Tag Archives: painting

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.

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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….