The Art of Experimenting

And what we drew in the woods...

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Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. - Edward De Bono

Lockdown has sparked a desire in me to try to do different things. It has placed a possibility of a finite amount of time to do things. The idea that - if closing down the world is a reality - if THIS can happen then what else is possible? Those dreams you’ve been harbouring in the assumption they can’t really happen, not to you? Not to me. Well, actually, who says? Why not? If this is a reality, why not that? 

This week’s challenge is inspired by a recent conversation about what constitutes mixed media. This in turn reminded me of a prompt from Jim Moir aka Vic Reeves recently on Grayson Perry’s Art Club TV show. He suggested that to make art in lockdown we needed to use whatever we could get our hands on, use any materials we have around. 

I have always been one for doing this, partly because historically I didn’t have much money and also I love to experiment and use up things otherwise destined to be discarded. Recently I’ve used eyeshadow mixed with PVA glue to get the effect I want in an abstract painting. 

The painting in the middle I made about 20 years ago. I've used paint, photo transfer, children's paint sticks, silver thread and nail varnish. A friend once came round and found me varnishing flower petals, I will never forget the raised eyebrow look she gave me. As a teen I painted a pattern on my bedroom wall with black outdoor pipe paint, although I didn’t realise at the time - paint was paint. 

The painting on the left is one of a series I painted onto cut up blanket, using leftover emulsion tester pots and stitched with sequins left from other projects. It was the first project I did - for my own wellbeing, I didn’t plan to sell them until someone suggested I enter them for an exhibition in the old Aldwych tube station. This is where Attentive Art began although it took me 15 years to find that out. 

The star painting on the right uses vintage sheeting with vintage net curtains, blue ink and star sequins. These sequins are the same ones I used about 10 years later to make a new piece the other week, which I made in response to Grayson Perry giving the brief to depict ‘Britain’. I’ve also used acrylic paint, pencil, silver thread, and origami paper. You can read more about it HERE

So, this week's challenge is to make some art of any kind using unconventional materials. I hope I’ve given you some ideas, but, as ever, anything goes. Just…..ENJOY IT!

Last Week’s challenge:

My kids and I had SUCH a wonderful time exploring the woods. As well as the woods I talked about at Burton Agnes last week, we visited the grounds of Sewerby Hall and Gardens and discovered a whole new section of the woods we didn’t know was there. We had it mostly to ourselves; one day there was a bonfire in the next field which blew smoke through the woods and made it extra magical. Another day it was sunny and all the little bugs flying around were illuminated, lending a different type of magic. 

We found a den made from bamboo with three logs in to sit on, we spent some time in there drawing the view from the entrance. Some of my sketches were super quick standing up drawings while the children jumped on a mound of woodchips trying to wake up the goblin who slept in it. Others were quicker but still on foot as it was mostly too wet to sit down. A few years ago I was extremely self conscious about drawing outside, now it is one of my favourite things to do. Here are my super quick tree sketches:

Sophie Walker

Mindful Creativity Practitioner, Artist and Writer., Attentive Art

I'm an Artist who studied psychology and mindfulness to help myself overcome some of life's challenges. Now I help others to do the same using creativity and psychology. I believe creativity holds the key to the enjoyment of life and I want to help everyone to feel good about yourself and your life.