Creativity on the prairie…

green hills and blue sky with white clouds

Looking out over the landscape and Folklore Village’s prairie.

man standing at a lectern

Jerry Apps

Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day with just a touch of fall in the air and I spent the day enjoying the Southwest Wisconsin Prairie Festival. There were talks about prairies, grassland birds, invasive species, badgers, prairie gardening, prairie walks, and creative exercises. While a lot of interesting things started between 10:00 and 10:30 am, the decision of what to do first was determined when we arrived too late to attend any of the first sessions. We did arrive in time to enjoy listening to the Prairie Promenaders and then Jerry Apps’s talk. Jerry, story teller and rural historian, regaled us with stories of the land and encouraged members of the audience to discover the stories their land held. Following Jerry’s talk my husband, John went on 2 different prairie walks. While he was out exploring the prairie at Folklore Village I was unleashing my creativity… basically I was playing. Lyric Ozburn was teaching a Creative Visual Arts workshop. The highlight of the session for me was playing with spray paint. It is said that sacrifices are made for art and yesterday what was sacrificed were some prairie plants. I had a lot of fun spraying boards with   prairie plants laid on them. Creating wonderful silhouettes of the plants.

plants for painting, boards, and cans of spray paint

Plants Used for the Project and Some Finished Boards (left); Cans of Spray Paint (right)

plants sihlouetted by paint

Spray Paint Artwork

To try this project yourself you need:
– plant material – leaves, flowers, etc. (does not need to be dried)
– spray paint – I recommend a couple of colors
– foam core or poster board (scraps are fine)

  1. Place plants flat on the foam core or poster board.
  2. Spray the paint towards the board, being careful to keep the nozzle about a foot away. The paint will hit the board wherever there is not plant material to block it. You will be silhouetting the plant.
  3. Move the plants or change the plants. Then spray another color.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you are satisfied with the results.
  5. Set the board aside to dry.

A few things to keep in mind:
– Always use spray paint in a well ventilated area. We worked outside on an inexpensive tarp.
– Spraying too close to the board will result in puddling of the paint.
– Try using colored boards as a base, just experiment and have fun.

painted flowers

Bergamot Colored as a Result of Being Used in the Spray Paint Project

In enjoyed this project immensely… I played and was free. Creating board after board. Experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. During the workshop we also played with watercolors, watercolor crayons, and water solvent oil pastels, but what was fantastic and freeing was the spray paint… home improvement store here I come!

This entry was posted in Art, Nature Field Trips, Prairie and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Creativity on the prairie…

  1. laura everson says:

    looks like fun, i must try the spraypaint art !!!

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