Start with a Thrift Store Painting

I have found that I do my best creative thinking when I make up little challenges. It’s sort of like looking in the refrigerator and challenging yourself to make a new recipe based only on what you have.

So I make a lot of challenges to myself to “start with” something, and just see where the art ends up taking me. Last year, I got it stuck in my head that I wanted to do a collage/mixed media piece that began its life as a thrift store painting. You never know what you are going to find at a thrift store, so I had no preconceived ideas about size, color, or subject matter. It was a lovely day, so I decided to walk to my favorite local thrift shop. Along the way, I noticed, not for the first time, that there was some interesting trash along the side of the road. I got to the thrift store and found this lovely still life with daisies – not professionally painted – yellows and avocado green (which reminded me of my mother’s kitchen). I don’t remember the other choices on that day, but this one was perfect. I had the basis for my “start with a thrift store painting” challenge.

Walking home, with this painting in an oversized trash bag, I decided to add to my personal challenge – that’s the fun part – you get to make the rules (and break them!) I decided to pick up some of the random trash that had caught my eye along the roadside. There were random bits and pieces, but the pièce de résistance was the smashed metal lid from a 5 gallon bucket of paint or tar.

And that’s how it started! I added to the painting, and the trash, with some of my vintage ephemera, including old magazines and my dad’s high school yearbook. And a flower was born, on top of an old, worn painting of flowers!

My point is that you can start anywhere, make your own rules, and get to places that you would never expect. That’s the amazing thing about creativity. So, I challenge you to “start with” something. I’ve got some idea starters on my free Creative Bingo Card download – use these as starters and to make your own rules! Sign up for the email list and you can begin the Bingo Creativity Challenge today. Even more fun – invite a friend to participate in the challenge and see who can get a BINGO first!

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