The MailMeSomeArt blog opened a swap for painted papers. The call was intriguing, but I could not decide what to do until I saw a demo of applying gesso over writing. I wanted to try a version of that! On the very same day, one of my students mentioned her interest in Thoreau's and Emerson's ideas regarding charity. Hmm...big ideas are great; focused ideas are even better. She ended up writing about Charles Loring Brace's orphan trains program which she found astounding. And we both could still think about Thoreau.
Here, a few handwritten lines from Walden became the background for the painted pages, topped with layers and layers of gesso and water soluble painting crayons (that's what the tin says; I inherited them).
Tofu Girl joined me at the dining room table which is more often set with things other than plates. She always has a project in mind and is more familiar with our canisters of markers and pencils than anyone else. She thinks about colors and made herself a color swatch book of sorts. It's actually a jar of the names and samples of colors on scraps of paper. I wondered why one couldn't simply open a box or jar to see the names, but silly me, she carries the plastic jar around. Much easier to hold one jar full of colors than many containers of pens and pastels, right? Plus, when I open a tin, I am already searching for a specific color, but Tofu seems to be inspired by the colors themselves, thinking about them in relation to others and in various shades. She watched as I mixed the paint crayons with gesso and gave me tips: "This yellow, not that one. You're covering up the words with too much red! Oh...you're wiping it off. That's better."
Then her brother came in to see the pages drying. "That one has too much white still," he said, pointing; he liked the pages with stronger splashes of color. "Nooooo," protested his sister vehemently. They were about to argue about which ones were "better" when I said that pages were finished and that was that. ...It sounded just like dinnertime around here. At least we usually agree on dessert.