Sharing is part of art making and I have shown you several projects before that were part of The Sketchbook Project. Apart from sketchbooks this project also organizes other art events, and The Canvas Project was one of these.
It was described as: “a visual encyclopedia compiled by creative people around the world, completed on mini canvases and crowd sourced by a global art community”. What this means in fact was that you signed up, and were send a 4 x 4 canvas accompanied by a word. The task was to art on the canvas using that word as inspiration. Once finished the canvas is to be returned to the Brooklyn Art Library where it will be included in a book featuring all 2000 words. Afterwards each artist will receive another artist’s canvas back in a worldwide swap. That was the main attraction for me.
It sounded like fun and I signed up, not once but twice! Then I waited for my canvasses to arrive and discover what words would come my way. Sadly sign-ups are now closed (there were only 2000 word tickets available) but you could of course do the same by randomly opening a dictionary or encyclopedia with your eyes closed and put your finger down anywhere on the page and use that word as your starting point.
The first word that came my way was: Boffo. And no, I didn’t have an inkling either. The word didn’t feature in any of my reference books so I did what I should have done immediately and googled it. This is what appeared: “Boffo is an informal term meaning "very good". In show business, boffo can mean a hit show, as in "boffo box office". This use of the term is believed to have originated with the Hollywood trade magazine Variety. All definitions I found emphasized its connection to the theatre, so that was my starting point.
This is how I made my Boffo canvas:
1. Gesso the canvas using gold gesso.
2. Add red and yellow paint and then remove it with a baby wipe through Gwen Lafleur's Art Deco Bookplates stencil.
3. Add turquoise paint and repeat step 2.
4. Add collage. I used an image from the theatre (from an Alpha Stamps collage sheet) as well as a vintage dictionary definition of Theatre, and a piece of transparent fabric. All were adhered using matte medium.
5. Using gold paste and Gwen Lafleur's Art Deco Medallion stencil the circular lines of the stencil so that the figure is framed within the circle.
6. Outline with a black marker (I used a Stabilo All black pencil).
7. Add gold stars through June Pfaff Daley's Stylized Fireworks stencil using a dimensional gold paste.
It came as quite a relief when I at least recognized my second canvas’s word and it also immediately brought imagery to mind. This is the definition: “A vain and conceited man; a dandy.” I thought of a man with a chicken’s head! Here is how this canvas came to life:
8. Gesso your canvas using black gesso.
9. Using pink, yellow and orange paint and Terri Stegmiller's Scribble Blooms. Remove the paint through the stencil with a baby wipe.
10. Add turquoise paint and repeat step 9, this time using Carol Wiebe's Intersected Moon stencil.
11. Using black paint and Terri Stegmiller's Merry Go Round stencil. Cover the canvas with black and remove the paint through the stencil.
12. Add collage. I used a vintage image of a man, with a chicken head instead of his own one, a chicken with a jester’s head (an alternative definition for coxcomb) as well as the vintage dictionary definition of coxcomb. All were adhered with matte medium.
13. Add some chicken footprints with white paint and the medium stencil from Mary Beth's Private Collection 16.4.
14. Repeat step 7 but with silver paint.
15. Outline various elements with black and white markers.
© Frieda Oxenham 2018. To see more of Frieda's work, please visit her BLOG.