Thursday, November 11, 2010

DIY Autumn Wall Art

I may be a little late in the game, but I finally decided to do something about the lack of autumn decor in our house. It's not too late though! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I need some pretty things to jazz up my boring walls and to help give my house a little holiday face-lift.

So, yesterday I woke up and decided to paint. I haven't painted in ages, but I always keep my old art supplies around. I went digging through my closet and came up with the essentials to make a colorful painting for my bare dining room wall. 

Now, before you run away from the word "painting", take a closer look at the simple elements that make up this piece. We are entering the realm of abstract art, where there really are no rules, no standard technique. What happens on the canvas is between you, your creative mind, and your paintbrushes. The possibilities are limitless.

Even as I take you step by step through this one, I think you'll find that art is not as foreign or difficult as you might think.

Have I convinced you yet? Want to try it out? OK, if you're still with me, here are some things you'll need:

1 Canvas - any size you want

Acrylic paints

Various brushes

Cup of water to rinse brushes

Leaf stamps

I have a beginner's acrylics kit that would be perfect for occasional uses, or to get you started in your own painting endeavors. It includes several different brushes, a palette, palette knife, paints of many colors, and even an artist smock. 

Make sure your work area is clean and well prepared for paint spills. Since I don't have an easel, I covered my kitchen table with paper grocery bags. 

To get this painting started, I knew I wanted to use classic autumn hues: mostly oranges, browns, and yellows. Starting with the background colors, I used a sponge brush to cover more surface area and to help blend the colors together better.

Start by brushing on a dark brown from the bottom to about 1/3 of the way up the canvas. Be sure to paint the edges of the canvas as well, since this painting will not be framed. Next, add a second color (I used orange) to cover another 1/3 of the canvas. Try to blend the two colors together where they meet. The best way to blend is by using long and whispy brushstrokes in a back-and-forth motion to pull each color into the other.

Don't worry about perfection. Painting is all about layering. The top layers will hide any imperfections in the bottom layers, and paintings are not always about being perfect. If you have more texture, you will have more depth in the end.

For the top 1/3 of the canvas, I brushed on a yellow. I then went back over the other colors with that same yellow, blending all the colors together and creating a sort of sunset backdrop.

Next, take a fan brush. A fan brush looks just like a fan: round and flared at the top. Use a metallic gold or copper paint.

Starting from the bottom, dab the paint up the canvas and into the corners.
Dab dab dab. That's as technical as it gets. Keep dabbing...

There is no right or wrong here. Go wherever you see fit. Up the sides, down the middle, don't worry about it. Just have fun dabbing away.
Go back in with a different color, and define a couple different areas. I took brown and dabbed in the middle. Then I took a little green and yellow, and went back over it again.

Still dabbing? Good. Keep going.

Continue dabbing away until you come to a good stopping point.You can cover the whole canvas if you want. It's completely up to you. Once you're done, step back and take a look at what you have so far. If you see something you don't like, you can go back in and fix it. Now is the time to do it. Remember, paint goes over paint. If you make a mistake, you can cover it up.

All done? Alright, let's finish it up.

Find your leaf stamps. You can have more than one, or just one that you prefer. I chose this one. You can find plenty of stamping materials at your local craft store. Look in the sale bins. You never know what you'll find.

Using the same basic paint colors as before, brush a little paint on the stamp. Don't worry, these wash off easily and acrylics are water-based, meaning easy clean-up when you're done.

Start stamping away.

Switch up your colors, and keep on stamping.

Stamp until your crafty heart's content.

Now take a step back and look at your creation.

Satisfied? I know I am. Now hang it on the wall so you can admire your work.

Congratulations, you are an artist!

What does yours look like? I think mine looks like a forest of trees with leaves caught in the wind. Others may see something different. But that's what's so great about an abstract piece. The art is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone sees something different.

Thanks for braving a painting with me! I hope you enjoy it, and have fun showing off your artwork to friends and family.

Now go make something, and enjoy the day!

1 comment:

  1. I would never imagine I could make wall art but your tutorial is great and actually makes it all seem possible! When time allows, I may have to just try it!