"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Project: DIY Masterpiece

 The large canvas hanging over Lynne Matlock's fireplace is an expressionistic study of movement and color. Light and dark, like life itself. It is the kind of work one can look at often and see something new -and she did it herself. Really.

You can too.

Lynne swears she is not an artist and when her good friend, photographer Paula Barron suggested she create an art piece for over the fireplace. She balked.

Then she dove in, literally, to a process filled with paint and creativity and perhaps just a teensy bit of anxiety. In the future, Lynne suggests a glass of pre-project wine...

 "The scary part is taking the first step to put paint on that clean, white canvas," Paula agrees. But, "once you do it, it's so much fun."

"I always tell friends to look for pictures of art or other things that inspire...then go buy your canvas."

Paula advises keeping an eye out for the 1 Cent canvas sale at Michael's, or head over to Big Lots to find smaller ones.

"Don't worry about the thickness of the canvas," she says, "you can create the illusion of a thicker canvas with your framing."

Here's Paula's process:
1. Get a large canvas, the bigger the better.

2. Buy large tubes of cheap acrylic paint at the craft store. "Buy all of the colors that you want to incorporate," says Paula.

"I also buy a bottle of gesso to thicken areas (for texture) as I layer the paint."

3. When it's time to begin, "Pull out all of your supplies and dig out a couple of old, used gift cards to do the paint application. Also gather things like jar lids (for making circles), pages from books (collage effect), etc."

"Now, start squirting colors on and lightly pull the paint in different directions."

 Just go for it. Cue the music and open that wine. Get that artistic mojo on.

  (Note here, acrylic paint is permanent and will stain clothes and anything else it lands on. Beware. Stains are so not fun.)

"I like to layer," Paula continues, "so once you've covered the canvas let it dry for a few minutes and then layer on more paint and gesso. There are no rules as to when to quit or when to apply paper or stamp shapes. It is all up to you."

4. "After the painting is dry, I use a glossy polyurethane over the top. It can be lightly guided by your gift card. You can also use the matte finish (or both) to create shine and matte finishes in different areas of the painting."

"This gloss is like putting glass over your painting and it brings it to life and also blends a few of your colors to mix in a beautiful way."

 Paula says after her painting is dry, her husband builds a frame around the canvas, but unframed can look equally artsy.

Most of all, Paula says, "...have fun, and don't be afraid to experiment because if you don't like it you can paint white over it and start again!"

Berets are optional, but encouraged.

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