Thursday, August 29, 2013

The perks of being impatient

I recently finished an Enormous Painting Project. A year ago (or maybe it was two, I claim memory loss due to old age and/or paint fumes), I painted a large portion of my downstairs in a beautiful creamy, yellowish color that looks like the pale yellow-white of real butter. And after a year (or 2), I still really love the color, so I had a dream of seeing that color on the rest of my house. The beautiful yellow cream with an occasional accent wall in a deep, rich color. I stared at the increasingly nasty builder white walls and dreamed. Until last week, when we had just started school and volleyball and were deep in the stress of starting the busy dance schedule, because that's the most logical time to start a major painting project (insert sarcasm here). But the project is done, I had fun doing it, and it looks beee-you-ti-full. The hallway and the stairwell and most of the loft are creamy yellow and the large back wall of the loft is a deep navy blue. I'll show you pictures next time, but for now I wanted to show you another project that I tacked onto the end of the Enormous Painting Project. The large back wall of the loft is a wide open expanse of navy blue. It's the perfect look for that wall, but it's a very large wall with no windows (it's the inside wall of our townhouse) and I just kept looking at it and thinking how it really needed a really large *something* on the wall. A month ago we were in the Ikea in Dallas and I saw an gorgeous piece of art that would look awesome on that wall.

Isn't that lovely? It ties in the blue from the loft and the fallish tones from downstairs. And it's HUGE. So I drove across town to our Ikea and...they didn't have it. Gloom, despair, and agony on me! Deep dark depression! Excessive misery! Ok, not really. But I was frustrated. I walked out thinking that I could just order the print or I *could* go next door to Hobby Lobby and see what they had. And I had a 40% off coupon there so it was worth a shot. I walked through the store and looked at everything until I found this. 

Very awesome. Beautiful. Perfect. Except that it was way too small. But then I decided to go for a meandering walk all through the store and loaded up random items into my cart then hauled it all home.

I enlisted my oldest daughter's help between school assignments this is how you can accomplish what we did.

Mix up a few pale shades with white, brown, and yellow and blotch them around the canvas, don't forget the sides! Apply it thickly and the crazier the pattern, the more interesting your background will be. Then take a clean natural sponge and tap it over the entire canvas (including the sides) to blend and texture the paint. At the end, you can dip it in either a much lighter or much darker color and tap it lightly in a few spots. Then let this dry.

Next you need a couple of stencils. Spread some darker or lighter paint on a paper plate and dip your natural sponge in it. Place your stencil over one area of the canvas and tap the stencil in gently so it doesn't cover solidly. I used a border stencil over and over to create a big pattern then added a few other individual designs.

Now you need to paint in a few crazy bare branches. Make sure you've got plenty of horizontal-ish branches for your birds to sit on.

While all that dries hard, get online and search images for "bird silhouettes". Pick out a few that you like then print them out really big. Or whatever size you need for your canvas. My canvas is 36" square, so my birds are a little bigger than a single sheet of paper. Find some awesome scrapbook paper in the colors you want and cut the silhouettes out. Tip: Line up any pattern on the paper with the orientation you want of your bird. Make sure they're facing the way you want and that the pattern will come out lined up on the final artwork like you want. Once you've got the birds cut out, using a darker paint (I used a bronzy metallic here and in the stencils) and the natural sponge, tap around the outside edges of the birds so that it creates a shadow all around. Don't be tempted to skip this step as it adds so much to the final look.

When everything is dry, paste the birds to the canvas. I used spray glue and it works nicely to keep things smooth.

Now it's time to add the 3D accents. I used burlap flowers cut off the stems and some awesome ones I found made of swirled metal that were meant to be hung on the wall. These I just attached with high heat hot glue.

And you're done! We started after lunch and had it hanging on the wall before dinner. And it's awesome! I didn't have to wait to get it shipped, it's a great size for the space, it's all the right colors, and every time I look at it, I can think, "I did that!" And now you can make your own.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I admire your creativity!