Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ugly...No more!!

It has been sooo long since I have posted...BUT, I've been busy! Yes, busy renovating a new HaPpY, FUN, summer lake house. Now, the happy, fun part is what my family and I make of it...but OH, is it UGLY...I mean UGLY!!!  Here is just one room. More to follow, though!

This is the BEFORE. Just one of 3 bedrooms.  Complete with vinyl blinds, valances, sculptured carpeting and some wonky particle board bed.  What you don't see or smell even is the moldy carpet and mold spots on the walls and baseboard trim.  A lot of bleach and tearing out of carpeting happened.  Oh yeah! is the AFTER! 

A new cork backed laminate, moisture resistant flooring went in.  A fresh coat of paint...kind of a greenish/yellow to brighten the walls, was added.  Then, my childhood canopy bed was renovated...Yes, no more canopy, removed the end posts and spray painted the heck out of it with a fun orange Valspar paint and the night stand to match.  Notice the colorful throw pillow on the bed. That was my inspiration piece. :)
I then added some bamboo shades for privacy and some white drapery for softness.

 Notice the corner hutch. This comes from my dad's high school days in woodworking class. I have painted and moved this piece to many homes. It just fit here in this guest room.  A few fun prints were added next, a shelf with hooks for towels, etc. and a bench for a suitcase or whatever.  I just love this room. Cannot wait to have a guest at The Lake House!!! :)

Oh, and check out my cute little chalkboard sign on the door.  I can write little messages to our guests! Ha! My family thinks I'm nuts...I just love the "little things"! ;)

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I can't believe that I forgot about this project! Especially since I look at it EVERY DAY! This was a super easy "redo" that adds a little "unexpected" to my new home.

I knew I wanted to find a small piece of furniture for my the half bath in our new home we were building. So, I bought this little table from a girlfriend who sold her house and was moving away. Perfect size, height, etc. YAY!

I wanted to give it a pop of color, though...Hello, Turquoise! See the process below.

 And, No it is NOT tiger wood, it's a veneer (my sister was really worried that I would be ruining this piece). :)

After a little sanding, making the drawer front unoperable and removing the base of it for plumbing purposes, I added 3 coats of paint and 3 coats of polyurethane and it was ready for the plumber to install.  I found the perfect sized vessel sink and left the hole-drilling up to the plumber.

 Cute, huh???

I did change out the pulls to some glass ones that I found in a local craft store.

I then added some fun glass mosaic tiles for the backsplash, a large mirror above & there it is!

I just love the look of it!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Chevron Dog

Most recently, I have been inspired by those cute little chevron prints. You know the zigzag patterns with fun colors and a silhouette of a popular dog breed.  I was wanting a fun hook for my dog's leashes, so I thought: "Hey, I will make a Chevron Dog painting of my dog, Java, add a couple of hooks and there I go!"

For those who know me...usually when I want something, I want it yesterday. So, I broke out a 12 x 12 canvas board and got busy!

First step: Draw my chevron pattern.

Second step: Select my paint colors and paint!

Final steps: Sketch my silhouette and fill it in. For super clean lines, I used a sharpie to outline all of it.  Spray with polyurethane, then brush on a thick coat and it's done! This literally took me a couple of hours. The only thing left to do, is purchase some little cup hooks and screw them into the bottom for hanging the leashes on.

So, my girlfriend saw this and said: "Oh, I would love one of those of my Manny!".  Hmmm...Christmas idea??? PERFECT!  I wanted to spend more time on hers and really personalize it to her tastes and colors.  I remembered that I took a picture of Manny months ago in their living room.  He is a funny little Boston Terrier with lots of personality.  Here is the pic.

I drew out my chevron pattern, then sketched Manny.  This is really what took the longest.  I do not draw people because it truly does take an extensive amount of time to capture personality...same goes with pets (except their bodies are easier). It's all about the eyes, really.  Painted him in with black, then shaded him with various shades of gray.

Then, I painted the chevron pattern, using colors that coordinated with my friend's home.

I also wanted her painting to have more depth, so I added some shading to the colors and of course, added Manny's shadow so that he wasn't floating! :)

Then, I sprayed it and brushed on a heavy coat of polyurethane to seal and protect the painting. This one took me a few days vs. a couple of hours in one sitting.

She loved it! Even said "I knew you were an artist, but didn't know you could do something like this!" Ha!

You can see the difference, here.  Just depends on what you like and personal preference. 

Cost for a 12 x 12 custom realistic "pet portrait", I would charge $75-$150 depending on the amount of detail (just for reference, "Manny" would cost $75).

Cost for a 12 x 12 silhouette, I would charge $50

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Florida Pines

Thinking of warmer temps...SO, thought I would repost this one! ENJOY!

