Tag Archives: painting

About that “1 Year” thing…

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Started writing this on Sunday, but life went a little funky and I stalled before I got pictures uploaded/posted:

Yeah, I think I’m going to be extending the deadline on this “year” of crafting thing. (Actually I’ll probably keep this up as long as I have crafts I want to write about.)

So today I had a relatively large list of stuff I need/want to do. But things went a little sideways when I got a robocall from the pharmacy at FIVE THIRTY ON A SUNDAY MORNING. ::seethes:: I got up about an hour later, but still kept feeling very sleepy, so at noon I finally gave in and went to take a nap. It was more cat-cuddling than napping, but still very nice, but the moment I sat up my head just whirled. So I’ve got a headache and vertigo, so nothing that needs to be done while standing upright is going to happen today.

So. I guess this is the perfect time to show off one of the things I did during my last massive spray paint extravaganza. (Ironically, there was going to be a massive acrylic coating spray event today, but that ain’t happening now.)

A few weeks ago I found a sinktop shelf at the thrift store for $6. It has MDF shelves and metal pedestals with curlicues and metal tomatoes and eggplants on them. It was one of those with a high central shelf that’s supposed to accommodate a kitchen faucet with the big inverted U-bend. I tried it out and it was wobbly because part of the base sat on the sink edge, and part sat on the counter. And it limited the movement of my faucet. Turns out, though, that it just fits the leaning desk I got for my craft room, so I put it there instead. (I’d been wondering if one of those would work for that purpose anyhow.) But before I put it there, I spray-painted the shelves with hammered bronze-effect spray paint and the metal pedestals with that shiny-penny copper paint, which as I’ve said before I’m totally in love with.

So here’s the project:

sink shelf

So there’s a faux oak finish and the supports are painted hunter green with (hard to see here) purple eggplants and red tomatoes. I don’t know why I dislike hunter green so much, but I do. Plus EVERYTHING is improved instantly with a shiny copper coat!

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And a process pic here.

sink shelf painted

See what I mean about shiny penny colored paint?! See?!

desk shelf

And now here it is in place at my crafts desk, though not entirely set up the way it’ll eventually be when I get time and my brain back. And, by the way, if it had been just that little bit too long to rest on the desk, I was going to hoist it on a pair of glass bricks I got at ReStore a while back, but those now are waiting for another opportunity to become a thing.

Dead and berried

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Dead and berried

Things have been a bit hectic this week — well, they are hectic all the time, honestly. But I did want to post some of the spraypaint extravaganza and decided to focus on one item and some similar things I’ve worked with in the past.

This weekend I got the most awesome spraypaint. It’s this shiny shiny coppery color, just like the newest new penny. So while under the urge to play with it, I grabbed the paper maché berry box I had kept because it didn’t have any berry stains or anything. Such an iconic shape–I seem to remember there’s a ceramics artist who did ceramic versions of paper plates and such, and I think I saw a berry box replica, too.

So I spraypainted the crap out of this, and check it out!

Ooh, shiny!

And the inside:

Isn’t this color just awesome?

I love the humbleness of the item combined with the shiny metallic, and the texture along with the shiny.

I love making things with paper maché packing materials, too. The kind that’s molded to fit around an item, much like a styrofoam piece around a small appliance. A friend from my art group brought in these long pieces that she salvaged from a business, and I started painting it turquoise. It became clear I was running out of paint long before I was finished, and there was no more turquoise in the store room, so we watered down what we had, with the results that the ends got lighter and lighter. I decided I liked the look of it that way, so never went back at it with more paint. Another friend who shares my love for Mexican tin objects gave me a box full of tin pieces, so I glued some of them to the piece.

I like the weathered effect that running out of paint gave the piece.

And here it is in context on my wall:

Speaking of the little tin thingies. And some art I bought on the street (the Statue of Liberty) and in a bar (David Cone), both in NYC. I love buying art on the street.

It’s nice when the shape speaks to me in some fashion. The square piece below (which I think was packed around a yogurt maker) just seemed to have a mechanical feel to it, so I wanted to paint it a rust color. I added all kinds of bits and bobs from the “found objects” stash at art group, wanting it also to have a petroglyphic kind of feel. It would make a bitchen clock, too, if not for the pieces that the hands would keep getting hung up on. I have its mate, and I may yet make a clock of it.

