School. By being taught, corrected, questioned or criticized - even if meant in the best of intentions - the child will compromise its own impulses and adapt solely to outer expectations and evaluation.


"You do not ask a rose
Why she, if she, how she.
That's how an ignorant (person) asks a painter
why he, if he, how he."

Can't be translated exactly. An old saying of artists

In the Closlieu "a space opens up for a different expression. A space in which a (different) trace may pour out of the depth of the person onto to paper. What a happening when it is about the happening, the experience and not about the result, the product!"
Arno Stern


Humans follow their creative impulses und painting is one expression of them. The painting person will experience herself inevitably as a creator, not as an imitator.


To make it clear and avoid misunderstanding - we do not have any reservations against the Fine Arts! The 'Painting Play' isn't contradictory to the Fine Arts.


"Leave the Art to the artists
and let the children play.
But by educating them with Arts
the beautiful play is destroyed."
Arno Stern


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