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Magritte Inspired

Well, it has been a full year since the shutdown and there is no other way to describe this experience as surreal. It has been as irrational as any of our wildest dreams and now a year later, we are left a bit disjointed and baffled at the direction our “reality” has taken. On that note, lets look at Surrealist art this week and the artist, Rene Magritte, who used art to challenge the observers’ perceptions of reality. Take a look at his work and notice his use of ordinary objects placed in the most unusual contexts. His art is clever, humous, ironic, and often bizarre. Magritte’s The Return was the inspiration behind this week’s art project. This is a great lesson to include art terminology wherever possible, such as analogous colors, contrast, and landscape.
Materials: 2 pieces of heavy weight (or watercolor) paper in whatever size you wish (one can be ½ the size of the other) dark blue or light blue paint, white oil pastel crayon, Mod Podge, paintbrush, assorted tissue paper colors (try for 3 analogous colors- use a color wheel to help)

  • Draw the shape of a bird in flight on the smaller piece of paper. Check the internet for templates if you have trouble drawing freehand.
  • Decide if you want your bird to represent day or night and paint it the corresponding shade of blue based on your chosen time of day. Allow it to dry.
  • Once dry, using your white oil pastel, draw either clouds to show daylight, or stars and a moon to show evening.
  • Select 3 pieces of tissue paper in analogous shades. Look at a color wheel to see and understand the meaning of analogous. Rip the tissue paper into strips. If you go with the “grain” you should be able to get longer strips as opposed to little bits.
  • Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge (make sure you are working on a “messy mat” because it is near impossible to clean up this product once it dries on your table) and lay the strips down horizontally in the same way clouds would move across the sky. First lay down the sky (I chose sunset colors) and next do the land (in shades of green). Try to cover all the white of the paper. If you’re going with a night sky, then use dark blues and purples for the tissue paper. It’s ok for the pieces to hang off the edge of the paper. You will trim the edge clean once it dries.
  • Allow it to dry completely and trim the edges of tissue paper that hang off the end for a clean edge.
  • Apply a thin second layer of Mod Podge all over the tissue paper. *Note: with this top coat make sure to start in the middle of the tissue paper strips and brush outward in a gentle, almost more of a tapping fashion to prevent crumbling up the edges. Also know that no matter if you use a gloss or matte finish (it comes in both) it will first look awful and that you covered it with a thick, white, gluey mess. But it will soon dry clear and will give it a nice, varnished look.
  • Cut out the bird and glue it to the center of your background.