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My Little House Design: Go Art Yourself

Monday, August 6, 2012

Go Art Yourself

DIY art is all the rage these days. Blogs started the trend and Pinterest popularizes everything so no self-respecting crafter/creative person hasn't tried to make their own art. I have tried my hand at painting but never successfully so why do I keep trying? The answer is simple, I have no idea, but here again. This time I did try and prepare myself a little more. Here are my two big inspirations for this art project. 1) Jordan at Oh Happy Day! and her post on DIY abstract art. (http://ohhappyday.com/2011/07/how-to-make-abstract-art/)
I mean, hello?! Amazing. But her husband is an artist so that's kind of cheating, right? At least that is what I tell myself. 2) A Beautiful Mess did a cool thing by putting vinyl stickers on top of a cheap painting and painting over it so when the stickers are pulled of the picture shows through. Such a great idea: (http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/08/song-lyric-wall-art-diy-project.html)
These two inspirations have been floating around in my head for a while when one day... BOOM... they collided. I decided to do a quote with an abstract painting around it. Brilliant. I like to think it's an original idea but nothing is original any more. The quote I chose is by J.R.R. Tolkien, "Not all those who wander are lost." Such a great quote. I went to Michael's and with a 40% off coupon I got a huge canvas. Not sure of the exact dimensions but it's about 2.5' x 3' and it cost (with the coupon) about $25. At this point I'm in deep. I've bought a huge canvas and all the cooresponding materials (vinyl letters and paint) so this painting better be good. No pressure. I started by using painter's tape to make a straight line across the canvas. I played around with the letters some to decide what words I wanted where. And then I carefully applied them.
I was worried about the letters being straight and the words being spelled correctly but little did I know this was the easiest part. Next I had to actually make it look good.
After removing all the painter's tape I went over all the letters with my fingers just make sure there were no bubbles where paint could seep in. On Jordan's blog she suggests 'toning' the canvas first which means to coat the whole thing in a sort of base coat. I used yellow, white and little black to make a grey shade.
After the whole canvas was toned I start color blocking.
I know what you are thinking, "this girl's crazy, that painting is hideous." Yeah, well we all can't be "phenomenal" artists like Luca on HGTV's Design Star. The next 27 layers of paint were basically white and really washed out shades of the existing colors. I layered and layered and layered until my eyes went blurry and I had to go to bed. Here are few of the stages:
When I'd finally had enough I took off the stickers and leaned it against the wall where I want it to go, just to test it out. I decided to sleep on it because I wasn't sure.
The good news is that the stickers really held up under all the paint. I like that there is just a tiny bit of leakage around the edges. It looks very cool.
As strange as it sounds I thought about this painting all day at work and when I got home I decided I wasn't done with it yet. It needed more white. Here's where I make a horrible confession. The worst possible offense for an artist to make. Actually I don't know what the worst possible offense an artist can commit but this has to be up there, I mixed water colors, acrylics, and worst of all... interior house paint! Yeah, I know, totally bananas. I started out with just watercolors but I misjudged how much paint I would need to cover such a large canvas so I started to mix in acrylics. But then I ran out of white in both and I really needed more white and I am super lazy so I used off-white wall paint. Insane. But it actually kind of worked... that is until my 57th layer where it started to get really globby in places. Then I did another really terrible thing, I started wiping sections of it off with paper towel. When will the madness end?
This is a particularly bad section. Artist of the year, right here. Finally, I'd had enough and my poor canvas was sagging in the middle from too much paint and I was sweaty and grumpy and well, it is what it is:
Is this the best painting in the world? That's a stupid question. Of course, not. But I think I might like it. So cheers to a semi-but-not-complete DIY art failure!

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