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  • Georgie Boyle

Express Yourself

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Hey there!


I hope you are staying safe during this weird time we are all going through. I hope not only your physical wellbeing, but your mental health is also ok. With all of the scary news going around about people being admitted to hospital with all of the physical symptoms of the coronavirus, I think it is important that we remember there are a lot of people whose mental health is going to seriously suffer during this period.


Art offers a space for creating a social connection, promoting well-being and offering an outlet for frustration. Art therapy is often used as a compliment to traditional mental health treatments. Creating art can help you acknowledge and recognise feelings that have been in your subconscious, bring them to the surface and help you deal with them.


Alongside university work I have been doing some art projects as a form of therapy, so I thought I would share them with you. Some require some equipment, and others none at all. Just look around your house and try and find things you can substitute or use instead. If you want to, order online but I encourage you to order from small business' and order multiple things in one go to avoid delivery drivers making multiple trips for unessential items. A couple of these DIY's involve up-cycling items around your house that may be sat on a shelf collecting dust. Fast fashion is a concept that I think is so important, and can be applied to objects as well as clothing. Instead of throwing that old painting or book away, think of how you could use it or parts of it and bring it back to life. Hopefully I will give you a couple ideas, but the possibilities are endless so I would be interested to see what you come up with!


Fluid Art


This is a trend that has been floating around social media for a while now, so I thought I would give it a go and the outcome was surprisingly exciting. I also had a lot of fun doing it!


What you will need:


  • Canvas, or cardboard or a surface for the paint to go on that is primed with gesso or white acrylic paint

  • Sheet to protect the surface you are working on

  • Acrylic paint in a variety of colours

  • Multiple plastic cups

  • Multiple disposable spoons

  • A mixture of water with 4 drops of dish soap/washing up liquid (this will add a bubble effect to the paint)


Instructions:


  1. Lay your sheet down on the ground and place your canvas on top.

  2. Set up 3-6 plastic cups on the ground and include a different spoon in each.

  3. Put your chosen acrylic paint into each cup, filling up at least 1/3 of the cup.

  4. Add a splash of the water mixture into each paint pot and mix. The consistency should be thin and pourable, but not too thin. The consistency of yoghurt is a good base.

  5. Next take 2 or 3 empty cups and start layering the colours on top of each other, adding 2-3 spoonfuls of each colour at a time. (You may need a couple cups of paint if you want to cover the entire canvas with the paint.) Keep adding colours until cups are filled almost to the top of the cup.

  6. Now take your canvas and quickly turn the cups of paint over onto the canvas.

  7. Gently lift the cups up and shake them a little to allow the paint to come out in random directions.

  8. Now, pick up the canvas and start tipping it slowly from side to side, allowing the paint to flow to each side of the canvas. If you want to cover your entire surface, some of the paint will fall off the edge. This is absolutely fine.

  9. Once you are happy with how the paint sits on the canvas, leave to dry. This may take a while depending on how thick the paint is.


Here are my results. This was my first attempt, but I have learnt from mistakes made for next time! I made my paint too thin at first meaning all of the colours mixed together a bit too much. Then the second attempt, my paint was too thick so it didn't flow as nicely. The most important element of this is getting the paint to the correct texture. You may need a few attempts in order to figure this out!



Drip Art


This is a process I have seen many people use to decorate walls in their homes on a large scale, and it looks really exciting used in that way. If you aren't quite brave enough to commit to using it on your walls in your home, why not try it on a small scale on a canvas, some paper, some cardboard or any surface.


What you will need:


  • Canvas, or cardboard or a surface for the paint to go on that is primed with gesso or white acrylic paint

  • Acrylic paint or ink in a variety of colours

  • Pipette, or spoons

  • Water

  • Multiple pots


Instructions:


  1. Prepare a space for you to work on that is protected from the paint.

  2. Place your chosen paint colours in different pots and thin with a little water in each so that it is pouring consistency. Be sure not to thin the paint too much so that it still sticks to the canvas with good pigmentation.(If you are using ink, simply take the lids off the pots and get a pipette for each colour)

  3. Starting from the top of you canvas using your pipette or spoon, or just pouring from the pot, pour a thin, steady stream of paint or ink directly down the canvas and allow it to run.

  4. Continue to do this across the entire length of the top of the canvas.



I chose to use ink because I have a nice variety of colours, and there is no need to thin them out, I just took them straight from the pot and made this. I think it has come out really nice and colourful. It would be really lovely in a child's bedroom to add a pop (or multiple pops) of colour! If you are brave enough, I think this would look awesome on a wall and would brighten any room.


Framed Fabric


This is a DIY I did a couple weeks ago with my sister in her flat. She lived in Tanzania for 5 years and met her husband there so it is a very special place for her. She now has a lot of fabric she picked up over her years there that is just sitting in her wardrobe collecting dust. We decided to take her favourite patterns and create some art for her walls in her flat.


What you will need:


  • Fabric samples with a pattern you like

  • Frames (however many you want to create) ensuring they have mounts.

  • Scissors

  • Sellotape


Instructions:


  1. Go through your fabric samples and pick your favourite ones, and pick the nicest section of it.

  2. Measure your frames and cut your selected fabric section to size.

  3. Turn your mount upside down and place your fabric sample upside down on top. Place some sellotape onto the fabric and mount to secure the fabric sample in the position you desire.

  4. Now put your mount into your frame the correct way and seal it shut.

  5. Hang wherever you wish.


I think this is such an easy and effective way of adding some colour to your walls, and putting some old fabric to use. This doesn't just have to be made using scraps of fabric. Maybe there is a dress or skirt in your wardrobe that you love the pattern of, but just don't wear anymore. Use that to give it a second life!



Equally you could stretch some fabric over an old canvas and secure it at the back with a staple gun or some glue. This would give you an unframed outcome, but would allow you to display your desired fabric on the walls.


Get those old books out...


You see those old books that are sitting on your shelf that you have read but just can't bear to get rid of? Let's put them to use!


What you will need:


  • An old book you don't mind tearing pages out of

  • A frame

  • A thick brush pen


Instructions:


  1. Go through your chosen book and tear out any pages you want to. This could have your favourite quote on it, or be the beginning or the ending or just a random page, whatever you want!

  2. Take your pen and decorate. You could go over and write a word on it that you feel defines that page, a word that describes the emotion evoked in that page, your favourite word or quote from that page, or just any word you want! You could also go through and circle your favourite word or collection of words or sentences from that page. You could also simply doodle on the page, be creative and do whatever you want!

  3. Simply frame the page and there you have it!


If you feel you need a bit of a switch up in your home to add a change to your day to day, especially when we are spending so much time at home, this could be a great way of up-cycling old books and framing words that could be particularly powerful or moving to you. I used pages from the book 'And the Mountains Echoed' by Khaled Hosseini who is one of my favourite authors. On some I wrote words that I find inspiring, and on others I highlighted various words on the page that join together to make a sentence. You could also get creative with the books you are using, you could use picture books, music paper, be imaginative!



One last simple DIY, if you can even call it that, that I encourage everyone to do is to either paint a rainbow onto a piece of A4 paper, or print one out (I included one I made digitally in my most recent blog post) and stick it in your window to show your support for all of our key and essential workers. And a bonus, it will hopefully put a smile on whoever's face sees it!


If you do any of these DIY's, or think of other creative ideas, please take a picture and post it on instagram and hashtag #creativecorona and tag me in it using my username @georgieboyleart


Don't worry, I'm not out of ideas! I am happy to write another blog post if anyone finds this helpful with more at home art DIY's! In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, stay home, keep talking!

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