Say Hello to My Little Monkey

Painted Fur Close-Up

I’d say this doesn’t have anything really to do with the 64 Arts only, well… all of this is about living a more creative life and today’s post is all about making time for a little creative play and recharging relationships, so take from it what you will.

~~~oOo~~~

A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from the farmers’ market, I spied a new shop sign in Market Square. A short search later I’d found Firefly Pottery–a brand-spanking-new paint your own pottery shop and then some opening less than 5 minutes from my front door. Oh, this could be dangerous!

I love paint your own pottery shops! You walk in, pick your piece and your colors and then settle into a chair for however long it takes to take that green clay object to what it was meant to be. You pay the fee and wait a week and come back to a transformed piece that’s been glazed and fired to a very shiny finish. Pretty sweet!

Now, this new place had a bit of a twist hiding inside. Not only did they have a fairly well-stocked paint-your-own selection (there’s a cake stand there that I just HAVE to go back for one day when I’ve got plenty of time and a bit of extra cash), they also have a mosaic section as well as glass fusing! Even better? They will melt down your empty wine bottles for a price, making awesome platters or shallow bowls if you use one of their molds. Those two boxes of empties in my craft room might find their way to flat before too long!

But this day I was in the mood to paint. I was also in the mood for a little girl time so my BFF and I headed over after a late lunch, picked out our pieces (her a dragon, me a monkey–of course!) and spent the next 3 hours chatting and dabbing bits of paint around. Heaven!

Jenn & Teresa Paint Pottery
Jenn & Teresa Paint Pottery

Now, I went with a gal-pal but this is easily a prime alone-time activity. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron encourages individuals to have a weekly “artist’s date” where you go off someplace, by yourself, and do something that is enriching, inspiring or otherwise creativity-sparking. This isn’t just for capital-A-Artists, this is for anyone looking to get a little more creativity in their day-to-day.

Pottery not your thing? Quite understandable. Head out to a museum, a park, a stroll around a lake, take in a movie or treat yourself to a facial if what you’re crying out for is a little self-love. Heck, go to the dollar store and pick up some crayons and a coloring book or a little toy to amuse yourself with. Anything that helps to unlock that childlike glee and wonder in your life, certainly can’t hurt!

Painted Monkey

Obviously, for my day at Firefly Studio, I painted a little monkey figurine. They actually have 3 others, plus a monkey-shaped mosaic form, so the next several visits (oh yes, I’ll be going back) will be monkeys galore. In fact, when I went in to pick up this little guy, they recognized me as “the monkey lady.” Guess I made an impression, huh?

For those curious how I got the fur-like coloring on his body, here’s a how I did it:

  • Start with 3 shades of brown: light, medium and dark
  • Give the hands, feet and face 2 or 3 coats of the lightest color (the color deepens with each layer of glaze you add, so keep track of what you’ve gone over once already)
  • Give the body 2 coats of the medium brown
  • With the dark brown and a small brush, make short strokes along the surface of the “fur” sections, only 1 coat

Painted Fur Close-UpThis was totally an experiment and I really didn’t know if it would work until I went and picked the little guy up. Thankfully, the single-strength dark over the double-strength medium provided just enough contrast to create a great fur-like pattern without being too stark a contrast. Yay for experimentation!

Here’s a close-up of his fur, so you can better see what I mean. This layering technique could be used for all sorts of fur-type patterns from giraffe and leopard spots to tiger stripes to kitty fur. Also, creating visual interest in trees and grassy areas of a larger scene.

Got those creative juices pumping yet?

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