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A Mixed Media Contract with the Universe

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

The muse had me on a need to know basis for this piece of art. I only knew what was happening in that moment, without any idea of what the next layer would hold. I was so in the dark, I didn’t know that it would become a gift for my daughter as she graduates and heads out to build her adult life.

 

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

This started with an imperfect scrap of wood from the garage.

Once gesso’d, the rainbow was applied. Did I have any idea where it was going? Nope. That was need to know and the muse was positive I did not need to know that.
Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

How was framing the corners with my Arched Fountains stencil, inspired by the fountains at Versailles, fit into the plan? Not for me to know. The muse probably made a good call keeping me in the dark. If I know too much too soon, my logical left brain has a tendency to over think it.

Since the plan was still a secret, I followed any impulses that popped up, like using the castle tower mask, from my Once Upon a Time stencil set.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

Since it is a mask, the castle towers will actually be the color of what is below it. Logical left brain began to get dramatic and concerned that this was a big step and might mess it up since there was no going back from adding the teal.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

As the mask was lifted off, my logical left brain really wanted to know where this was going. The muse was still keeping the plan to herself. I think the muse was enjoying torturing Logical Lefty with the secrecy.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

The towers were just floating there, so I anchored them with a bit of the teal loosely sponged on the bottom. The muse was almost ready to clue me in on the meaning to this piece.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

When the Sign Here was added, the muse finally decided it was time to reveal to me where this piece was going. As my oldest heads out into the adult world, I wanted her to remember that she is making a choice with every action, and that not making a choice is actually a choice.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

There is a sort of contract that exists between us and the world. We have the power to make decisions to choose the way in which we live our lives, how we react to the world, and what we focus on day to day. We can’t control the world or others reactions and choices, but we can choose what we do.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

The stars were a reminder to focus on the joyful things that make your heart shine since those things help you get through the tough times. Things are definitely not always easy in life, in fact some days they are incredibly difficult, but there is always a choice in how we react to what happens and where we put our focus.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

With a fountain pen, I filled the center with my wishes for her journey along with the mushy mom stuff like why I love her and how proud I am of the young woman she has become.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

When I gave her this gift, I had her take a pen and sign it. After all, she is now a full blown adult and can legally sign contracts. Every day as she walks by this on her wall, she is reminded that she can build the life she wants one choice at a time.

Stenciled mixed media art that turned out to have a special meaning for my graduating daughter.

Here are the supplies I used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!


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  • Nanci May 30, 2017, 1:38 pm

    What a great gift! The kind I like to receive and to give!❤️??

  • Lynda Shoup May 31, 2017, 8:03 am

    Beautiful piece of art and backstory. Thank you for writing about it in such an easy to read/relate way. It gives such meaning and dimension to my experience of seeing how you created this piece.

  • Diane May 31, 2017, 8:31 pm

    Wonderful. And good advice. All the best to your daughter as she starts on the next leg of her journey.

  • Bree June 1, 2017, 4:25 pm

    Beautiful post! Love the art AND the write-up–what a great reminder, not only for the newly minted adult, but for all of us “professional” adults too! 😉 Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your creativity! Tell Logical Lefty to take a hike more often lol

  • Connie Dunn June 3, 2017, 12:23 pm

    I love it, what a wonderful gift for your daughter!

  • Margaret Elkins June 3, 2017, 12:36 pm

    What a great message for sending your daughter out into the world. Bet you are a trip as a Mom. Congratulations to both of you.

  • Beth June 3, 2017, 12:51 pm

    At a first glance at the castle towers, I thought “birthday candles!” for your daughter. : D

    Wonderful piece.

  • Martha Geist June 3, 2017, 1:12 pm

    Carolyn, dare I call you a friend? I love you and your cheery spirit. I certainly realize the ups and downs of everyday life, good and bad. I have 3 grown “kids” of my own. Well, 4 if you count my husband, who is getting younger and more needy every day it seems! Not in such a good way…
    My point is that I love how you incorporate your philosophy into your ramblings. You may not realize it, but while you are describing products, processes and the like, you also expose your stream of consciousness. Your values, love of family, outlook on the world and desire to inspire are all evident and for me, personally. I am always lifted whenever I open my mail and find you there. Thank you for the spark of happy positivity you send thru the universe! Love, Martha!

  • CHERYL June 3, 2017, 2:07 pm

    HOW WAS THE BEGINNING RAINBOW BACKGROUND DONE? I DID NOT SEE A LINK TO THAT

  • Ellen June 3, 2017, 2:55 pm

    What a lovely gift for your college graduate daughter, Carolyn! Thank you for sharing your process, too! It gives me, a ‘still-feel-like-a-m.m.-newbie’ hope and courage. Blessings <3

  • Jean Marmo June 3, 2017, 4:28 pm

    This is just such fun. How wonderful to make it for your daughter!

  • Cheryl D. June 3, 2017, 4:55 pm

    Carolyn, what a fabulous message to send your daughter out into the world with. And what a wonderful way to convey it…artwork that comes from your heart and hand. She is lucky to have such a great mom. Congrats and good luck to you both.

  • Boo Martin June 3, 2017, 5:29 pm

    What a great piece.

  • Nadine Bukovic June 3, 2017, 6:27 pm

    What a wonderful and meaningful gift to give your daughter. Wishing her the best of everything as she enters this new chapter in her life!

  • Gracie June 3, 2017, 8:25 pm

    What a wonderful piece of art and a reminder to your daughter that you love and trust her to follow her dreams. Good job, Mom.

  • Marie Cimpl June 4, 2017, 7:47 am

    Thanks again for sharing your spirit with us. Speaking volumes to us in the most heartfelt ways. It also reminded me of how much thought of the intended person often goes into a piece….not necessarily obvious to the eye since so much comes from the soul but that truly is the gift. A playful piece but loaded with message. Congrats to you and your daughter….a special occasion indeed!

  • Kymona Tracey June 4, 2017, 8:24 am

    Totally awesome!! I can’t wait to play with my supplies and give this a try!!

  • kim June 4, 2017, 10:35 am

    What a sweet meaningful gift … love the steps and took a look at your stencil on the website and wow, what a unique/clever stencil … endless possibilities! Thanks for sharing

  • Terrie Waterstraut June 4, 2017, 6:40 pm

    Thank you for showing that you need not know where a piece is going in order to work on it and let it develop a life of its own!

  • Kim June 4, 2017, 8:19 pm

    I’ve enjoyed your writings and your gift to your daughter. I truly enjoy your positive, upbeat demeanor. Thank you for all that you add to this artist community.
    Best Regards,
    Kim