Sunday, April 1, 2012

Art and Adventure

Photo taken by Liv (5).  Morning sunrise on Chesterman Beach

This year our adventure mission statement was “Artistic Adventures”. (click for more info: Previous Mission statements ) The idea was to incorporate art, music, photography, and crafting into the regular outdoor adventures we so often take.  For me this goal was lofty.  I am not artistic at all, creative perhaps which makes this year a challenge for me.

We are three months into the challenge and I am disappointed in the results.  I blame this on my enthusiasm not Ben (6) and Liv’s (5) abilities.  Last year I had a plan in place for every adventure we went on and was prepared to find five living things.  My excitement was passed on to them making it easier to find living creatures or plants on every adventure.  I must admit my excitement is lacking considerably this year.

I am not one to be beaten at my own game so drastic measures were taken to create some work of art that fits in with the Artistic Adventure theme.  And by drastic measures I am talking about hauling out the glue gun.  Now the kids were excited!

While we were surfing in Tofino back in January we collected shells along the beach.  When hiking along the Nanaimo River one Sunday afternoon we collected rocks.  And one sunny day back in February we explored our local beach and collected driftwood.  These, along with some googly eyes, were used to create some crazy creatures that the kids call their rock families.  

Rock families

I was happy with the outcome and was now motivated to expand our artistic talents.  Next up was making paint from plants so the kids could create their very own masterpiece.  The adventure was collecting the ingredients so off we went hiking trails near our yard.  We collected holly berries, leaves from the early blooming Indian Plum, grass, purple crocus, and catkins from an alder tree.  

I boiled each plant for 10 minutes and did achieve color however the color did not show up on the canvas.  I feared this because I knew I was missing one key ingredient; soap.  In order to reach the consistency of paint, I needed to add a binder to the color.  Grating soap into the mixtures will achieve this.  Sadly I did not have any hard soap on hand but that was ok.  I had wanted to see if I could create color and did.   

The back up plan was to take the plants we did find and simply smear them on the canvas.  We collected a few more plants for this; daffodils, a beet from my garden, and some good old fashioned mud.  The kids had fun and I was happy to be one step closer in creating paint.  

Our art collection is beginning to grow.  We can add the rock families and plant paintings to the sand sculptures created at Witty’s Lagoon and photography from surfing in Tofino and snowshoeing at Mt. Becher.  I am happy we are finally making progress and realize I am going to have to put a lot more effort into the challenge. 

How to make paint

1 cup of berries, leaves, carrots, flower petals, onion skins, beets.  Use your imagination and what is available. Boil in 1 cup of water.  The longer you boil it the stronger the color.  Strain and set aside in a bowl.  Jars work well!

Boil ½ cup of water and add 1/3 cup of grated soap.  When soap dissolves add ½ cup of water to 1 cup of cornstarch to make paste.  Then add to soap mixture.

Add colored water to the thick soap/cornstarch mixture.  Let cool and then you are ready to paint. 

1 comment:

  1. why don't you use natural dyes to do your Easter eggs this year? Martha Stewart.com always has ideas for natural egg dying....(and the instructions for the how-to)