Steampunk petroglyphs?

I thought it went well with a few pieces I’d collected in Mexico, plus a painting by my friend Tom Kramer. This is on the wall opposite the blue piece, a little ways down. This assemblage is across from the open doorway to the living room, so I consider it part of the living room décor. It goes very beautifully in colors and feel.

I really need to do something with that doorbell, I think…

So that’s that for tonight.

The silence of the lamps — Project 32

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The silence of the lamps — Project 32

Just as I’ve hit the point where I want to Spray Paint ALL THE THINGS!! it’s also getting to the point where it’s often a bit too cold to leave the car out. But I’ve pretty much turned the entire garage into the painting station and I have at least one more piece I’m dying to paint (though 2, really).

Anyway, I have this lamp that I bought when I did a very girly remake of my NYC bedroom sometime in the 90s, with some leaves and petals worked into the shade. I’m well over that now, so I decided spray paint was the thing.

I didn’t think to take a picture of the whole lamp before I went at it, but here are the components:

All your base are belong to us.

Only one shade, and it’s not grey

Decided to use the flat black paint on the base, with an effect somewhat like that Led Zeppelin cover with all the people fondling the weird black artifact. And spray paint through lace on the shade, the way I’ve done with fabric paint on t-shirts.

Wrapped in lace.

And here’s the result, in place on my nightstand:

Made in the shade.

Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

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Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

I’m still deep in the middle of a writing project I thought would be done by now.

But here’s pictures of my gradient painted chest — it’s got some imperfections (NATURALLY) but I. Love. It.

I now want to get some other stuff painted before it gets too cold. So here goes….

The pink version that was Just Not Me.

Front view.

But I really liked those colors played off the glossy grays and black.

Still some pink, but much more me.

The sides of the drawers show off a bit more of the imperfections of the finished piece. The top drawer is much lighter because I forgot my plan to paint the sides all with the unblended burgundy, then I painted it over with another coat of burgundy. Since it’s not going to be on display in its opened state, really no one’s going to see it who doesn’t already know. And let’s just say I am rather disinclined to mess with paintbrushes again when spray paint is so much fun.

Right in the chest

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I made it through most of the frame and 2 drawer-fronts on the chest of drawers before I didn’t feel I had enough light to continue. (And oxygen was an issue.) I probably won’t know until I can haul them out of the garage into daylight to get a good look whether or not the coverage is good enough to do it in one coat, but it looks good at this point. I hope so! I really need gloves and a mask to do any more of that. (Stupid not to in the first place.)

I have one drawer-front left and the rest of the frame, where I ran out of flat black paint.

I think the gray/pink and black/burgundy of the front/sides are going to look kind of cool together, when the drawers are open.

Now I’m off to continue writing a story I’ve been working on. Deadline is Sunday, and my Saturday and Sunday are kind of packed.

Hm. I want some ice cream, but I don’t want to have to go out to buy it. :(

Not-quite project post

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Is there anything more tragic than realizing 80% of the way through a DIY project that you really want it to go in a completely different direction?

Absolutely correct! The answer is “about a million things.”

But it is a large pain in the ass.

I bought this 3-drawer chest for $15 at St. Vinny’s, planning to use it for a night stand. It’s old and beat up, but real wood and the whole deal.

It’s going to be AWESOME!!

My bedspread is burgundy and I’ve got some burgundy accents around, so I decided after obsessing over various ideas at Pinterest that I would do the ombre paint thing that looks so cool here (http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/2012/06/love-is-like-apricot.html), starting with burgundy. I further decided that, instead of buying 4 different shades of paint, I would get a quart of white and blend the tints myself so I’d know they would work together.

Tints of burgundy are pink, yo. I am not so much a pink girl anymore.

And I realized early on that my medium pink was coming out a putrid shade that reminded me of my grandmother’s habit of getting humongous rocks when she and my grandfather would travel in the southwest, then bringing them home and painting them an obnoxious pink, then in gold paint label them with where she’d found them. Urgh.

But I couldn’t think of what else to do or what other color would go with the room, so I kept going. Yesterday I painted the drawers, and today I started on the frame early enough that I could get the second coat of everything in today, but halfway through the frame it occurred to me that I really really wanted to do a black and gray ombre thing. Which made me very sad.

