Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How to create a work of art

Start with a neat dining room. Stand in the doorway and look around you. Take a few deep breaths as you peruse this glorious sight because you realize that this room is about to be altered. It is very likely that this room will not look this neat again until Easter. After all, who really eats in the dining room anymore?

Cover the table that you have owned for more than 15 years with tablecloths and art supplies. Your husband isn't as enamored with the scratches and etches from earlier art projects as you and the children are - and he would rather avoid adding any more marks to the furniture. Whatever...

Choose a few paints in colors you like and drip them onto the 5x7 canvas you have selected for your project. Admire the polka dots. Decide whether or not you have already completed the aforementioned project. Take a photo - just in case this is the best it looks.

Stick your fingers in the paint and mix it up. Feel the cool, slippery slickness. Spread it all the way to the edges - and then panic because you haven't put newspaper beneath the canvas. Quickly, before it spreads across the tablecloth, grab some newspaper. Sit down and take a few deep, calming breathes. Then add more drops of paint. Spread it more. Get it under your fingernails. Spend the next two days admiring the paint under your fingernails. You are an artist!

Follow Leonie's advice. Go for a walk. Collect stuff. Add that stuff to your artwork. Admire it. Smile. Rejoice that you have created something. Leave that stunning piece of collectible, museum-quality artwork on the table stuck to the newspaper for at least two weeks. Someone might show up at your dining room table and want to buy it.

Then return to your dining room and look at your work of art again.
Consider how much this colorful little thing looks a lot like your life.
How neat it all looked for a while.
Think about how you pulled a few things out and spread them around in hopes of creating something beautiful.
Then things got mixed up and messy.
You had to put your hands into the mess.
You got some of the messiness stuck under your nails,
in your heart, and in your soul.
You remember the stuff you have collected along life's way.
You add it to the work in progress.
And then stand back and admire it.
You examine your life. Take photos. Journal. Reflect.
With tears flowing. With laughter billowing too.

Then you leave it out for others to check out.
Perhaps someone will put in a bid on it.
The truth is that I'd never sell it.
Whatever "it" is.


Shalet said...


Amy said...

I could write a lengthy comment here, dear Gail! I am around a lot of art on a daily basis, and I collect outsider art, art that's made out of anything, for the most part, and that come with amazing stories. Jimmie Lee Suddith, who died last year, painted on old pieces of wood and cardboard using house paint, mud, and sugar water. He had little schooling in anything, but you'd plunk down a few thousand to buy one of his works today. Art is everywhere and can be made from anything! The best in show winner in our recent juried exhibition was a small water bottle filled with water that contained a little staircase covered in moss.

Lisa said...


Thanks for sharing your process and end result. What fun! And great inspiration.

Having never seen it that way, I gasped out loud when I saw the first photo of your oh-so-clean dining room :-0 Hee, hee!

jakk said...

A fellow ModPodge enthusiast! We really need to create a club ... or a support group. Thanks for the inspiration, Gail!