For the Love of Supplies
Art and creation has always been a part of who I am. It’s in my core and it comes from a long line of creative people in my family. My grandmother, Mary Anne, is a great artist and while she dedicated her life to teaching, the artist was always in her. When I was a kid, I remember bins and bins of wonderfully beautiful and enticing art supplies she had tucked away in a small room in the back of her house. Art supplies and office supplies have always been a weakness of mine. There is something about a brand new sketch book or a new pack of markers that is so exciting and just screams promises of new creations.
Sneaking into my grandmothers bins and quietly browsing through her art supplies are the earliest memories I have of my art supply excitement. She would occasionally let me use these supplies under her supervision. She encouraged my artistic abilities and even took me to one of her painting groups. I remember her telling me to keep practicing and exploring my artistic talents. It has never left me and while my art isn’t always at the forefront of my priorities, it is always on my mind.
Moving Across the Country
My family and I recently moved 1400 miles across the country. Now that I have my own collection of art bins, I had to go through all of them for the move. I was trying to down size my collection to make the move easier. During the chaos of going through all of my art supplies, I found an old box of artist pastels that once belonged to my grandmother. I remember snatching it from her collection and starting my own. My supply collection has grown and changed over the years and I have moved many times as a child and as an adult, yet through it all my grandmothers pastels have made the journey with me.
I was truly amazed that I still had these pastels. It may not sound like much to some, but it meant something to me. I have a career and a life that has artistic creation at its core and I know that it’s not in small part due to the strong women in my life. My grandmother is a big part of what has shaped me as a person and the directions I’ve taken. I knew I wanted to keep my grandmothers pastels, but that wasn’t enough. I didn’t want them to sit in an art bin for years and possibly be thrown away, but I didn’t want to use them and not have them anymore either.
Beginning the Art Pastel Project
My solution was to create something from them. It took me a while to figure out exactly what to do. At first I wanted to build a practical art piece that I could put to use, but nothing made sense for the content. I ended with creating an art piece to hang. The irony is that through years of trying different mediums, I know that I don’t like using pastels. The chalky texture makes my skin crawl a bit especially when drawing with it. As soon as the chalk hits the paper, I get a chill. On the other, they are hard to resist. The colors are beautiful and they are so pretty sitting neatly in a row like little rainbows.
I powered through the difficulty using the chalk and sketched out an image of my grandmother. I used an image that she currently uses as her profile pic on facebook. I knew from the beginning I wanted to incorporate the artist pastel box, even though it’s pretty beat up. It’s an old yellowing box that has a classic retro package design that I really like.
The newly drawn image of my grandmother didn’t really go with the old box top, so I added an old yellowing look to her image. I soaked the page in water and shaved off the dingy yellow pastel color onto the surface of the drawing. It added an old look that was consistent with the look of the package top.
The next part was adding in the pastels themselves. I created a pattern of pastels and glued them with a hot glue gun to the bottom left corner of a sheet of cardboard. The box top went right above the pastels and my grandmothers image covered the entire right side of the sheet of cardboard. The design part was done, so I moved on to finishing the piece.
I used a resin casting product called Easy Cast to finish it off and seal all of the pieces together into one cohesive art piece. The resin hardened overnight and it was complete.
It was a privilege to be able to make this piece and keep my grandmothers pastels incased as an art piece forever. Every time I look at it I will be forever reminded of how my artistic abilities began and the influential part my grandmother played in the journey.