But the idea of starting the whole project over with several coats of paint made me even sadder, because I am profoundly lazy and this project is already stretching the boundaries of my tolerance for painting stuff. So I kept going.

Painting, however, is a very meditative activity — thus the big epiphany about what I wished I were doing instead, and several smaller epiphanies like I suck at wielding a paintbrush and always have visible brushstrokes. I played with various ideas on what to do to improve the chest, like decoupage Victorian crap on it (gag! Plus I am creeped out by a great many bits of Victorian ephemera), or seashells (blah).

See what I mean about, well, everything?

When I was almost at the end of the second coat on the drawers, it occurred to me that I could repaint the fronts of the drawers and the whole frame in the ombre thing, but leave the sides and interiors as they are, for what the magazines call (far too damn often) a pop of color.

The knowledge that I can fix this with little effort, and not have Mexico-rock pink in a visible spot in my bedroom, has cheered me up substantially. So I’m done for the day. I may even get spray paint to finish the job, because boy does my brushwork suck.

Even my helper Harriet got paint in her hair.

Hit the deck!

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Hit the deck!

So I have this porch fantasy that I’ve had ever since I lived in NYC. I got to indulge it bigtime during my vacation in Austin this spring, though the balcony was a fairly small one, it was just about perfect. I actually have a deck where I am living now (actually a small upstairs one and a bigger downstairs one), but both of them get a lot of direct sun after about 11 a.m., so I haven’t been using them as much as I thought I would when I was lusting after my very own porch back in NYC.

Spent some time looking at pergolas and quailed to discover they are heinously expensive, so imagine my glee when I found a tutorial through Pinterest on making a simple portable sun shade. So I let my porch lust flower again, this time going into epic Outdoor Living Room mode.

I haven’t done the sun shade yet, I think because I’m intimidated by the cement work that goes with making the shade poles, but I have started on the project nonetheless.

It begins with a relic of my NYC days, a crappy low cabinet of pressboard with white laminated finish. It was half of a two-piece thing, with a shelf hutch on top. The hutch is in a closet pretending to be useful pantry shelving (that is another project which will be an enormous obsession, I can tell). The cabinet has been trailing around with me through the last couple of moves (when a company pays for movers and gives you three weeks to uproot your life, EVERYTHING trails around with you), and most recently it’s been in the basement.

So I finally hauled it out and onto the downstairs deck to spray paint it. My plan is to nail a trellis to it to create a little bit of a screen so neither the neighbors or I will feel on display if we both happen to be out on our decks. There may or may not be outdoor sheer curtains.

So here’s step #1:

Ombre cabinet. I used 3 shades of spray paint.

It’s not smooth and perfect, and I’m totally fine with that. This is going to be sitting out in the weather, so it’s meant to be pretty casual. (The streaks, however, are just where I wiped a bit of dew off the top before toweling it all off.)

It hasn’t been the most awesome spray-paint weather this summer — it’s either too hot or crazy humid or both. We had a cool day so I jumped at it. Next is probably the trellis. Whenever.

Happy little bats

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So. The last 9 days, I was in Austin, Texas. Which was a completely kickass vacation, I’m pleased to say. The past year has been a bit rough in several ways, but this was a trip that made stress melt away. I got to have quiet mornings on the deck with a glass of iced coffee, got to meet up with online friends to do fun stuff, got to experience the special weirdness that Austin excels at, and meet amazingly friendly people. And eat fabulous food.

I got a couple different DCFG projects of mine fangirled, which was delightful — the painted/decoupaged shoes got several compliments, and the TARDIS kindle cozy could have gotten me a niche in a great little Austin store if not for the fact that I’m not from Texas.

And yes, even while racing around hearing music and shopping and thrift shopping, I did not forget my duty to create my weekly project. This time I had company while doing so. While looking through the do512.com site (if you’re ever going to Austin, it’s essential), I stumbled on the Austin franchise of Painting with a Twist. It’s a business that offers space and supplies to make a painting in one night, as a local artist guides you through the process.

Aprons and finished works.

