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