We spent some time in Dallas recently with our oldest daughter and her three sons, the oldest of whom is seven. Her husband had to be out of town for a week long photo shoot and she needed some help. Having raised four children of our own, we knew she had her hands full. Grandma and Pawpaw to the rescue! Spending time with those three precious little boys is a chance we try to never miss. So, we packed the car and headed to Big D.
It's funny how inspiration can come from any place at any time. We were there the week before Mother's Day. Grandson #2 is 4 and goes to pre-school. He came up to me and whispered in my ear that he had wrapped his mother's gift at school that day. "Don't tell her grandma, but it's a picture of poppies that I made!" He was so proud and excited. Makes your heart want to burst. It was a super busy week of running children to school, going to karate lessons, cooking meals, playing games, doing mounds of laundry, giving baths and having a wonderful time all week. The baby, who is 9 months old worked hard all week at trying to crawl from one place to another "army" style. He hadn't quite figured out how to make it all work on his hands and knees yet. Brought back so many memories of how busy all those days were and why you can't remember so many things that happened because you are just trying to get through the general living of it all.
On Friday, we picked #2 up from pre-school and he came out the door with a lovely package in his hand. He got in the van and handed his mother her gift. It was a 5x7 rectangle wrapped in pink tissue paper (because they had run out of purple, his favorite) with ribbons and a card made by him. He jubilantly said "Open it!" Mom said it's not Mother's Day yet. Are you sure?" Oh yes, yes, yes! She carefully took the tissue paper off and inside was a lovely piece of artwork, mixed media of a red poppy done with paint, tissue paper and real poppy seeds. It was truly lovely and made with all the love a 4 year old's heart and hands can create. I LOVED it. Mom was so very touched and filled with love while #2 was overjoyed that mom loved his creation.
We moved to Tennessee recently after living my entire life in the same town. We downsized after 41 years of marriage and so many of the things I had used in our previous home just don't seem to fit in our little yellow cottage. I have spent time trying to make things work and figuring out new things to enjoy. When I saw his little piece of art work I was completely inspired. I needed something to go above our bed and had just not found the right thing. This I could do! I made a trip to Michael's and bought 4 canvases. They came two for $5.99. Then a trip to, where else but, the Dollar Tree for a package of multi-colored tissue paper which cost, what else but, a dollar. I buy Elmer's glue by the gallon and I have a set of acrylic paints so I was good to go. Oh, and a small bottle of Modge Podge.
First, I mixed a color of blue that I wanted using baby blue, blue lake and phthalo green. I base coated all of my canvases.
After letting that dry, I used different colors of green and black to make grass on the bottom of the canvases, each one different. Now for the fun part. I cut red tissue paper in approximately 4" squares. I applied Elmer's with a brush in a flower shape and put the tissue down. I squished it around, turning up some of the edges for a 3D effect. Next, I added another layer of glue on top of the tissue paper that was already down and put another layer of tissue paper on top of that. I made each canvas different.
After letting everything dry overnight, I added stems and leaves. To make the stems, I cut pieces of green tissue paper about 1 inch wide and 10 inches long and rolled them between the finger and thumbs of both hands making a long "snake." I put glue on the canvas and laid the stems on top of the glue, taking the stems over the edge of the canvas. Any remainder was cut off with scissors. Then, I used a brush and made leaf shapes with glue. Once again, I cut 4 inch squares of green tissue paper and squished it and manipulated it until I got a 3D leaf shape I liked. I let this dry overnight.
Now for the "careful" part. I loaded a 1inch brush with Elmer's and applied it to all of the tissue paper pieces on the canvas. Poppies, leaves and stems received a coat of glue. They had a bit of stiffness from the original glue used but I didn't want to ruin the 3D effect of the flower petals and leaves. I went slowly and carefully, making sure I got glue in all of the cracks and crevices. Again, they had to dry overnight. The fun part after this was peeling all the dried glue off my hands - almost as good as bubble wrap!
After everything was dry, I made centers in all my flowers with a little puddle of glue and added real poppy seeds to the glue. Again, let dry overnight. And now, the final step......Modge Podge! Cover the entire canvas and flowers, leaves, stems and poppy seed centers with a coat of Modge Podge. This gives everything a nice sheen and just the right stiffness so everything doesn't go flat. Let dry complete and your pictures are ready to hang.
There are so many possibilities for this application. You don't have to be Van Gogh (oh how I wish), you can be creative and create your own art work, even a 4 year old can do this. His didn't have the 3D effect, but it was beautiful. I already have a new project in mind. Will let you know how that goes. Thanks to his pre-school for your inspiration!
Things to Remember:
Anyone can create! Inspiration is everywhere.