A large 3' x 3' Blank Canvas - square, 1 1/2" gallery wrapped (which means finished edges, no frame necessary)
Cost: approx. $75 (I have cut frames & stretched canvas before, but for me it's just not worth my time to go through that process, so I spend a little more to have it all done & ready for me. I try to buy the canvas when it is on sale.) it is: A documented, step by step process of one of my paintings from start to finish! I don't typically let people see a work in progress for a couple of reasons: 1. They don't see what I see in my head for the finished product.  2. If they were to come into my art studio and see something in the works, they would either question it, compliment it, or not say anything and think that it was bad and I would have to explain that "It's not done yet" or "I still have more to do to it."  :)  

So, for those reasons, I thought it would be fun to document the whole process! That way, people can see (through my documentation) that the beginning looks nothing like the end, how much time is involved, and maybe learn a little something about what I do. Here goes...

I must preface this by saying that I am inspired on a daily basis by many things...could be the sky, a texture, an old door, a blade of grass...whatever!  This particular painting was inspired by a recent family vacation to Florida.  This year, we decided to drive and as we entered into Florida, I kept noticing these really unique groupings of trees.  I thought they were so beautiful because their trunks were very tall, slim and parallel to each other and the "leaves" were all in clusters at the very tops of the trees and almost spread out like clouds. I kept thinking to myself how pretty a painting of them would look but done in very rich, bright colors verses the brown and green that they were/are! I couldn't get them out of my head, so as we were having breakfast with our friend (who happens to live in Pensacola), I asked him what those trees were called.  He told me they were Florida Pines.  Now, I'm not sure if that is the official name of them or just what the locals call them, but we'll go with it! And, those "leaves" were actually pine needles (but, from a distance, you can't tell)! 

You can see a light sketch (I like to do this & stand back to make sure my composition is balanced and where I need it to be).
Layers of color come next along with turning of the canvas.  This process might take a couple of days because I put the paint 
on very thick for texture and effect. I want it to dry so that the colors don't mix and get "muddy" When I have manipulated the paints
 so that they are where I want them, I then lay the canvas down on a table for it to dry (otherwise the paint will run & my design will change). This process took about 2 hours.

I begin laying the foundation for the rest of my sky which is about 4 colors put on in layers (making sure that I don't blend too much, otherwise it would just look like a solid blue background).

More thick layers of color are added and manipulated to bring it all together. This took another 30 minutes.

 I can now add my ground and road base colors which is done just like the sky base (2-3 colors blended...but not too much). 
This took about 2 more hours.  Now, I wait for it all to dry (about a day) before I can move on to the next step.
The hubby sticks his head in my art studio and says "Oh, I like that sky." Me: "It's not done yet. That's not how it will look in the end!"

See, what I mean?!?! :) Another layer of color goes over the top (actually 2 different deep cobalt blues and a 
metallic titanium white). I like to use metallic paints for the texture & depth they create when added to flat paints. 
This took about 1 hour. I wait for it to dry & work on it later in the day.

Now, as you can see below, I got caught up in my work (which happens quite often) 
and forgot to take photos of a few steps...Oops, Sorry!!! I will explain what I did. :)

The first thing I did was start laying out my tree trunks with a sienna color. I varied the thickness and height of each tree,
 making sure to stand back from the canvas often to make sure everything was where I wanted it to be. Then, I had to 
wait for that to dry. I then added 2-3 more colors (metallics) on top of the tree trunks to create depth & dimension...then 
had to wait for it to dry. This minus the dry time took another 2 hoursThe paints I use are acrylics BECAUSE...I would 
NEVER have the patience for oils!!! I have painted with oils before and I personally don't like that medium, so I use acrylics. :)

I then start laying on color for the "pine needles" (roughly 4 colors) and I do this with sponges (dipped in a gel blending medium) 
and various brushes. Once again layering & standing back (this is such a "key" step, sometimes squinting too because if you 
don't see depth or dimension when you do that, then to need to work on your color more). This took about 1 hour.

The next layer added was fun! I put some magenta, lime green, & cobalt blue paints in ziploc baggies & snipped a tiny corner 
off with scissors, then "squiggled" my paints where I wanted them for extra texture. I then took the back (or handle) of my
 paint brush and pushed the paint around where I wanted it. This took another 30 minutes.

I then "dry brushed" (which is getting paint on your brush & rubbing out most of the paint before you apply it to your 
painting) 2-3 more colors in various directions for my land and road areas. This took 1 1/2 hours. Then I wait for it to dry, again.

Next step: Laying out my verse!

I really like the look of text in my paintings. Usually a verse or saying or meaningful word(s) just make me happy! 
I found this verse from Rachel Carson, an American writer, scientist, & ecologist that I just loved. 

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature, the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
- Rachel Carson

This part takes the longest: Once I have decided on a quote, I then have to decide on a font and size. I then print it off and 
decide how I want to lay it out (making it straight & evenly spaced, etc.). I tape the sections with painters tape, then trace my 
words using graphite paper to transfer to my painting. This took about 2 1/2 hours. 

I remove the paper, then paint each letter (sometimes 
doing it twice to get a good coat, so that the letters are visible from afar). This took another 2 hours. Wait for it to dry.

I then take a piece of fine grit sandpaper and sand the letters to pull through the colors underneath & to make them not 
look  so perfect. Then I take another metallic paint mixed with the gel blending medium and apply it with a sponge for another layer.
This took another 30 minutes.

Final step: Polyurethane!

