I painted this tile (inspired by Monet's Japanese Bridge over Water Lilies) and am using it as a spoon rest near my stove. It needs some felt pads on the bottom, which I plan to put on this week.
If you'd like to make one, it's quite simple.
one blank 4x4 white tile (or get a few; they're cheap and you will get hooked on this project!)
assorted acrylic paint tubes (smallest ones) in white, grey, yellow, green, blue, and magenta
small, flat paintbrush
cover for table surface
smock or old shirt you don't mind getting paint on (acrylic is hard to wash out of fabric)
felt square (4x4)
I started with the trees by mixing blues and yellows first to make various greens. (You can buy greens if you'd prefer.) . Better yet, use the impressionists' method of visually mixing colors by placing them side by side with dashes and dots. That is, magenta next to blue will appear purple. Green next to yellow will "read" as yellow green.
Don't make any judgments on your piece as you go. It will turn out beautifully.
After I did the trees, I worked on the water and the lilies. Look closely: there are no "real" lilies or other flowers. The dashes of color only give the "impression" of flowers on the water and banks of the stream.
Next, paint the sun. Again, it's just dashes of color, not a sun "shape," per se. If you are trying to convey and earlier time of day, make the sun area broader and lighter. You can lighten by using a lighter shade of the same color, or add white to the yellow first, although doing so can sometimes "muddy" the effect. I prefer to use various shades of color side by side.
When the background is dry (in less than a half hour, usually) , paint the bridge.
In the upper third of the tile, paint three grey arcs, equally spaced. Then paint grey vertical bars on the bridge, Then paint a thin white line to the left of each of those grey space bars. (It's okay if the grey mixes with the white a bit.) It makes the space bars appear to glisten in the sun.
When the whole thing is dry, sign and date your piece with a fine black Sharpie.
Once you are satisfied with the painting, it's time to bake the tile. It must be baked in order to seal the color. Otherwise, the color will come right off.
Here's what to remember: COOL HOT COOL
1. Place tile in a COOL oven. DO NOT PLACE IN HOT OVEN OR IT WILL SHATTER!
2. Heat it to 350 degrees.
3. Bake for 30 minutes.
4. Turn oven off but leave tile in there and don't touch it!!!
DO NOT REMOVE IT UNTIL OVEN IS COMPLETELY COOL OR IT WILL SHATTER!
To use it as a spoon rest or coaster, be sure to glue a big square of felt or felt pads on the bottom side.
Tile will scratch things so keep it away from glass or porcelain cooktops and wood furniture until you've put the pads on it.
Acrylic is very forgiving, which I love. It mixes easily, wipes easily off when wet, can be painted over when dry (if you don't like the color after it's dry), it washes off brushes with soap and water, it's inexpensive, comes in a vast array of color, and gives a more pleasing result than tempera. (If you're working with kids under age 6, tempera is fine, but it has a dull appearance by comparison.) I have found that kids love the "professional" looking result (ie shiny and not "schoolish") and thus feel that much prouder of their art.