During this time of year, my home is surrounded by fields of wheat that’s almost as tall as I am. On my nature walks, this grass harbors fawns and their mothers, who sometimes bound away when I come upon them. They disappear in this grass momentarily, reappearing with each leap toward safety. When the wind blows, the individual blades of grass sway together in waves not unlike that of the ocean, or a lion’s mane. So when I saw Rae Missigman’s latest Art Lesson, Nature’s Stamps, my mind immediately went to using the wheat somehow in a mixed-media art project.
“Nature is filled with so many interesting and beautiful shapes that can inspire artistic creations,” Rae says. It’s no wonder that we find ways to let it inspire us. Have you ever incorporated natural elements in your art? Let me tell you, it’s quite an experience.
When I first read Nature’s Stamps, I made a mental note to follow the exact steps a little later. With the wheat being mown by neighboring farmers daily, I knew my time was limited to use it somehow, so I made this my immediate priority. I brought a pair of scissors with me in case the grass was tough to pull or break, and stepped outside into the bright sunshine, already feeling closer to nature and getting excited about this project.
I walked to the edge of the field, feeling the morning’s dew on my shoes and considering which paints and what size art journal to use as I bent down to snip the grass. The first thing I noticed was the smell–although my home has acres of wheat growing around us and I’ve walked through it many times, I had never smelled it freshly cut. It was delightful. I gathered a handful of the grass blades and returned to the house, already appreciating this experience.
I envisioned using the top of the wheat, which is covered in seeds, by placing it on my art journal page and then painting over it, creating a negative print. But after mixing the perfect green and attempting this, I realized that the seeds were too small to hold their shape against the paint. (HINT: Rae explains in detail how to use a feather to create a stamp!) This left me with an interesting abstract design that I continued to play with by adding white lines with an old credit card dipped in paint. I might eventually add some text or dip an old tooth brush in some blue paint and and use it to create specks of blue, representing the sky, but for now I’m just going to let it rest and see if a different idea comes to mind.
What natural elements are accessible to you? Even if you’re not in the middle of acres of rolling hills, I’m sure that a neighborhood walk will bring you face to face with interesting leaves, flower petals, and more.
“Feathers, leaves, and even twigs have found their way into my studio for years,” Rae says. “I love the surprising results when using bits of nature as stamps, masks, and traceable shapes. The cut ends of small branches are one of my favorite organic tools, and make a wonderful addition to any artist’s tool kit. These branches, with their unique ring patterns, yield one-of-a-kind marks that add a striking quality to any creative work.”
Discover Nature’s Stamps here, where you can download Rae’s complete step-by-step lesson for using natural ephemera in a unique mixed-media art project. Half the fun of this is getting outside just to collect the materials. I know it’ll leave you inspired.
Your nature-loving friend,
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