Inspiration for making art can sometimes strike unexpectedly and in unusual places. Who would have thought that a stump can turn into a canvas for creating beautiful nature portraits of our family? The idea came to my two-year-old, and I had nothing to do but follow his lead.
When my son first made two shaky circles on a piece of paper and happily proclaimed that it was “Mommy!”, my heart burst with happiness. Budster must have felt it for he has produced countless reditions of “mommies” since then. Some of them appeared unexpectedly, in places where I would least expect a portrait to spring up. Like this one! A stump-headed mommy.
Since he made this impromptu portrait, I couldn’t look at our stumps without chuckling. Oval-shaped stumps were perfect prompts for creating the faces of rustic woodland creatures, and I thought of just the right kind of materials to make them with.
On a nice autumn day, we set out on a walk. Budster was carrying a bag in which we were collecting vivid leaves, nuts and pinecones. We have been enjoying warm weather, and hardly any leaves have turned golden yet, so my boy was very excited whenever he spotted a red or a yellow splash in the green of the grass.
This is what we came home with: late flowers and fallen petals, rocks and pieces of bark, acorn caps and shiny chestnuts, and of course, many leaves. Oh, and a branch of grapes! Autumn is a good time for a leaf hunt, but if it isn’t autumn wherever you are, spring petals and summer blossoms could bring just as many bright colours. As a matter of fact, I’d love to try it again next spring.
Then we sat on the grass in the garden and made portraits. Every one of them was as quirky as a creature with pinecone ears can be!
Styling leafy hair was my favourite part. I think it could become a new autumn fashion, don’t you? Daddy came and make beards out of petals for some of the characters, so we soon had a family of stumpheads.
Before setting off to work on his masterpiece, Budster arranged and rearranged our treasures several times. Rocks and acorn caps were his favourite. Finally, he went to work on his autumn version of “Mommy”, while helping himself to the grapes.
Here is a new Mommy! If you wonder about the tribal facepaint under the eyes, I prefer to think of them as smiling wrinkles, but Budster confided to me that they were eyebrows.
In the end, we also created an abstract mandala-like design. Those stumps turned out to be versatile canvases.
From an invigorating search for early coloured leaves to relaxed crafting in the backyard, this project turned out to be a fun experience. Even our tennant squirrels were happy. We left our finds outside, and when we came back later to sort them out and take some inside, the chestnuts and walnuts were missing, with a couple of cracked shells lying in the grass. Not a big loss! There are a few glorious months of fall ahead of us, and I’m sure that by the end of November, all of our pockets will be full of little nature treasures.