Cereal is the perfect food. I will gladly eat it any time of day or night. (For those of you keeping score at home, this is the 3rd of the 29 exciting things you need to know about me.) As a kid there was no greater treat than being allowed to have cereal for dinner. A friend recently told me how guilty she felt when she was so tired one night she couldn't cook and gave her kids cereal. Are you kidding me? I assured her she was not a deadbeat, and in fact was the BEST MOM EVER.
I'm equal opportunity when it comes to my cereal. I equally enjoy a bowl of high-fiber twigs-and-sticks type cereal and those technicolor sugar bombs disguised as food. When my son was small and I was obsessing over the nutritional quality of every morsel of food that passed his lips, I would wait until he went to bed to take the junk cereal out of hiding. Now that my mother-of-the-year award has been revoked, we bond over which box has the most marshmallows and which makes the milk turn colors.
My idea of heaven is not unlike my college dining hall - a dozen kinds of cereal lined up in giant plastic dispensers and permission to eat as much as you like. *sigh*
One of the many good things about going through boxes of cereal the way some people go through glasses of water is that we always have empty cereal boxes in the recycling. And if cereal is the perfect food, then cereal boxes are the perfect substrate. They've been essential to my recent postcard making spree. Last week, as I was cutting the little flappy parts off the front and back of the box, I decided to put them to use as collage elements.
So here's how my painting started:
(oh thank god she's going to get to the point at last!)
After half a jar of gel medium and a few days pressed under a stack of heavy books, I was ready to slather it in gesso and get started. I painted it a bright yellow green and rubbed dark oil pastels around all the edges:
Then I brayered on another few layers of gesso:
And then I stopped taking pictures.
I do that all the time - I get so excited about what I'm working on that I forget my good intentions of documenting the steps along the way.
You'll have to take my word for it when I tell you I added a bazillion more layers of paint, and some big loopy black handwriting and some more paint and some more oil pastels and at some point covered the whole thing in tissue paper and painted all over that and tried some stenciling and hated it and covered THAT with more paint.
I finally liked the look of the background, so I added some hand-dyed paper and a few charts printed on tissue paper and rubbed the surface with some pan pastels.
Here's where I ended up:
I was kind of liking it until I scanned it and saw it on my computer screen and then I hated it. Does that ever happen to you? When I looked at this digitally, I didn't like that all that black and was especially peeved that the graphics weren't straight. I'm usually pretty slap-dash, good-enough when it comes to life in general, but I couldn't get over this crooked bit. I decided to cover that whole middle part with gesso with the intention of printing a new copy of the chart and putting it on straight this time. As I was adding layers of paint on top of the gesso, the tissue paper underneath started to bubble up. I though about stopping and letting it dry, but instead I tried to peel it up. I figured I'd just add more gesso and more paint, but I ended up really liking the effect of the peeled area and leaving it alone.
so HERE is my very very layered cereal box painting which I gleefully link to the Butterfly Effect (whose theme this week was making layers) and to Paint Party Friday because it's been a long long time since I visited that talented group.