Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Life of an Artist

OK I'm new to this blog world.  And sometimes I get stuck when I write a new post.  Sometimes I just get stuck on the title.  Like this time.  I couldn't decide on the best title - here are some of the runners up-

1) The Do's and Don'ts of Making Art
2) How a Simple Project Can Be So Difficult
3) I'm SO Glad I Started a Blog Because Otherwise I would Have Given Up On This Project

That's right - some projects just don't go smoothly.  And this is one of those projects.  And at every turn, when I encountered a problem,  I dusted myself off, and got back to work.  There were a few bad words (I was home alone so they don't count) and some blood shed (who knew glass was so sharp?) but I'm almost finished!  Woohoo!

So, here's the real life version of my latest project - making my own art.  Yesterday, I showed you the pictures that I bought at Salvation Army for $10 each-

I started by taking the pictures apart.  I set them on the floor upside down -

And I ripped off the paper to see what was inside -

I was faced with about 879,000 staples -

I grabbed my pliers and pulled them all out -

Then I rested.  Because these little guys did not want to come out.  And my hand was killing me by this point. And I was thinking that maybe this was going to be a little bit of a challenge.  But I had gotten this far - I had to keep going.  So I carefully took out the print and mat (they were glued together) and glass.  I took the frame outside - with my favorite spray paint - Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze-

And I gave it a few light coats (which was fun - I was smiling again).  Back inside, I had to carefully peel the mat off of the print -

Then I took the mat outside with my other favorite spray paint - Rustoleum White in satin -

And I sprayed again (which was fun - I mean who doesn't love spray painting?)  Then I turned my attention to making some art.  Which made me a little bit nervous.  Because I had never done anything like this before.  Ever.  But I figured 'Why not give it a try?'.  I had looked around various sites for inspiration.  I needed something sort of simple (actually VERY simple).  And I found this at Horchow -

John-Richard Collection "Peace & Harmony" Giclee Art

I thought it was beautiful - it was also $998.90!  Slightly over my budget.  But I thought I could try to replicate it (well not perfectly but use it for inspiration).  I went out to Michael's for some supplies -

That trip cost me about $20.  I mixed the gray and white to make a softer light gray for the top of the picture (oh and I was making two pictures to go side by side.  Again - the 'real' art was just inspiration...).  I grabbed the two prints, which were glued to poster board and I flipped them upside down -

 I took a paint brush and made long sweeping motions in a horizontal direction to fill the tops of the 'canvas' (ok, I know it's not canvas but you know what I mean) -

Then I mixed the raw umber and white to make the bottom color (I did experiment a lot with color and decided to move more to tones that went with the colors in my dining room where these would end up).  And it was starting to look good.  But I wanted a to lose the bright white that was showing through.  I decided to wash the whole thing with a light coat of walnut wood stain.  The picture on the left is stained and the one on the right isn't -

It's difficult to see much difference in the picture - it's subtle - but in real life it looks much more finished.  And I was excited to wrap this project up.  I thought the hard part was done.  Silly me.  Putting stuff together is ALWAYS more difficult than taking them apart.

I assembled it upside down - frame, glass, mat, then picture and started stapling.  Which didn't go perfectly.  Some of them went in like this -

And some went in like this -

Actually, quite a few went in like this.  Which doesn't really do much to hold the picture in place.  Oops.  But I just kept at it.  Then, when I got all the way around, I flipped it over.  I was so excited to see the finished result.  My first art ever.  And to my horror dismay, I noticed that the corner of the glass had slipped out of place while I stapled.  Ugh.  I attempted to very carefully slide it back in but that didn't quite work out -

Yup. I scraped some of the paint off of the frame.  Sadness.  I had to remove all of the staples, take it all apart, and re-spray paint the frame (which was not as much fun as the first time I spray painted it).

Once it was dry, I reassembled the whole thing - frame, glass, mat, and art.  I was very careful to center the glass this time - I didn't want to paint that frame a third time!  So, I put one staple in each side (keeping everything in place) and then went on to add a bunch more - only to find that I was out of staples!  Ugh.  And I couldn't find any extra staples in my tool chest (yes I have a tool chest!  It was my birthday present from Craig - I'm a lucky girl).  But it didn't matter much anyway because I was running so far behind that I had to stop working on this to pick up my daughter.  My 'work day' was over.  And my project was incomplete.

Well, I'm back on it today.  And I really hope to get these pieces hung in my dining room.  For now, here's a sneak peek -
Before -

After -

So there you have it.  My first attempt at being an artist - blood, sweat and tears.  But, hopefully, it will be worth it in the end.  :-)