Personal Alchemy: Layer, Mix, Blend Your Way to Joy

Much of my life is not about single elements. It’s about choosing, combining, mixing, blending. Whether it’s clothing, or meals, life is about blending individual, separate elements to suit your taste. My husband is a personal chef–he cooks for people who don’t have time or the talent to cook.  He cooks for us, too, healthy, fresh meals. After a few days of original meals, I tackle leftovers, combining vegetables, starches, and meats into new combinations. They never taste anything like the original, but carry the memory of the original dish into the new one. It doesn’t taste like leftovers, it tastes new.

A new poem from found words

When I start a collage, I combine paints and glazes into different colors than those in the original tube. I use sponges and cheesecloth and tape to create a mix of textures. I cover parts in gesso, then repaint it.

Collage takes scraps and snatches of words and images and transforms them to a personal vision of the world or an idea. Different colors, and combinations create a new whole–a whole new piece of art. And it doesn’t stop there. I also create Found Poetry–new poetry made from words and phrases cut from magazines and catalogs. (You can see a tutorial and read the poem here.)

Perfumes hold special magic for me. I am a lover of niche fragrances–the scents not found in department stores, and often scents that are unusual, different, and not popular. They are not related to the fragrance fad of the moment (fruity-floral is the current rage), instead they are created by “noses” (a perfume designer) who want to recreate a memory, emotion, or sense of time and place. Even these scents, however, are often not complete. Serge Lutens may have built the perfect winter fragrance in Arabie, but it leans toserge lutens arabie the sweet side, and while I love dates and figs, I wish there were a bit more edge to it. No problem. Simply put on the edgy, gingery body lotion by DSH, Gingember, and there is a perfect blend.

It’s not that one thing isn’t enough, it is the joy of something new, something beyond what is offered, something that you create yourself. Whether it is art, food, or fragrance, the joy of layering, blending and mixing is a delightful alchemy that creates imaginative gold from the ordinary parts of life.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. Image:  Serge Lutens Arabie:   (c) 2007 -10 All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Personal Alchemy: Layer, Mix, Blend Your Way to Joy

  1. I have been mixing and blending as well. To begin my next creative journey, I have been cleaning out my studio. The next step, of course, was to paint it a happier color. I decided to paint 3 walls a medium-light shade of blue sky, and make the fourth wall a deeper shade for contrast. The deeper color was not dark enough, so back to the paint store with the remaining paint to create an entirely new color of my own. It is up ~ and exactly what I wanted. Such fun!

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