Monday, 17 October 2016

Creative Sprint II

These are the creations from my second week of Creative Sprint.

Day 8: Come up with a new use for something you would normally discard.

As a knitter I always end up with lots of yarn off-cuts and bits and pieces, which are normally quite useless, accumulating in multi-colored tangles. So I decided this was a good opportunity to put them to use, creating this small doll.

Doll, yarn off-cuts and knitted pieces, glue, felt tip pen on card (for the lips)

Day 9: Share a secret or make something inspired by a secret.

Today’s prompt initially left me stumped. Did I want to reveal a secret? Did I even have any secrets? So I decided to approach it in a more intuitive way, based on something I had written once—There are secrets down there—and revisiting an oil pastel technique that I used as a child: Completely cover the paper with bright colour (preferably a whole rainbow), then go over the top of it all with black pastel. Then use a pointed object (e.g. the end of a paintbrush, a toothpick, a pencil—I used an old etching tool for a very fine line) to draw into, and thus scrape away, the black, revealing the colours underneath. In this way I have created a double meaning for this work. Firstly, there are secrets down there, beneath our feet (buried treasure, archaeology, the wisdom of the Underworld); and secondly, the technique I used meant that I was revealing the secret colours underneath the layer of black. I think this may be the piece I am most pleased with so far, perhaps because I have reverted to a favourite subject: trees.

There Are Secrets Down There, oil pastel on card

Day 10: Start something and have someone else finish it for you. Bonus: work with another sprinter to accomplish this.

I was wondering how I would tackle this prompt when I was contacted by Michelle Genders of Atman Art Studio (previously Emma Kay Inks), who is the reason I am taking part in Creative Sprint in the first place. We decided to send each other an image, and to create something in response to that. The image she sent was of her (usually very tidy) workspace, scattered with her tools of the trade, and other bits and pieces, expressing how ‘messy’ things can get when you are busy, or working on lots of different ideas at once. And it got me thinking, though my own workspace is fairly tidy, usually with just my laptop on it, there are still plenty of other things (art materials, books, CDs, knick-knacks) either on my desk, or in easy reach; and there are definitely times when my desk becomes the centre of many different strands of inspiration and creative work. So I decided to do my own version of a ‘messy desk’, making a kind of collage of pieces—some of my own tools of the trade (pens, pencils, pastels, brushes, paint, notebooks), as well as some of the things that inspire me (books, art, music and the natural world). I think you can probably tell a lot about a person by looking at what they have on and around their desk. 

Many thanks to Michelle for this prompt. Click here to check out her blog, and here for links to more of her work.

Photo by Michelle Genders
Creative Workspace

Day 11: Make something intentionally messy.

I had fun with this prompt, allowing myself to work with imperfections and mistakes as they came. I stained my paper with tea, then drew my portrait using a water-soluble type of pencil, with my left (i.e. non-favoured) hand, without making any corrections—a technique I have used before that gets a messy and wobbly, though interesting, effect. I then worked into the pencil with water and watercolours, and added the writing (all left-handed) when that was dry. I think this is proof that a messy, haphazard technique can sometimes yield results.

I Am A Mess, She Said, Aqua Sketch pencil, watercolours, tea stains and felt tip pen on card

Day 12: Make something inside of a box.

I wanted to give myself a break and do something relatively easy with this one. I have a small jewellery box that has a mirror at the bottom, so I decided to put ‘myself’ in the box, by photographing the previous day’s messy self-portrait reflected in it. 

Self-Portrait in a Box

Day 13: Recreate a famous work of art in your own way.

I thought of painting something for this prompt, but knew that was going to take far too long, so I ended up keeping it simple. I’ve been reading Hayden Herrera’s biography of Frida Kahlo, so Frida is on my mind. I decided to use one of her self-portraits and transform it into a Warholesque piece.

Frida Kahlo à la Andy Warhol

Day 14: Combine two things that you don't normally find together.

You don’t often find Renaissance masterpieces hanging on a Hills Hoist.

Washing Line Botticelli

Day 15: Make something inspired by an important teacher in your life.
I had an English teacher who would sometimes wear a Mr. Grumpy t-shirt to school—when he wasn’t wearing his Shakespeare one, of course. 

Mr. Grumpy, pen and coloured pencil on paper


  1. Oh I LOVE everything you'd done here - but especially the secrets painting - brilliant on every level!! And I love the creative ways you interpreted the prompts - just wonderful, Therese!!

    1. Thank you, Claire. To be honest, I'm only really happy with the 'secrets' work and the self-portrait (though perhaps that just shows how self-critical I am). It has been challenging, coming up with something everyday, but a good test for me.

  2. Lovely 'There are secrets down there'....!

    Late Autumn blessings,
    Luna Crone

    1. Yes, that is my favourite piece so far. Thank you, Luna.


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