Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Creativity experiment, days 16-23

My paper bag canvas for the 40 day creativity experiment is going from bad to worse, but I'm trusting the process and faithfully adding layers every day.  It can be really hard to walk away from it when I hate what I've added.  I want to cover the whole thing up to try and fix it, but my personal spin on this project was about restraint.  Do one thing and walk away.  Don't judge, don't fret, just take it one layer at a time.

Day 16: I added torn pieces of painted tissue paper
Here's a closeup of the tissue - painted with watered down golden fluid acrylics.  I love how they stay semi-transparent.

Day 17:   I cut circles out of clear contact paper to act as a mask, and painted some gesso around them.  the contact paper is still in place in this picture

Day 18: used pan pastels to add the orangey color.  The contact paper has been peeled off to reveal the painting below.

Day 19:  cut more contact paper circles, laid them in different places (overlapping the other circles), and painted gesso around the edges. 
Day 20:  add the teal paint and freak out over how bright it is.

Day 21: lightly cover with gesso using a foam roller.

Day 22: watered down that same teal paint and let it drip.

Day 23: grabbed my brayer and titan buff paint and rolled all over it.

Good gravy, it's ugly at the moment.
But each day I've tried something different and learned a little about how colors and materials interact.  And there are interesting small bits with a lot of depth and texture.
From here I think I will keep toning it down and making it more neutral so I can build back up in a more purposeful way.  I'm going to have to start thinking about composition and focal points (eek!) 
I still have more than two weeks to work on it and I'm starting to have a few ideas of where it might end up.


  1. Ugly is only a state of mind, get out of your head and keep moving. xox

  2. I'm loving it. I will have to try the contact paper idea. Never thought of it before. Keep going. You can do it.

  3. Oh, this just makes me laugh. Good luck with the restraint. If you end up loving it, won't it be worth it? Maybe? Sometimes I think learning what I don't like is justa s important since, hey, you don't know till you try. Love seeing all the stages, thanks for sharing. I think I may be enjoying it more than you!

  4. What a fabulous process! Even if you never end up loving it I'm sure you'll be glad you did it...

  5. love love what you have done with the canvas

  6. Love the circle stage. KEEP GOING. Movement.

  7. Such great ideas here. I specially love the way you always use gesso in a way no-one else does. Such original ideas. This is such an interesting process, and seeing it grow and change is great. I think your theme tune should be 'The Circles of My Mind' - don't know if that's the title or just a line in the song. It's amazing how varied the circles are in all the work you do.

  8. I'm so inspired Karen!
    I may need to do this for myself.
    Restraint is not my strong point however!

  9. Don't judge it.. it will be beautiful in the end. I am sure of that.

  10. I'm loving the process, Karen, but even more, I am loving the fact that I have found another person in the world who says, "Good gravy"! I never thought there was another! And sometimes I add, "Good gravy train!" And sometimes I worry that I will warp my children. :-)

  11. I love to use paper bags as a canvas. I also love to sew on paper bags. waiting for you next move! ( no pressure, grin)

  12. This is incredibly interesting. No kidding. And great ideas for a couple of canvases I want to start soon.

    Your pain is my reward.


  13. You and others who started these 40 day projects inspired me to start my own. I haven't shared any photos yet, tho--they were part of the "boring" phase I've been going through. But it's starting to shape up, and I think the restraint is a good exercise for me. Thanks for the inspiration!!!