what I made for Sarah on her birthday

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It was a tiny canvas that I bought in a local stationer’s. I had an idea of what I was going to do and it turned out completely different! I started with a coat of deep orange paint – it was going to be plum but I couldn’t get the lid off the blue paint and I was impatient to start: yellow and red had to suffice. After painting the front and sides I added blobs of leftover paint to the canvas. I did it partly so as not to waste paint (I think that comes from my Grandma) and partly for the joy of lumps and bumps, making a 3D painting.

After soaking the blue paint tube in hot water I was able to undo the lid. I painted a glaze of blue over the orange once it had dried. Then I decided to go for purple: a very dark purple: lots of blue and not much red. After that coat dried I mixed a lighter purple, the one you see in the photograph, and painted it on. Before it dried I added gold blobs then, using an empty chocolate bar wrapper that was on the table, I smeared the gold blobs. The wrapper left some scratches and I realised I wanted a softer effect so I used an old flannel to smudge and wipe. I really like the effect: you can see the darker purple peeking through the lighter purple in places and the gold is unevenly distributed like clouds.

I didn’t know what the next step was at first. I knew it needed something else so I looked through my art boxes and two broken gold chains caught my eye. I played with them for a while, draping them on the picture. Then it struck me: a heart in the centre. It had to be in the centre because the frame only left a tiny space at the back for me to use to fix the chain in place. I did this by drawing a heart shape on the back and sewed the gold chain to the canvas using invisible thread. It’s not really invisible – that’s what it’s called! 🙂

What I notice about making art and sending it out into the world is the inner dialogue that constantly berates me or warns me that what I’ve done is rubbish or unwanted. This, I know, is because of the messages I received as a child. So I keep going, pushing through the discomfort, and find joy in the way the sun glistens on the gold paint as I take a photo. And the smoothness of a bump as I run my finger over it. And the excitement I feel as I bubble wrap the painting before posting it. This is art: an expression of my joy, of my love and of my friendship.

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