Friday, February 3, 2012

painting of champions

Cereal is the perfect food.  I will gladly eat it any time of day or night.  (For those of you keeping score at home, this is the 3rd of the 29 exciting things you need to know about me.) As a kid there was no greater treat than being allowed to have cereal for dinner. A friend recently told me how guilty she felt when she was so tired one night she couldn't cook and gave her kids cereal.  Are you kidding me?  I assured her she was not a deadbeat, and in fact was the BEST MOM EVER.

I'm equal opportunity when it comes to my cereal.  I equally enjoy a bowl of high-fiber twigs-and-sticks type cereal and those technicolor sugar bombs disguised as food.  When my son was small and I was obsessing over the nutritional quality of every morsel of food that passed his lips, I would wait until he went to bed to take the junk cereal out of hiding.  Now that my mother-of-the-year award has been revoked, we bond over which box has the most marshmallows and which makes the milk turn colors.

My idea of heaven is not unlike my college dining hall - a dozen kinds of cereal lined up in giant plastic dispensers and permission to eat as much as you like.  *sigh*

One of the many good things about going through boxes of cereal the way some people go through glasses of water is that we always have empty cereal boxes in the recycling.  And if cereal is the perfect food, then cereal boxes are the perfect substrate.  They've been essential to my recent postcard making spree.  Last week, as I was cutting the little flappy parts off the front and back of the box, I decided to put them to use as collage elements.

So here's how my painting started: 
(oh thank god she's going to get to the point at last!)
After half a jar of gel medium and a few days pressed under a stack of heavy books, I was ready to slather it in gesso and get started.  I painted it a bright yellow green and rubbed dark oil pastels around all the edges:

Then I brayered on another few layers of gesso:
And then I stopped taking pictures.  
I do that all the time - I get so excited about what I'm working on that I forget my good intentions of documenting the steps along the way.

You'll have to take my word for it when I tell you I added a bazillion more layers of paint, and some big loopy black handwriting and some more paint and some more oil pastels and at some point covered the whole thing in tissue paper and painted all over that and tried some stenciling and hated it and covered THAT with more paint. 

I finally liked the look of the background, so I added some hand-dyed paper and a few charts printed on tissue paper and rubbed the surface with some pan pastels.
Here's where I ended up:

I was kind of liking it until I scanned it and saw it on my computer screen and then I hated it. Does that ever happen to you?  When I looked at this digitally, I didn't like that all that black and was especially peeved that the graphics weren't straight.  I'm usually pretty slap-dash, good-enough when it comes to life in general, but I couldn't get over this crooked bit.  I decided to cover that whole middle part with gesso with the intention of printing a new copy of the chart and putting it on straight this time.  As I was adding layers of paint on top of the gesso, the tissue paper underneath started to bubble up.  I though about stopping and letting it dry, but instead I tried to peel it up.   I figured I'd just add more gesso and more paint, but I ended up really liking the effect of the peeled area and leaving it alone.

so HERE is my very very layered cereal box painting which I gleefully link to the Butterfly Effect (whose theme this week was making layers) and to Paint Party Friday because it's been a long long time since I visited that talented group.


  1. I lov ethe textures on this painting....nice colors too...happy Friday!!

  2. the finished result is super texture and color!

  3. Love the abstract painting ~ colors, composition, texture ~ well done ~namaste,carol (Share the Creative Journey) Happy PPF ~

  4. Great textures, thank you for the demo. Happy PPF, Annette x

  5. Very cool! Great colours and textures.

  6. I LOVE it!!!!!!! Those layers forming was pure eye candy!

  7. It is good to put down the camera and stop documenting sometimes when you are caught up in the moment. And I agree with the others -- the painting looks terrific. love the texture and colors. Admire your work and creativity.

  8. A great layered piece and i love how you linked the cereal story to how you came to be creating this piece with all the cardboard layers.

    An interesting point you raised about the prey/predator thing on my blog-it would be interesting to see how many artists were more introverted prey than extraverted predator!

  9. I love to see the layering happening. Great!

  10. Looks great! I know! It's only when I scan my art I see all the mistakes that I didn't see before. :)

  11. I was laughing all through this post. I used to put Captain Crunch on top of vanilla ice cream in college. Oh those wonderful dispensers...

    I'm loving this painting and all your layers. What a genius idea to use cereal boxes in the background! Oh, and my girl IS wearing an owl hat because I secretly want one. :)
    Catherine Denton

  12. wow i love it, you make me want to go get paint on my hands, and eat cereal (see i cant even spell it, since i dont eat it but if I did i would save them

  13. Lovely colours and textures, even though I dodn't like cereals

  14. Love the end result and all the progress shots - the layers ;)

    I might have to start serving up cereal for dinner, would make life a lot easier...

  15. LOVE it! I need to start using all those cereal boxes and not focus on throwing them out. Yes, cereal is still a great dinner. Especially if we have been out to eat at lunchtime.

  16. Love it!!! So textual and it all started with breakfast :0)

  17. Excellent post!!! Obviously you are a girl after my own heart... i love mixed media!
    Thanks for your comment on my post...I just followed you and would love it if you'd follow me too!
    Renee xoxo

  18. Fabulous texture here, wow! love how this is turning it out! Superhero is a cereal and carb freak so we have many many many boxes to play with in the studio. I just made another journal cover too. I love your kid story about cereal for dinner, for me anything breakfast is good all day any day, cereal too! xox Corrine

  19. Layer on layer of yummy goodness LOL, I LOVE recycling so what a great idea to recycle this way & love that texture (& colours) Happy BE & PPF ;)

  20. Amazing!
    I would have never guessed that this was the result of reusing a cereal box. So glad you took time to photograph the process!
    Love that you used a half jar of gel medium, too! :)
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  21. Wow, you have a lot of patience and it really paid off on this piece, I love it. Where do you come up with the ideas for such fab ideas? I really like the cubist kinda look it took on from the boxes.

    You definitely have me wishing I hadn't taken all my cereal boxes to the recycling today. I wonder if it's punishable by law to sneak in and steal them back?

  22. cereal is food of the gods.


    i could eat it all day long.

    i could easily eat a full box of cereal just out of the box while sketching.



  23. I'm digging this! I see a profile in the yellow patch. And it's really great to see you back at the party.

  24. Oh COOL! I love those colours & textures. Sooo gorgeous!

  25. Gorgeous layers and texture. Great use of box remnants.

  26. Oh wow, this is yummy wonderful, love all that texture! I'm a long time cereal addict too, yep yep, breakfast , lunch , or anytime snack, I don't think there's a brand or variety I don't like!

  27. i didn't know you did this with cereal boxes. it makes me want to eat more cereal. we should get one of those dispenser systems for the kitchen

  28. Wow wonderful layers, texture and color. Great art