Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Rock, Paper, Scissors – The Creative Process

I’ve noticed that readers of my posts want to understand the creative process that takes me from idea to finished painting. When I recently, posted about a mixed media painting I created for a local art show, I didn’t include those details so here is how Rock, Paper, Scissors: Collaboration – It’s A Draw, came into being.

Our local art association, Muskoka Arts and Crafts, runs an annual themed show in February every year. For 2016 we were challenged to create works that incorporated the children’s game, Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Ideas bounced around in my head for days until I finally settled on the idea of creating a landscape using real rocks, paper and scissors in the composition. I don’t like competition so I wanted a way to use the theme to reflect cooperation or collaboration – showing how working together is a better way. Searching through my hundreds of photos, I found one that fit my idea of a rock-lined stream with trees in the background where the elements of the composition worked together – one thing didn’t compete against another.


A photo I took of a stream near my home.

A quick shopping trip to the dollar store provided the scissors, stones and tissue paper I would use. Then I created a VERY rough sketch of the composition – I didn’t need detail – just an outline of where to place things.


Next I affixed the scissors and stones to a gessoed canvas using an acrylic gel medium. At this point I was ready to throw out the project and start again. I didn’t even take a photo. The canvas looked like something I might have done in kindergarten class!

But I prevailed and grabbed white tissue paper that I applied over the entire canvas, scissors and stones using the same acrylic gel medium. I could see something happening now although I wasn’t quite sure where I would go from here. No photos of this stage either.

Then I got an idea. How about I cover it all with a fresh coat of gesso! I got to it and soon I had an interesting relief on canvas.


I could have left it there but I love colour so at the suggestion of a friend I lightly brushed paint on the raised edges of the scissors, stones and paper.


I liked it. It was interesting and a very different piece for me. Yet, it felt unfinished. So, the next day I laid on the colour. The name came easily with the tongue-in-cheek addition of It’s a Draw.


Rock, Paper, Scissors: Collaboration – It’s A Draw, Mixed Media, 24 x 13 inches, Unframed, $250 CDN.   Copyright Wendie Donabie

The process of creating this painting took me to new places and stretched my creative muscles. I stuck with it when at certain points I wanted to throw the project in the garbage and walk away.

Who knows what I’ll come up with next!

To view my portfolio of work, please visit ://



  1. Something outstanding I am sure. Your work is amazing.

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