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Arts and Eats

Abstract Expressionist Placemats

Join the art movement characterized by spontaneity and the expression of emotion in painting. Be inspired by abstract expressionist and native Virginian Judith Godwin and bring this dramatic art form to your family table.
What You Need:
Any color poster board (cut to placemat size, 20 x 12-in. Rectangular, 12-in. Round, or oval)
Acrylic or tempera paint in at least three colors
Paintbrushes in assorted sizes
Water containers
Clear contact paper
Pattern scissors (available at any craft store)
Newspaper or other splat-mat





What You do:

1. Lay newspaper down to keep your work area clean.

2. Use scissors to cut a placemat-sized rectangle from your poster board. (Patterned scissors create a fun edge.)






3. Notice the shapes and thick brush strokes used by artist Judith Godwin. Try various color combinations and shapes using sweeping gestural motions. It is okay for colors to overlap.

4. Allow the paint time to dry.

5. Cut two pieces of contact paper a few inches larger than your poster board artwork (a 22 x 14-in rectangle for example).





6. Follow the instructions on the contact paper and starting at the edge, carefully adhere the fi rst sheet to the top of your dry painting. Rub out any bubbles or creases (a plastic gift card is good for this) before carefully attaching the second sheet of contact paper to the back of your poster board.







7. Finally, trim the contact paper edges away from the poster board.

Take it further: Make an entire set of placemats for a special family event. Remember, Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

Gesture: Judith Godwin and Abstract Expressionism on display at VMFA now through January 27, 2013.

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