Gallery Wall

It’s been far too long since I posted—apologies to my follower. But now that summer/an active lifestyle is done, I am excited to get back to it! To get into the groove, I’d like to share something I’ve been wanting to post: my gallery wall. I’ve been a fan of this type of setup for awhile and have read (and ignored) lots of tips on how to create your own. And now I’m about to give you tips on how I made mine, so take that with a grain of salt.

My humble gallery wall.

My humble gallery wall.

Please note that I did not intend this to be a shrine to my own artwork but when you’re a. into painting and b. too poor for real art, it happens. Deal with it. I thought I’d mention where the pieces came from and point out some of the vintage or thirty ones BECAUSE IT’S WHAT I DO!

Ms. Foxy: Hardcore fans of my blog (JK, that’s not a thing) will recognize this as a painting I did in my last art class. End of story.

The Golden “B”: The newest addition to the wall! The letter was a few dollars at Target and I spray painted it gold and drilled a hole in the back to hang it. So easy and cheap!

Whale Cribbage Board: A favorite of mine from a local vintage store.

My Passport: Six pages of my passport, separated and framed with a custom-cut mat. Hint: if the coolest stamps are on back-to-back pages, a color copy looks just as good.

My Dad’s Army Photo: My favorite picture of him, because I think he looks like a movie star.

Gold Framed Oil Painting: An original painting of Paris that I got at my favorite antique store by my cabin. Super inexpensive for an original anything.

Mask: A tiny little mask I picked up while volunteering in El Salvador that cost a couple bucks.

Dog painting: My beloved dog Bailey, painted by me.

White Framed Watercolor: This is a painting of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria that I bought from a street artist in the same location.

Eiffel Tower Painting: Another one I did in art class. This one is a copy of another painting.

Wooden Framed Mountain Painting: A painting I did from life (is a mountain alive?) while in Seward, Alaska at a plein air painting weekend.

Silver Framed Boat Painting: Another from the same Seward plein air weekend with a frame from a thrift store.

Vintage Book: A vintage book made into a clock that I bought at a flea market in Brooklyn.

My Humble Advice and Tips:

  1. Mix and match everything. Gold and silver. Black and brown. Homemade and purchased. Photos and other media. Some people go with all photos or all black frames which can look really great, but I love the unmatched look of my wall (and I think it fits my apartment).
  2. Don’t think you have to spend a lot. The most I spent on anything on this wall was probably getting the custom mat for my passport, which was not all that much. Homemade art can look really nice!
  3. Include three-dimensional stuff along with two-dimensional art. It really adds another, well, dimension to the wall. Consider hanging things that aren’t normally meant to be hung. I had to nail a wire to the cribbage board to hang it up, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the wall (and since I don’t know how to play cribbage, no big loss).
  4. Search thrift stores for picture frames. Those can often be the most expensive part, but places like Goodwill are overflowing with them for cheap.
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A Foxy Gentleman

Project number two from this session of art class is a painting of a lovely gentleman (I think) fox. I originally thought it was a female and my art teacher didn’t, but I just couldn’t bring myself to paint boobs to make it true. I was inspired by (copied) this painting I found on Etsy via Pinterest. I’ve been very into foxes lately so one wearing a British riding coat seems fitting. It only took about two classes to finish up. I think it turned out pretty well! image1   I like how the plain, really light peachy background sets off the fox and makes it look more like a fancy portrait. My teacher wanted me to change it and add more color, but I stood my ground. Here he is resting on my green leather chair, as fox oil paintings are wont to do. I’ve still got to find a good spot for him/her but I think it would fit in nicely in my chair and book corner. image3The next painting I’m working on is of a rug! I hope it turns out better than it sounds in that sentence.

An Oil Painting of a Proper Cuppa English Tea

I’m taking an oil painting class again I’ve taken a few times before so I’m back in painting mode! And if you know me in real life (IRL as the kids say), you may have picked up on the fact that I have an infatuation with England/London/Britain/the royal family/the Harrys (Styles and the prince one). Well the good news (not psychologically, probably) is that it’s recently kicked up a notch! Brilliant! This painting is the first result of that but you can bet your ascot there will be more coming soon.

So here’s my painting! I think it turned out pretty well, which just basically means that I finished it in two classes instead of five. I’m happy it moved along and I didn’t have enough time to struggle over it and grow to despise it (that’s the normal painting process for me).

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I got the “idea” (I straight copied it!) from this painting I found on Pinterest (if you want to see more of my “artspiration”, check out my board). It always helps me to loosen up my style when I imitate another painting that has that style. Maybe it will eventually morph into my own. That’s the plan, anyway. The other plan is to paint more of what I actually want hanging in my apartment as art instead of what I feel like painting. However, I am running into the difficulty that this place is beginning to look like a shrine to myself and my art…It’s getting weird.

Pretend this is a flip book and scroll fast for a quick zero to 60 painting in three seconds.

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What a rush! If only it went that fast IRL! Har har. But here’s the new problem: I don’t know what to paint next! Help! Spoiler: it will probably be British in theme.

Painted Champagne Flutes

I’ve been really into with outfitting my bar cart for a while now and got to thinking that gold decorated glassware would be perfect for it! After researching some designs that were simple but way too expensive, I decided to make them myself with the champagne flutes I had lying around.

