Once upon a time I thought to myself: Self, you should make some art for your living room walls. It’s time. Those walls have been naked for far too long. Cover ‘em up and give them some common decency. Whip up some kickass and effortless DIY art. It will be fun!
So I coerced convinced Bryan to stop by Michael’s while we were out, because I just so happened to notice that they were having a buy-one-get-one sale on 2-pack canvases. And if you know me it all, you know that I firmly subscribe to the belief that everything is better in pairs.
Long ago I was describing a crafty project I wanted to attempt to Bryan and I concluded my long-winded analysis with the phrase, “And it will be art!” Ever since, we’ve quote that phrase to each other in reference to whatever lofty décor ambitions I’m plotting next.
So that evening at Michael’s I scooped up two packages of canvases and picked out my favorite colors of acrylic paint, securely confident in my ability to “make art.”
Little did I know that this was about to turn into one of my most time-intensive and frustrating DIY projects to date, perhaps second only to “Operation: No More Popcorn”, my gargantuan task of scraping and refinishing our house’s 2000 square feet of popcorn ceilings.
The art had a promising start. You guys said the sweetest and most encouraging things to my Instagrammed sneak peeks…
Pretty colors! Flowy shapes.
Add that red! Yeah baby! Loving these colors!
And that’s where the sneak peeks ended…
We took a sudden and decided turn for the worse with the addition of yellow. Slightly depressed. What to do, what to do?
Day 3, later
Let’s see if more texture/colors helps. We can make petals! Add, add, add. Layer, layer, layer.
Oops. Lost that wispy painterly effect that was the only thing we originally had going for us…
I know! Let’s add blue. That’s what we need! Some blue.
Noooooooo! The 90’s vomited all over my canvas! Floral jumpers and mauve countertops and country blue geese wearing pink bowties – stick it in a Longaberger basket and we’re done for!
[Insert depressive mope-y phase here. Insert wails of desolation. Insert beating of self over lack of artistic talent. Insert frustration with inability to channel brilliant mind-masterpieces through hand & paint brush onto canvas. Insert plenty of pity-partying to husband.]
Day 4 later in day
At the encouragement of Bryan, I scrapped it. Grabbed my brush, filled it up with black paint, and slapped it over the surface with vim and vehemence. Oh, it was so freeing! How many times in life do you get to look at the mess you’ve made, decide to call it a day, and then wash over it with a fresh start? This image of my wet, black, angry brushstrokes I call “Frustration.”
Bryan was like, “Why are you trying to paint abstract art? You are not an abstract person.”
Gulp. He’s right. I am a type-A, all my ducks in a row, straight and narrow, patterns and precision kind of person. I do not have messy brush strokes in me. I don’t think that way! I can love and appreciate when someone else creates it, but it is laughably far from my personality to try to do so myself.
I found this inspiration image from Apartment Therapy, and thought: Now that, I can do! I eyeballed the shapes with Frog tape.
Day 5, later
Determined that nothing else was going to go wrong and sabotage my art, I painted over the edges of the frog tape with black paint to be sure there would be no bleeding. This step was probably not necessary. I really didn’t care. Nothing was going to get between me and bedecking my naked-walls-in-need-of-modern-art.
Remember when I was like, “Gold leaf: not even once”? I used it for my White & Gold Leaf Credenza Makeover and was quick to express my frustration at its imperfect and temperamental nature. So imagine my surprise when I found myself reaching for the leftover package of gold leaf and painting adhesive onto my canvases in short, gummy brushstrokes. I call this set of paintings, “Take 2.”
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Day 6, later
Nooooooo! Out of gold leaf! On the last quadrilateral of the final canvas! The fates are against me. Just six square inches left to cover!
Sometimes being a girl is fun. And then sometimes you leave the craft store in tears bc there is no gold leaf…
— Brynne Delerson (@thegatheredhome) February 18, 2014
Left early for work so I could stop at the craft store on the way. No gold leaf to be found. None. No other craft stores nearby. Break down in tears on the phone with husband.
Went to a different craft store in a different city. Hallelujah! Gold leaf and a 40% off coupon! Plus some thrift stores on the way home. Booyah! After finishing up the final empty gap, I practically embraced the finished product! Happy dances were had.
Using a high-tech level app on my phone that either egregiously lied to me or led me to the shocking discovery that our house sits at a permanent 45° angle, I finally hung the canvases in their [final? temporary?] resting place. (I decided to hang them vertically rather than horizontally as originally planned.)
Eleven days, two trips to the craft store (three if you count the initial visit to buy the canvases), and it’s finally done! I love them, but I’m not sure they’ll always live on this wall. I’m thinking the black and gold could also be great candidates for my new moody dining room… We’ll see!
Have you ever had a simply DIY project snowball into a fortnight’s affair? Do you have mad abstract art skills or do you lack a single artistic bone in your body like me? ;) Ready to give gold leaf a try (or a second chance)?