Flying diagonally across Australia on my way to India revealed some harshly beautiful landscapes, many of them quite abstract in their other-worldliness. I wasn't in the best position to take photos, the plane's window acting like a slightly blurry filter, but I wanted to share my intrigue anyway. Some of the land forms I as able to identify, but many jut remain enigmas of the never-never. The biggest treasure- seeing the Aussie icon Ayers Rock from the sky! I cross-checked with maps later to find that those places that seemed so abstract and wondrous from altitude 10,000m do in fact exist, with names and eco-systems and history to their credit. This country remains fascinating from any possible angle. Enjoy!
You're not the only one to wish you could make art but too scared to try! Many people are just as scared, but if you think about it...what's the worst that can happen? It could be a little messy...it could even be...fun! Here is an exhilaratingly easy project that will help restore your faith in your artistic abilities.
Be openminded! If something unexpected happens, go with it, you may discover your own unique approach. Please let me know if you take the plunge and how your attempt goes.
Any poster paint or acrylic, basic colours like red, yellow, green, blue black and white
take-away coffee cups (dollar store)
wooden stirrers (free from your friendly neighbourhood coffee shop)
3 to 5 black plastic caps from empty markers *
a small canvas (mine was 20x20cm)
teaspoon or dropper
glass of water
two sheets of white A3 paper
Carefully glue the caps onto the canvas in a roughly circular shape. You don't want thick blobs of glue sticking out the sides, this is the only part where you need to take a little care. This will just keeps the caps from falling over into the wet paint.
* if you don't have empty markers, short pieces of wooden dowel will also work, just paint it black in advance.
Prepare your work surface. Cover with newspaper and a sheet of white paper, place canvas on top. Place the second piece of paper on a tray for later.
Now you can start mixing up a range of pretty colours: pour about about two tablespoons of each colour into a cup and combine colours in separate cups to mix more shades: red and yellow for orange, red and blue for purple, blue and yellow for green. Maybe you already have green, then you'll probably make a brand new green of your own, which is great! Then mix pastels in different cups by adding white, until you have about twelve colours and feel happy with your pallette. (You can make different purples by changing the red/blue/white ratio, and in the same way different oranges and greens)
The paint needs to be thin enough to pour and flow, but not so watery and thin that the colours mix together freely, so we'll add a bit of water to each cup with a teaspoon or dropper and mix in well until it is a creamy consistency. This will depend a lot on the type of paint you're using, but don't fear! Really thick acrylics may need a little more water and if you're lucky enough to have flow acrylics you may not need any water at all. The ratio for poster paint is roughly 3:1 paint to water. Remember to mix up some black too!
Now the fun begins. Starting with black, pour your colours in any order that you prefer into the centre of the canvas, allowing it to spread slowly. I liked pouring the colours in more-or-less rainbow order. Adding more paint in the centre will help move the previous layers away from the middle. When it starts flowing around the caps, the pattern starts changing and the magic really starts! Don't worry if the paint runs off the sides of the canvas, your white paper will catch it and become another artwork. If the paint runs to one side too much to your liking, you can prop up that side of the canvas a little by pushing a toothpick in between the paper and the canvas to level the surface. Keep adding paint until you are happy with the effect, and try to leave the corners of the canvas 'unpainted' for contrasting texture and to make it easier to move the canvas. But don't worry if the paint takes over. Remember, it will keep moving a bit after you stop pouring. Don't try to control it too much, let the flow do the work!
When you are done, place four straws on the second piece of paper on the tray to transfer the wet canvas to. Carefully take the canvas by the corners and keeping it level, move it onto the paper with the straws, each corner resting on a straw to let the canvas dry without the paint sticking to the paper. Leave undisturbed to dry. This can take up to a week depending on the paint and climate, but don't let this put you off! When dry, you'll have a beautiful artwork to your name, and two more papers with run-off paint patterns that you can cut up to make pretty rainbow-coloured cards.
PS. You don't have to remove the caps, they should have lodged quite well into the dried paint.
Yellow wattle with your sun-filled powder-puffs
despised on strange shores where you mercilessly mutate
and suck dry precious soils
celebrated on coats of arms
bright and singular amongst the eucalypts
bringer of spring
first of all the plants to show:
warmer days are coming!
I found these beautiful pieces of silver cutlery in an antiques shop over the weekend, and what unique bangles they made! My metalworking tools came in very handy, but I might have to make some smaller bending forks and maybe invest in a jewellers' anvil for this more delicate work. Lots more ideas buzzing in my head...watch this space!
I always feel a little sad when something has reached the end of it useful life.
A house, a car, a piece of clothing...al started out as a dream, a plan, and it was once brand new.
Maybe it is my Calvinistic roots, maybe it is an inherent capacity to look for creative opportunities.
But however, a down pillow has a nostalgy to me, a feeling of homely comfort and memories of the 'old' days.
I have an old one that was, without me having any idea of what else to do with it,
about to get binned when I decided to at least try to revive it.
Making another pillow with the stuffing would have been too messy, as the fluff was already coming out and going everywhere. So it had to stay intact. I did consider giving it to the boys to go have a real pillow fight in the park and destroy it properly, while having the added benefit of making a big mess, but that might be the last resort if this didn't work.
I traced the design on with a pencil and after painting two layers of acrylic paint, it
has evaded the dump and will now be allowed to offer some decoration to a teenager's
bedroom. The great thing about the acrylic is that it sealed the fabric quite well,
stopping the endless fluff from sticking through. I just found another old pillow that is about to expire, maybe it will become a Beetle partner in the Volkswagen family.
I found these beautiful Corinthian pillar tops for free on Gumtree this week. Not only is this a great find that will, with a sudden idea and a few licks of paint, become something useful in its new life, but I met a new friend with inspiring Aussie childhood farm stories and a shared love for God, fixing things and the simple pleasures in life.
I keep on being amazed at how generous the world becomes when we allow ourselves to start exploring the fast untapped creative capacity built into us!
Nothing happens by chance, there is beautifully unique design and purpose and potential in us and all around us, and it shows!
Take a small creative step today, pleasant surprises are sure to follow!
Pics will follow when the remake has been done **
Here is a first pic, more to follow...
Today's treasures...funky textures and colours on alley doors as I was hunting down a particular art material, time-travelling at a charming old cottage in Gold Creek just before a staff meeting, and a fresh young Amanita Muscaria mushroom in the city on the way to the orthodontist with my daughter.
Beauty is all around...if we're only willing to stop for a moment and observe. If life seems a little dull, it may be that we need to really look again.