I found some tips for painting glass on Pinterest (this site has the basic steps, too) and used those to guide me. Here’s what I did:

  1. Wash and rinse glasses with soap and water. I let them dry overnight.
  2. I wiped the outsides off with vinegar (the other option was rubbing alcohol and unless they mean vodka, I honestly don’t know what that is) with a cotton ball and let them dry again.
  3. Time to paint! I used a gold enamel paint (Folk Art brand) and ended up doing 2-3 coats on the glasses. It really depends on the design if this is necessary or not. Some of the glasses could have gone without a second coat.
  4. Bake the glasses to seal the paint. I baked them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. According to the directions, the important part is the put the glasses in a cold oven and let them preheat and cool down with the oven temp.
  5. The big reveal:

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And now for the best part…the cost!

  • The champagne flutes were freeeee! (Tip: Find an older brother who is giving his away. Seriously, who was he ever kidding owning 12 champagne flutes? Then again, who am I kidding? Oh wait, I’m too lazy to wash them! That’s why!) You could definitely find some at Goodwill or a thrift store though. I bet a handful of mismatched glasses would look like a set once they’re painting similarly.
  • The paint only cost $2-$3 from Walmart. And that was it!

Looking at the glasses now, the dots and vertical lines definitely turned out the best. The horizontal lines got thick and goopy and the paint didn’t cover as well as the other two. If I did it again, I’d do all polka dots—I think they look the cutest and turned out the best. Cheers!

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Art + Wine Classes: Yay or nay?

I think because I like to pretend I’m a true artist I was a little apprehensive and judgmental about those wine and art classes. The fact that everyone does the same exact picture makes them seem non-artisty to me. All the art classes I’ve taken as an adult have been ones where you can do whatever the hell you want without being instructed. Which is maybe why half the time they make me so stressed out and hate myself. And, I don’t know if you’ve heard, there’s a BAR at these trendy classes! I could be convinced to take a calculus class if they told me there was a bar there.

So I decided to give it a try. With my mom and older sister in tow, I showed up for a Wednesday night class to paint an autumn scene. First thing’s first, we got wine at the bar. (They were out of champagne, exCUSE me?! Whatever.) Then I started sizing up my competition. For some reason, arts and crafts makes me super competitive (wouldn’t it be nice if work or real life did that to me?) so I wanted to make sure mine would be the best. Or better than my sister’s at least.

Here we are, just the happiest little family of painters.

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The weird thing about the class is that I kind of felt like I was painting blind. It was a much different experience than when I sit down to paint at home or in a class. The actual picture we were copying was about the size of a postage stamp and hung on the wall .5 miles away so that wasn’t much help. Mom kept freaking out about this fact. She also started adding cobblestones without being told and totally going AWOL on her picture and then everyone loved it. I had half a mind to tell on her. But I actually found the experience liberating. Since I just did what I was told and had no idea what I was really supposed to be doing, there was much less to stress out about (except when the goddamn bar was going to be open for service again). The process is a little dumbed down and not every single detail is included but I think that definitely helped make the project easier and completable in a few hours. I can’t remember the last time I finished a painting in that amount of time…or a quarter of that amount of time. So yay for finishing one!

Overall rating: An A! It was fun, so much less stressful than normal, fun to hang with the fam, drink, and accomplish something.

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Lessons learned:

  1. Just always be drinking when you’re painting. Just do it.
  2. Not every detail needs to be painted.
  3. Frequent cheese breaks are a must. (My sister’s snacks totally helped my…inspiration, or whatever.)
  4. There’s always someone whose painting is worse than yours to make you feel better.

You can buy my picture for $5,000. I swear there are only like 50 others like it out there.

Ta da!

Quick Sunflower Oil Painting

Oil on canvas. That’s about it.

There have been a lot of oil paintings lately but with winter and Christmas coming and my job not doubling my salary, I have a feeling I may be sharing some lovely homemade knit gifts soon! Until then, here’s an oil painting I did a couple weeks ago of sunflowers. I really enjoyed doing this one because it only took me a few hours to complete (compared to the painting I’ve been working on for a couple of year that is approximately the size of a postage stamp) and I was able to be pretty loose with it and not such a perfectionist. I think the style turned out kind of cool and more impressionistic than many of mine that get too precise.

If you want to finish a painting quickly, I recommend painting something you don’t care much about! Someone else gave me this picture to paint and since I needed a break, I went ahead and did it. So here are the sunflowers – and it’s up for grabs! Sorry for the icky photo quality.

Painted Alaskan Landscapes

In honor of my upcoming trip to Alaska (I leave Friday, eee! Oh wait, sorry, you don’t care, my bad), I decided to post two paintings I did when I lived there for a year (finding new things out about me all the time, eh?). My sister’s mother-in-law is a professional painter there (oils and pastels, mainly) and we were lucky enough to be able to use her studio and her expertise whenever we wanted. While there, a number of students, my sister and I included, took a trip to Seward, AK for a plein air painting experience. “Plein air” just means “open air” in French and so that’s where we painted. It was cool enough just to be among of group of artists (if I can call myself that) painting out in the grass along the coastline, not to mention the Alaskan scenery is more than enough inspiration! (Side note: It is also really interesting to see how different people paint the same/similar subject.  I am always amazed at what a variety of styles and interpretations there are.) So here are the two paintings I did there. The first was from the water looking inland of a mountain (wish I knew the name of it but there are so so many there, who knows if there is one?!) and the second was more inland on the docks.

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