You all work on the same painting, with different paintings offered on different days. The do512 listing showed thumbnails of each day’s painting, so I decided on mine at the beginning of the trip, figuring it would be a terrific souvenir: Starry Austin Night, which compressed the Austin skyline with Van Gogh swoops and swirls of stars behind it.

One paper plate held the colors we needed for the evening's work, and the other provided a palette for blending.

Oh, and I forgot the Twist part of Painting with a Twist. Each person can bring their own snacks and beer, wine or whatever, so it’s a party with a painting. (Our instructor told us his first group with that painting — we were the second — brought hard liquor and were stinking drunk and rowdy. Would love to see their works! Ours was pretty mellow.)

When we walked in our easels and paper-plate palettes were set up, and we got our 16″ x 24″ canvas when we paid. David, our instructor, led us through the process, giving us general guidelines for blending shades and spacing elements by finger-widths and stuff. There was a finished painting to reference, plus David painted a new one as he walked us through the process, and for some of the finer details, he used a white board to give us a closer look at what we should be doing.

I couldn’t help but think of the Happy Little Trees guy, and in fact, the comparison was acknowledged. Wish I’d taken a picture of it: there was a sketch of HLTG by David’s easel, with HIS NAME above and BOB ROSS below.

Despite the fact that we were working on the same image, there was a range of different looks to the students’ works, whether or not they wanted it. Periodically you’d hear little noises of frustration when a brushstroke didn’t go the way a painter wanted, and there was a lot of “I like yours, but mine…” I suspect, though, that the longer people lived with their own paintings, the better they liked them. Mine has grown on me. I originally planned to go back over a few spots but I’ve decided, to quote Anne Lamott, to leave it lay where Jesus flang it.

Smished skyline of Austin welcomes you!

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of Warhol

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Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of Warhol

So yes, a perfect gift for my future sister-in-law. It finally clicked a day or two after I found this great tutorial on painting faux-Warhol portraits, hand painted instead of silk screened:

http://cathiefilian.blogspot.com/2009/02/make-it-artwork-la-warhol.html

Future SIL has a dog that she is just mad about, and the rest of the family finds Zoe adorable too. (And Zoe and my brother are nuts about each other, aww.) So I got my brother to email me some pictures of her, and he informed me that Zoe’s mama particularly loves pictures of her with her ears cocked forward.

This project definitely strayed into I-cut-out-my-own-leaf territory (see my post on second grade art, “The Darkest Depths of Mordor”), both intentionally and unintentionally. My main departure from Cathie’s project is that I chose smaller canvases — a 2-ft. by 2-ft. commitment seems to be a lot to ask of another person’s decor. Plus I had four 5-in. by 4-in. canvases, which adds up to a much more reasonable 8 x 10. Most other departures were accidental. They made a difference, too, but I ended up liking this project a LOT anyway.

For one thing, I had trouble printing out the photo onto actual photo paper (I was too impatient to go through all the figuring out of settings and that, or to waste any more photo paper.), so instead of photocopying a print, I just printed out four originals onto regular paper. I don’t know if that affected my results or not.

It will surprise none of you who read my tale of second grade impetuousness that I JUST NOW discovered I used the wrong kind of brush in painting over the pictures once they were Mod Podged onto the canvas. The materials list says foam brushes, which I totally missed. ::forehead smack:: So there are brushstrokes I could not make go away. (I think they look a little worse in the photos than in person, but some colors were definitely streakier than others. And I wonder if the dark background made those parts tend toward streakiness anyway because of the ink coverage.) They don’t look exactly Warhol like, but I do think they look cool.

Zoe in progress

I decided to dab on a little iridescent gold paint onto the buckle of Zoe’s collar in each print, which gave me the brainstorm of using the same paint (Shiva Sticks oil paint crayons) around the canvas edges. This is a case in which I intentionally made it imperfect, drawing it across the edges and then smudging it into the canvas with my fingers. The two or three times I got a little streak of gold on the edge of the image itself, I left it there. It goes with the streaky look of the painting, and adds an energy to the piece, I think. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. After that, a few coats of varnish for acrylic and oil, and done!

Zoe x 4.

Like I said, it didn’t come out just like the tutorial (which looks pretty awesome), but I still like the result. Just for the hell of it I’ll have to try doing a canvas with the foam brush and see the difference that makes. And maybe next time read a little more closely when I’m diving into a tutorial project….