Category Archives: Art and Nature

Painted Snails

This idea was inspired by the work of London street artist Slinkachu. Slinkachu finds snails roaming the streets of London, adds a little non-toxic paint to their shells, and returns them to their urban habitats unharmed and fully decorated. It’s all part of his rather humorous Inner City Snail Project where he pokes fun at the idea of “society’s relentless desire to appropriate every available inch of the cityscape for advertising, signage and even illegal graffiti.”

I’m not fond of snails because, well, they’re so slimy. And while I did eat them as a child, I’m working hard on trying to repress that memory. That means painting on a real, live snail is never going to happen. Children, however, are a fearless, inquisitive bunch. So if you happen to have some non-toxic paint and a few available snails in your backyard, it would be the coolest thing to paint them and watch them go about their business. I’ll just stick to the vacant shells. Continue reading

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Painted Sticks

Blending art and nature is a wonderful way to beautify your outdoor space, and it all begins with a little exploring. You’ll need nothing more than a sunny afternoon and some eager children willing to wander through your local park, ravine or woods to gather sticks for this project.

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Edible Portraits

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was a talented 16th century Italian artist whose work included court portraitist, decorator, and costume designer. It was, however, his unique and unusual portraits that he is best known for, where fruits, vegetables, plant material and other unexpected objects were assembled to create human representations. While this might seem out of the ordinary, his greatly admired paintings were made during the Renaissance, a period where lots of unusual explorations in art took place. Needless to say, this project was a hit. Kids loved the idea of making their art and eating it too.

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Filed under Art and Nature, Artists, food art, Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Stacking Stones

Humans have been stacking stones for an awfully long time. England’s Stonehenge was thought to be used as a burial site, and created as early as 2500BC. Inuksuks, made by the inhabitants of the Arctic region, were used as markers for travel routes and hunting grounds. Cairns have been found in Scandinavia as trail and sea marks, and in Somalia, to indicate tombs of former kings. Modern cairns are commonly used to indicate hiking trails, biking trails, or areas of possible danger. And some very patient people have even transformed rock balancing into performance art. These man-made stacks of stones and delicately balanced sculptures are truly fascinating things of beauty.

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Filed under Art and Nature, rock painting, sculpture

Suranimals

It’s spring, and little creatures are just about everywhere you look, hiding under piles of leaves, and resting under rocks and trees. Insects alone outnumber us, with an estimated 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 quintillion) of them worldwide, making them the most successful life form on the planet. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by coming up with a few imaginary ones of our own, inspired by the work of artist Jerome Couëlle .

Couëlle is a french born artist, who lives in both Toronto and Vermont. He uses the word suranimals to describe the wonderfully imaginative creatures that inhabit his surreal paintings. You’ll find fish strolling about on legs, smiling holstein cats, and multi-coloured insects with hats. I invite you to discover his magical world, which will surely inspire you to create some whimsical creatures of your own.

“My paintings are dedicated to the animals whom I call ‘suranimals’ for they are all knowing, to the children, to the artists, to the poets, the writers, the musicians who refuse to be chained to what used to be, and do not accept the world as their reason has taught them, but have freed their eyes to be the true window to peer into infinity.” Jerome Couëlle

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Filed under Art and Nature, Artists, Jerome Couëlle, painting

Autumn Leaves

I’ve filled a good 30 bags of leaves, and have chosen to ignore the remaining stragglers until spring. And by stragglers, I mean another 10 to 15 bags worth. My body aches, and while I thought I was in shape, apparently I’m not when it comes to raking. So I’m turning my attention to other autumn options, and found that a few pressed leaves and a little gold paint can look magical.

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Garden Art

Earlier this summer, I suggested spending some time hunting and gathering outdoors to collect items for future arts and crafts projects. This is one of those projects where you’ll be able to make use of your treasures. Many of your gathered items are typically found on the ground, only to be stepped on or tossed in the compost pile, so you may be surprised to see how this blending of nature and imagination can create some really interesting garden art.

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Filed under Art and Nature, recycling, sculpture