All around social media I see so many people feeling depressed about the news and things that are happening around the world. There's a lot of strife out there--but if you really look, there is a lot of good out there, too. We at the Once and Future Podcast really like to focus on the good--not ignoring the bad, exactly, but taking a healthier, balanced approach to all things. One thing I find relaxing is to do some random artwork. It helps me focus on the beautiful, to let go of some darkness, and to distract my mind from things that I have no control over. But sometimes, when we have a whole set of art supplies in front of us, there are too many options, and too many decisions to be made as far as what we should create, and what we should use to make it.
I got the idea for MacGyver art challenges when I first started getting my Artsnacks subscription (review forthcoming!). In every Artsnacks box, there are 4-5 art supplies. I find it really fun to challenge myself with this, to make something with JUST the materials in that box (with the addition of say, a paint brush, or paper, if they aren't included). So I thought, why not expand this challenge to be something weekly, something everyone can get in on?
So that's where this column is coming in. It's time for this week's MacGyver Art Challenge!!
Rules: I'm going to list supplies, and you are ONLY allowed to use those materials in this week's project (with reasonable alternatives--when I say marker, any marker could do. Same with paint). You can use different colors than I use. And you are allowed to use, in addition, a paintbrush, a pencil for sketching (though you really don't HAVE to), and whatever paper you deem appropriate. Also, while this isn't a rule per se, consider doing something small! On a 3x5 piece of paper, you can create a lot of fun things. And then feel free to share pictures of your work on our Facebook page. The more people share their work, the better others will feel about sharing as well. I'm not a professional artist by a long shot. Most of the people taking part in this aren't. It's just for fun. And any negativity that happens in comments will be shut down immediately.
This week, I'm going to actually use the materials that were in the August Artsnacks box, just because they are on my mind and because I've already made a sample piece of what a piece of art made via this challenge could look like. So,
Materials for the week of August 15th are:
- Acrylic paint. I'm using a tube of Daler Rowney System 3 water based acrylic in Emerald. You can use WHATEVER you have on hand. If you have no acrylic paint, you can substitute another type of paint, but let us know what you use so we can maybe get ideas for future projects!
- Alcohol based art marker. I'm using a Copic .Too double-ended marker in Blue Violet. Again, you can use any color you'd like (but just ONE), and if you don't have fancy art markers, steal one of your kid's Crayolas.
- A really great acrylic paint brush. A Robert Simmons round #1 acrylic for me! The reason I'm including a paint brush in this week's is because I want people to experience what it's like to use a brush that was specifically made for a certain medium, versus just any old paint brush. So if you are using watercolor paint this week versus acrylic, use a watercolor brush, etc.
That's it! So with just those materials, go at it, make some art! Make some BAD art! Make good art if you want. The point of this project is to let go, relax, and create. And PLEASE go to our Facebook page over the week and share your work! We really look forward to seeing what you make, and your work will help encourage others to create, too!
Melanie R. Meadors is the author of fantasy and science fiction stories where heroes don’t always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. She’s been known to befriend wandering garden gnomes, do battle with metal-eating squirrels, and has been called a superhero on more than one occasion. Her work has been published in several magazines, and she was a finalist in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Science Fiction Contest. Melanie is also a freelance author publicist and publicity/marketing coordinator for both Ragnarok Publications and Mechanical Muse, an independent gaming company. She blogs regularly for GeekMom and The Once and Future Podcast. Her short story “A Whole-Hearted Halfling” is in the anthology Champions of Aetaltis, available now on Amazon. She is the co-editor of Hath No Fury, an anthology celebrating women in speculative fiction, which is currently on Kickstarter and includes stories from Seanan McGuire, Carol Berg, Elaine Cunningham, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Philippa Ballantine, Anton Strout, and more. Follow Melanie on Facebook and on Twitter as @MelanieRMeadors.