Thursday, May 3, 2012

Art That Pops

It has been awhile since I mentioned it- it has been a busy semester.  I also only just got this back.  Here is my paper for my English class describing some basic techniques for fun paintings that anyone can do.
Next time I get around to it, I might add some step be step pictures to make it better as a tutorial.

Art That Pops
            You don’t have to be an award-winning artist to create a stunning piece of art that can be just as fulfilling to create as it is to give.  Remember when you were a child and your mother always said that the gifts she cherished most were those made by hand?    How about that elaborate construction paper valentine you made for your grade school crush that you were so proud of?  Most people abandoned making these crafted gifts by adulthood and opted for retail gift cards or the latest gadget.
            For whatever reason, you have decided to put the love and care back into gift giving for someone special to you.  Only now you are intimidated by the idea of attempting such a project when you are unsure you can create to the standard you would like it to be.  As adults we also realize that putting so much of ourselves into such an undertaking may expose us to a point where we feel vulnerable.  Don’t let a fear of rejection or lack of self confidence get in your way. 
            Here you are, having screwed up your courage, ready to begin your painting.  That was step one.  Now, think about the person it is intended for.  For this example, let us assume your mother’s birthday is coming soon and you really want to surprise her with something that expresses your love and appreciation.   What is her favorite color; where do you think she will display your art?
            When considering a canvas, bear in mind that it doesn’t have to literally be a canvas.  You can paint on just about anything.  A great place to start might be a thrift store, flea market, or some local garage sales.  Repurposing items and recycling old art prints is a great way to save money, have an interesting canvas, and be environmentally friendly.  Before you begin, make sure the surface is clean.  You may want to apply a coat of primer to ensure good adhesion of your paint, depending on your material.
            Any space that has ample room and is comfortable will do as a studio. Be aware when using certain materials, such as spray paint or paint thinner, you will need adequate ventilation.  A space that will accommodate any possible mess should also be considered.  For these reasons, sometimes the best studio is the great outdoors.  Simply set up a table in your own backyard.  This is an ideal place to allow you the freedom of many different application techniques as well.
            Begin by placing your canvas flat down on the table.  Let us say you decide on a palette of warm, earthy tones.  First, apply a coat of bright yellow.  How you apply the base coat is inconsequential; spray it, sponge, brush, pour, ect.  Remember one of the main reasons you made things as a kid was simply because it was fun.  Once your base coat dries you can move on to adding texture.
            Look around you.  What is available?  Sometimes the most unexpected things can create the most interesting texture.  A leaf is a very common element used in creating dimension in a background.  There are several ways to use leaves.  To tone down the bright yellow base, spread a generous amount of a darker yellow or light brown paint on the leaf.  Now, using the leaf as a stamp, press it onto your canvas.  Do this several times, keeping as much or as little paint on the leaf as you like.
            This can either complete your background, or you can continue adding textures using different materials and different colors until you are satisfied with it.  Just make sure the background is still light enough for your subject to stand out.  For your subject to be prominent, use a darker color such as black or dark brown.  The main thing about a painting like this is that a more basic subject usually works best.
            Your subject doesn’t necessarily have to be painted, either.  If you do not feel you have the artistic ability to paint a tree silhouette or portrait as your main focus, then don’t.  That original leaf you used to stamp your background is most likely sopped in paint.  Simply find another one that is pleasing to the eye and slather it with a deep, chocolate brown.  Place the leaf carefully on your canvas and press down all of the edges until the entire leaf has reached the canvas.  Peel the leaf off, and there you have your subject. 
            This is an easy method that anyone can follow and start creating their own stunning artwork that can be thoroughly a joy to make.  You can alter this method as much as you want as you get more practiced, or dismiss it altogether.  Take this as a starting point, and be well on your way to proving that anyone can be a great  artist.
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