Final inspections, stand back, see if anything needs attention...looks good! Sign my name & date it, then take it outside for it's initial spray coat of polyurethane (this is very important, because if you don't do a spray coat you could risk smearing your paint when you brush on the polyurethane thick coats & then your painting is ruined). Wait for it to dry (which thankfully doesn't take long), then bring the painting back inside to brush on 2-3 thick coats of polyurethane. This whole process takes about 1 1/2 hours not including "dry time". I like to leave a day between brush on coats to make sure they have cured properly.

Here it is... "Florida Pines"


Total Working Hours: 17 
(Strung out over 2 weeks. This does not include any concept time, purchasing supplies
 time, drying time, clean-up time, promotion, or any fees associated with listing & selling it) 
Material Costs: Canvas $75 plus Paints $25-$30

Yay!!! I'm always so happy when I finish one! I'm going to go hang it on a wall right now!!! ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Liar, liar...Liar's Bench?

The hubs and I went for a little run this past weekend and had a little time to kill before we picked up our son from his Jiu Jitsu class.  So, we stopped in a little antique/ consignment shop. Right inside the front door was this antique liars bench for $60 that would be perfect at the foot of our bed!

What is a Liar's Bench, you might ask? Well, other than being a cute little bench for my bedroom, here is it's original purpose in life:

Liar's Bench:

A Liars' Bench is a place where people -- People, usually "older" -- come together to brag, boast, and lie about their lives - where your too old to get up on the soapbox anymore! 
The original Liar's Bench was located under a shade tree on the corner of Chestnut and Capital, in Corydon, Indiana,  from 1929 to 1986. It was a popular and cool place for the men to congregate. Many generations of stories have been told on this bench, but it was always understood that what is said here...stays here. 

Of course, I can't leave it in it's original, here goes!

I started with a little light sanding,  The original finish was a little too "honey" colored and worn. I decided to lightly sand it all down.  I like the variation in color and grain, as well as, all the knicks and dings and scratches...Hey, it's old, embrace the character! :)

 Looking better already, right?!?!

Then, my decision to stain it and what color comes next.  I decided on a Black Cherry stain.  I haven't had time to work on it lately, so some time went by and the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I didn't want to stain the whole piece. Instead, I decided that I would paint the legs a Satin Black, then stain the top.

Once I started to apply the stain, I realized that I really liked it...So, no black legs! 
That's how my projects usually work!  :)  

It's all wiped down and just drying for a couple of days before I add the polyurethane finish. *Notice my next project in the background! :)

AND...Here it is, in it's new spot!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mr. Whimsy

I love owls and have had the pleasure of seeing a few of them in my backyard. Ever since my Grandma passed away (about 9 months ago), there has been an owl that frequently hoots and flys by me when I am outside. My son, Carson and I decided it's probably Grammy watching over us. And that makes us happy!  Owls are very popular right now in all different shapes, sizes, colors, mediums...AND, because of Grammy, I wanted one in my house, too!

Inspiration: These Pier One prints...

I liked the colors & idea, but didn't like it in person. It's a print on gallery wrapped canvas, but it looks just like that...a print. The cost was $40, I think. My way of thinking...I can go buy a canvas on sale and make my own painting! So...I DID!

Making it "More Personal/ Unique": 
Like I said above, the colors and image were the appeal for me. I had a specific wall that I wanted to hang a painting, so I decided to choose colors that would be complementary with my room.  The "canvas" I chose is actually a 16 x 20 hard wood with a canvas front, so I can draw on it (you'll see)! AND, it was on clearance for $14!

The Process:

I begin by taping off my background design by tearing strips of painters tape & making my favorite harlequin pattern. 

Then, I sketch in my owl design.

I start to paint on my base colors...

Then, peel off the tape. Right now, it looks pretty flat and boring. No depth and pretty simple. So far, I have spent about a total of 4 hours on this.

Next, comes the FUN PART: Drawing the designs!

Owls have sooo much pattern and detail in their feathers , and even though this one is more cartoonish/ graphic/ abstract, I wanted him to have a complex amount of detail. Sharpies are the best!!! I have about 3 different sizes of tips, so they work great and sooo much easier than using those graphic pens that I used in college that you have to fill & clean & get what I'm saying.  This part of the process took about 3 more hours.

I wanted to give the background design a little more depth, so I mixed complementary colors (lilac for the yellow and red for the green) with a blending gel so that I could smudge on the color with a sponge and wipe off what I didn't want on it.

I filled in the rest of my designs.

Then, I painted the sides black, making sure to dry brush some black paint along all of the edges on the front. The last 2 steps maybe took 2 hours.

I signed & dated it, sprayed it with a couple of coats of matte polyurethane and...

"Mr. Whimsy"

And, in my room...

And, another close-up! :)

Materials: 16x20 canvas covered board & paints & misc. materials = $24
Time Spent: 9 hours total (spaced out over a week's time) @ $10/hr. = $90
Asking Price for a Custom Piece (if I were to sell it): $114

To read more about my "beliefs" on artwork and pricing, click on this link Anything Artsy  at the top of my "pieces of me" blog!