Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Custom Artwork

Lately I have found myself gravitating towards more modern and sophisticated design and wondering what the best way to incorporate these elements into my current home is.  I want to keep the majority of my home the same as it currently is because not only do I still like it, but I don't have the money to do a complete overhaul. While perusing Pinterest a few weeks back, I ran across this beauty from Ballard Designs.

I instantly fell in love with this art for its sophistication, and thought it would still go well with my existing decor.  The only downside, it cost $449.  Just a tad above my budget. So I decided to try to recreate it.

The supplies I used:
A 4 x 4 blank canvas (I received mine as a Christmas gift, but it was purchased at Michael's using a 60% off coupon, and only cost my mom $30).

Various foam and small bristle brushes ($7 at Lowe's)
Two small foam rollers (already owned from previous projects)
Acylic Paint ($12 at Michael's)
paper plates (used as pallets) 
tape measurer

Total cost: $49 (Although for me, it only cost $19 since the canvas was a gift)

Here are the colors I used: 

The Process:
Step 1: Lay out canvas on a work surface in a well lit area. 

 Probably not necessary to list this step, but it never hurts to be thorough.  
Anybody else think this is the perfect opportunity for a Big Lebowski reference? No? Just me?
Moving on.
Step 2:  Prime. I've been instructed that its best to prime with either a pale blue or a pale pink so that the end result isn't too bright.  Since I didn't have enough of either color to prime the entire canvas, I used a combo of both colors as my primer.  I didn't prime the edges of the canvas, but should have because it took several coats of paint to get the edges painted. 

Step 3: Find the center of your canvas.  This really comes in useful when doing Step 4, next.

Like so. 

Step 4:  Create a base coat with your basic colors to define the shape of your painting.  You'll be able to go back in and add dimension and texture later on. (SIDE NOTE: To be honest, from here on out it all became guess work and trial and error, so by all means, please deviate from my instructions as much as you want if you decide to do a similar project!)

 Also, sorry the pictures aren't great.  
We all know I'm a terrible photographer, and it was really hard to fit in one shot. 

Step 5: Begin playing with textures and dimension.  It became painfully obvious to me at this point that my painting would never look exactly like my inspiration that I found on Pinterest, so I decided to embrace that.  I'd used my inspiration as the basic form of my painting, but my shapes and colors were going to be different, and that is okay.  I was still determined that I'd end up with something sophisticated, which was the entire point of this project anyway.  Here's what mine looked like at this stage:

Doesn't it kinda look like the ocean meeting land from space?  Funny since the inspiration artwork kinda mimics the idea of clouds (to me, anyway).  Not exactly what I intended, but not a problem either. 

Step 6: Add your finishing touches.  For me, this meant blending the dark edges so they faded more gradually into the other colors, adding additional texture to the lighter blues, adding pops of metallic gold using small brushes, and using a foam roller to lightly coat the entire painting with a very light gold.  Last but not least,  I painted the outside edges of the canvas a dark blue to make the entire artwork look more polished. 

 Here is the final product:

I'm happy with the way it turned out, especially since this was my first time trying a project like this.  Originally, I was considering placing it above the mantel in my living room, but when I saw it in this space, I just knew this was its home.  It is over sized for this room, but it just looks so elegant! Nothing like massive artwork to trick people into thinking you've got money! ;) It really takes our formal dining room up a notch.

As I said earlier, by no means is mine an exact duplicate of the artwork I originally was inspired by, but I'm really okay with that.  So if you want to save $400 and have a one of a kind art piece, try making your own.  If you hate it, you can just paint over it and start again!  Good luck in your artistic adventures, and as always, thanks for stopping by.



  1. You did a fantastic job! Seriously impressed :-) It makes a great back drop for your chandy!!

    1. Thank you! It was definitely a learning process, but its kinda fun to be creative! :)


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