Saturday, February 19, 2011
Sometimes Art evolves from the most mundane of projects.
The mudworks story began when my husband and I bought a home that was built in the 1960’s with the idea of remodeling and updating it ourselves after we retired. For months we dedicated our evenings to watching DIY programs on television. We attended the ‘Parade of Homes’ in several cities, created folders with pages torn out of the home & garden magazines, and scouted the home improvement centers for ideas. To mentor the project, we enlisted the services of my brother, Bobby, a building contractor, who graciously gave us 6 months of his life.
Then, as seen on TV, the three of us spent weeks tearing out walls, and stripping the floors and rooms of cabinets, fixtures and appliances. Finally we were ready to begin learning the basics of framing, tiling, and… mudding. We soon discovered that a near-infinite variety of wall textures could be produced with simple brushes, trowels or sponges. (Anything but popcorn ceilings!)
When we began texturing a special wall in the master bedroom that was designed for a fireplace and flat panel TV, the artistic possibilities began to take hold. We had used simple putty knives to give the wall a rustic Etruscan veneer because it seemed so Italian with its open arch window into the walk-in closet. But it deserved more. So I fetched my knives and brushes and began texture-mud-painting a floral design above the fireplace. A little gold paint, applied with traditional antiqueing technique, and voila! My first mud painting.
Later, I used the same technique to create a pair of “pop-out” mud artworks for my bathroom. This time I found inspiration in the illustrations of the Czech artist, Mucha, who was fond of leafy boarders and arches. The subject material for my ‘mud’ pop-outs came from our own garden – dried bunches of Stonecrop Sedum and Lamb’s ears blossoms.
Cost: a couple quarts of texture mud. Artistic effect: priceless!