“You can’t use up creativity, the more you use the more you have.” — Maya Angelou
I was in my garage art studio looking at a thin piece of 30×36” Masonite board that is sitting in the corner. I had just finished a repurposing project using up some of the old baseboards. The outdoor planter I created was almost finished and required a little bit of painter’s caulking and a last touch of paint.
Several cans of “oops” paint were sitting on my work surface. I buy this paint from my local home improvement store when they make mistakes or receive returns they can’t resell. They mark down the cans to $2 a quart. It’s a joy to scoop these up when they have vibrant, glossy acrylic paint. Glossy paint is a great choice to use in various recycling projects. I’ve also discovered acrylic house paint can work as an art medium.
An Unexpected Medium Offers an Idea
Recently, I attended an art show and noticed how the textured surface of one of the artist’s collections stood out. I loved the three-dimensional nature of the build-up but the price of the medium they used to get the effect was too expensive for my budget. I thought about the tube of paintable caulking I already had in the caulk gun ready to go. Why not try an experiment? I wondered if this inexpensive construction medium might work to create the build-up I was seeking.
I had the Masonite board surface, the paint, and now a possible build-up medium. I pulled out my saw horses for an additional work table, filled a jar with water to wet my finger to smooth out the caulking, and started my experiment.
Play Day One
The first step was to lay down the caulking and figure out how to build up the surface. I had no idea what I wanted to create so I just started playing.
In the introduction to Basic Graphic Design Element Series, we learn that doodles are some of the first noticeable designs. So that’s where I started.
First, I laid down a thin skim coat. Next, I created a doodle pattern on top. I noticed how the caulk was a bit too puffy and had some lingering trails. A wet finger did the trick to smooth out the painter’s caulk and smush down where needed.
I let it dry overnight and began to imagine the next step.
Play Day Two
After the caulking had dried, it was time to begin playing with my “oops” paint. I applied a wash over the entire piece and noticed how when painted the dried texture had a quality like a very old plaster or stucco painting. What an exciting result!
At times when I create art, I tend to vacillate between trying to be too exact and detailed or being messy and playful. Doodles don’t lend themselves to being too precise so this piece needed to reflect how imperfections can be intentional results. The patterns began to resemble mandala art. It made me think how people’s faces and bodies are quite asymmetrical and and yet we are all unique and perfect. Most mandala art is uniform, but this one was designed to celebrate how we are all unique.
Choosing a Color Palette
I chose muted but complementary colors to create harmony and add to the aged, rustic appearance.
As I applied the paint to the doodles, it began to build depth and the piece was coming to life. The playfulness in the imperfections appeared natural and fun. It was obvious when the painting was finished and ready for a frame.
It was exciting to try an experimental piece and find a new technique for future artistic explorations. For the next painting, I would like to use one of the many blank canvases sitting there waiting for my next creative idea.
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