Under-stairs cupboard Wendy house! Trompe l’oeil fireplace inset (acrylic on board)
Children’s drawings with realistic painting Painted bannister knobs!
Inspired by my children’s creativity
Following on from my last post, I just wanted to say something about the way in which having children has been a real stimulus for me to experiment more with my art, to be more creative and to have fun with my painting! Because I spent a lot of time at home with the children, I started painting murals for their rooms and this lead to other paintings in the house, including a light house in the bathroom and eggs on the stairs! By making art at home like this, I could still be around my kids, although I have had to disguise children’s fingerprints (isn’t thick wet paint just too tempting sometimes?)
My favourite project
I particularly enjoyed converting an under-stairs cupboard at home into a wendy house for my first child – as above. My husband thought I was mad but I got out the electric saw and cut out windows and a front door in the under-stairs cupboard door and then stuck on MDF details which I then painted in acrylic paint. I fixed on a hinged door and my daughter and I would post tiny letters to each other through the miniature letter box!
Started to make murals for other people
I other people saw these things (at one time I even painted a beach on the concrete floor in the kitchen, complete with sand and white waves washing up onto the shore!!) they started to ask if I could do paintings for their house so what I started to make what I called ‘moveable murals’, which were pictures painted onto shaped MDF board. Examples of these included a number of trompe l’oeil fireplace insets and things for children’s rooms, for instance rockets, dogs and a palm tree. The good thing about this style of mural is that they can be unscrewed from the wall and moved if the room is being redecorated, or if you’re moving house. Also, I can make them at home!
Sharing time and ideas with my kids
My children and I also started to make paintings together, combining their drawing and handprints etc with my painting. I started to exhibit these paintings and soon other people started to ask for similar commissions – pictures that reflected the character and interests of their own children. At bedtime we always had stories and when they were old enough, my kids used to really enjoy making up stories together so we used to take it in turns, thinking up characters and adventures. I took the process further and started to illustrate my own stories, and am now trying to get them published.
Ideas for the future
Now my three children are growing up, I am having to think about new ideas for my painting. It will be great to study other artists for my Master’s and from the reading I have done already, I am starting to get some ideas together on the theme of pregnancy and medical scans, perhaps continuing with the theme of overlapping imagery. Also, living in Bristol, there is a lot of good street art and graffiti and I think the geometric shapes of the buildings look really interesting with the more organic, colourful art work creeping up and around them. Strangely, I have just finished painting two landscape commissions, but in the next few weeks I’m going to start a new urban series – I still hope to include my kids though, and may even send them off with a cameras to see what graffiti they can find for me!