Finding Beauty in Art With Ordinary Things

*A guest post by Victoria Rose Martin.

Don’t you love September? The sun begins dipping a little lower in the sky and the weather gets a little bit cooler. Sun-kissed summer days are now becoming a distant memory. Capturing moments in the past are a reason why scrapbooking and selfie taking are so popular. We humans have a desire to hold onto heartfelt memories. This month in honor of the passing of summer I have 5 ideas for art projects to help you keep a little bit of the great outdoors and transition you into an autumn state of mind.

1. While the flowers in your garden are still in bloom, why preserve a fresh bouquet to brighten even the darkest winter day. One of the more nontoxic techniques of flower drying uses Borax and cornmeal.

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Borax website is here.

Simply mix the Borax and cornmeal, cover fresh flowers and leave to sit for 10 – 14 days. Visit the Borax website for complete instructions. When the flowers are ready place them in a mason jar to help you remember long summer days. You could even use a leaf or flower as a stencil and paint the jar for a pop of color. Or if you don’t have the time or patience to wait 2 weeks, Modge Podge a variety of leaves onto a mason jar and insert a tea candle. If you’re like me and live in a warmer climate where leaves don’t change, a trip to the local craft store provides a nice selection of artificial leafs. You can fill mason jars with sand or pebbles for variation in candle height. Think of how lovely these would look outside your front door for Halloween.

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2. If you’re lucky enough to have an herb garden make ceramic tags with impressions of plants. Wildflowers, falling leaves or acorns would all make perfect specimens for pressing into clay. Roll out slabs of clay and cut into small tiles. Gently lay the foliage onto the clay and press them with a rolling pin. Poke a hole into the clay large enough so the tile can be threaded onto twine or sisal. Use as an accent on mason jars, signs for the garden, or create Christmas ornaments. Don’t have access to a kiln? Use polymer clay instead. Larger leafed plants could be used to make small plates and trays. I found these ideas on Pinterest.

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Screenshot of Pinterest page leaf prints.

3. Create whimsical artwork from objects found in nature. One of my favorite go-to resources is the book Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand.

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Find the books here.

If you’re not familiar with the book you really don’t know what you’ve been missing. Each page wonderfully illustrates fairy outfits made from items growing outside your front door.

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Detail from Faireality, Eugenie Bird.

After thumbing through the pages you’ll never look at feathers and acorns the same.

4. Before the weather turns bad, rock some paint by painting some rocks. When I travel I usually bring a handful of stones home with me. Stones are primal; they connect us to the earth. Use paint or pens to decorate river rocks, beach glass, or steppingstones. Need ideas on what to draw, check out Zen Mandalas by Suzanne McNeill

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Cover art of Zen Mandalas.

There are people who sell their creations painted on rocks in their online shops. Perhaps you could be next? It could be a long winter, so fill your pockets with stones on your next walk and get your stash ready.

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Screenshot from an Etsy shop offering painted sea glass.

5. And finally, have you got a yard covered with dead leaves? And are you already planning your holiday gatherings? Well, grab a rake and search for leaves with interesting colors and shapes. Use paint pens write or draw on the surface with random patterns and dots. You can also write names on them and use them as place cards at your next autumn dinner party. Or glue the leaf onto a blank card for a unique autumn invitation. A quick Google search can provide a wealth of great ideas.

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Screenshot of painted leaves on Pinterest.

Remember to always find the beauty in the everyday items that surround you. What you might have once considered boring or mundane might be the next big trend in the art world. Remember to have fun while making art and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures and post them on your blog or other social media.

For more art ideas, check out these titles:
Zen Doodle Oodles of DoodlesDoodles Unleashed

Victoria Rose Martin is an artist and designer currently living in South Florida. She is the Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. You can visit her website at: VictoriaRoseMartin.com.

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