Art Camp Day 7 – August 9

Art camp continues. It’s easy to attend when the location is so local – right inside your head – and you are the only camper. The food is not bad, either, and you can have as many iced teas, my favorite drink, as you want. I recommend the place, certainly!

A while back I ordered a ten-pound box of Claybord/Stampbord offcuts – a wood backing coated with a smooth white clay surface – from Dick Blick. It’s the same substance, sans the India ink, that I used for scratchboard art last week. Anyway, the pieces came in assorted small sizes, two of which were ATC size, 2.5″ x 3.5″, and 2″ x 2″. I had no idea what to do with them, so I sorted them into boxes and put them aside.

Today is their day to shine. I have decided to make puzzles with them. My daughter-in-law loves to work puzzles, and I dedicated this project to her. I’m going to give these creations to her when I next see her.

OK. My first challenges were – how to lay out the pieces, and how to keep them from sliding around as I painted (because I had decided I was going to paint the puzzle images). I thought of sticking each piece down to some kind of surface.

No, too absolutely finicky.

Then I thought of setting them in a box. Better idea. Cardboard did not work, too flexible and the pieces did not sit firmly against the edge. Then I thought of my 18″ x 18″ boards that I paint on – they have a deep cradle on the back.

Perfect. I turned over a board and I had a box. Now to fit the pieces in. I quickly realized that the two sizes of puzzle pieces were not very compatible, in terms of their multiples. I also did not want to make the piece arrangement too regular; I feared the puzzle could be too easy. And, the pieces did not fit evenly into the “box”, either.

So I just did what I do – threw some pieces into the space and pushed them around until I got an arrangement that seemed good to me. A couple of the sides are even and a couple aren’t. Good. A harder puzzle!

puzzle pieces 1 small 8-16

Then I started to paint. I made sure to keep pushing the pieces together so that the image flowed across the joints.

When I began, I had no idea what image would emerge. Here’s what fought its way to the top of my mind.

Eye puzzle total image 8-16 small

Since the Claybord/Stampbord is scratchable (remember the scratch art reference above), I got out my little tool and worked away.

puzzle pieces 1 detail small small 8-16

Then I took the puzzle out of its frame and set it aside to get a thorough drying. Good thing I took it apart, because paint did seep between some pieces, sticking them together.

puzzle pieces 1 stretched out 8-16 small

I had such a great time that I did the whole thing again, this time painting a house, a highway, and a river with a fish in it. Up on the highway that object might be a car or maybe a spaceship landing. I meant to put wheels on it but I liked the idea that it could be a spaceship…

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12 thoughts on “Art Camp Day 7 – August 9

  1. Claudia McGill Post author

    I hope she’ll like them. I will be interested to see how hard they are to solve as puzzles, as I have no idea how that part will work out! Thank you.

  2. Dana Doran

    I’ve been so stymied lately with getting started, that when I saw your blank pieces on your photo lead I thought…oh good…I’m not alone. I just love your creativity and the end results. I’ll go back to staring at the white canvas….perhaps I’ll tint it and something will magically come to life?

  3. Laura (PA Pict)

    This is such a fabulous idea! What better gift for a puzzle fan than a unique work of art in puzzle form? Your daughter-in-law will be thrilled. My youngest son loves jigsaw puzzles. Perhaps I shall attempt to make him a puzzle of his own.

  4. Claudia McGill Post author

    I had a puzzle made for her commercially from one of my artworks for Xmas in the past, but this was way more fun, and really easy to do. You can buy blank puzzle pieces and paint them or do something like this. Either way, I recommend it. Fun.

  5. Claudia McGill Post author

    I think this is all working because so little is at stake except using up materials that I have accumulated, so I just let it all go. I will say that when I paint, I always just paint colors on the white surface just to get rid of the – blank look – the surface has! If you want a theme suggestion, I LOVE your Barbie pictures, just saying…

  6. Dana Doran

    I ended up starting something….I’m just going to let it develop…..from lenticular clouds – they’re so intriguing! I was entertaining using Barbie, I may yet….

  7. Pingback: Squarely In View #1 | Claudia McGill and Her Art World

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