The solid grayness of the recently painted concrete floor in the basement didn't seem interesting enough for my new craft room. It beckoned my imagination like a blank canvas. At first, sponge painting seemed to be the answer. I hurried down to the local paint store to buy the paint and a natural sponge used for this type of project, but when I returned home and tested my idea out on a piece of cardboard it looked more like army camouflage than an inspiring design. What to do?!?
I decided to sleep on it and as usual when I'm involved in a project, I awakened in the middle of the night with an idea. What if I did block prints similar to a friend of mine who makes beautifully hand printed fabrics? The answer brought a new question - what kind of block prints? All at once a memory came back to me - the Aboriginal dot paintings that fascinated me when we saw the exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum a couple of years ago. I could easily cut circles out of sponges and use them to make dots.
Although spontaneity in art making is not one of my strengths this project would require letting go of the outcome. A good exercise for a perfectionist. I fashioned a stamp pad out of a piece of wood covered with an old t-shirt, poured the first color into a paint tray, and armed with a large round sponge started to work. Stamping the dots randomly onto the smooth floor brought immediate satisfaction as an undulating design began to appear. Taken over by the process the first color, an olive brown like the walls, was finished before I could even think about a plan.
I could hardly wait for the paint to dry so I could start on the next color. When the paint was just barely dry, I started to fret a bit about what to do this time around. A smaller dot seemed appropriate for the moss green used for the second pass over the floor. Deciding to "just go with the flow," I started filling in spaces made by the first color and connecting blocks of green dots randomly with other blocks of green dots. Once again I was at the door to the room before I knew it.
This morning, the neutral colors seemed to need a touch of yellow to perk up the design. A sticky backed felt pad (the kind used for protection on the bottom of a chair leg) attached to a piece of wood made just the right size smaller dot. I am quite satisfied with the project so far. I can see why the native people of Australia were inspired to make dot paintings because the results on my floor look something like animal skins.
I have a smaller dot and a can of coral paint standing ready just in case the design tells me it isn't quite finished. One of the hardest parts about creating something is knowing when to stop.
PS - The coral color was just too tantalizing to resist.