Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


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Transformed Thrift Store Artwork (in which painted velvet is actually a good thing)

So. You remember this ugly piece of thrift store artwork I picked up for $5 here, right? I know, I know, how could you forget this nightmarish painting? It’s downright scary. My apologies. Ken shrieked when I brought it home, poor guy.
old artwork in antique frame

But no worries. I used oil paints for the first time and it actually turned out pretty cool-looking. Except for the frame.

framed oil painting

So I polled you guys since I was sincerely bamboozled. Many chimed in with GREAT ideas, so click over to that post if you are ever in a dire situation like this. (HA). Pretty sure no one’s had this problem ever.

I ended up diving in headfirst by painting the velvet-y strip of the frame navy. I’ve done this before, on this frame, and it worked out well then. It does get stiffer, but after 50ish years, these velvet bits aren’t exactly something you want to rub your face on anyway.

Paint a thrift store frame's velvet section with craft paint.

It dried SUPER quickly (YAY) so I flipped the frame over and secured the oil painting in its grasp. Also–I painted on the backside of the painting if, justincase I ever wanted to, I don’t know? flip it over and use the original gross side? Completely unnecessary, now that I think about it.

old artwork preserved! just in case.

I’m in love with the painting and how easy it was. KEY: use lots of white. When I didn’t, things got murky FAST.

Oil painting for beginners! Super easy.

It now hangs in the 12 square feet that is our hallway, between our bedroom on the left and bathroom on the right.

Ugly thrifted artwork turned beautiful!

I left the outer creamy portion of the frame as is for now. I’m still mulling over whether or not I want to paint it. It’s currently acting as a nice bridge color between our creamy walls and the bright white in the painting.

Oh, and I made a nice (PINNABLE, hint) before and after image so you could see the contrast without scrolling up.

Transform old thrift store art!

So, for $5 and the cost of paint (maybe $6? I had a giftcard), we now have a sweet custom piece of artwork.

Moral of the story: don’t pass up ugly pieces of art in the thrift store, but don’t show it to your husband before you transform it. Things go much better that way.

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On Using Oil Paints (in which I create a fancy interactive blog post to ask for help)

Last week got a little crazy around here: I channeled my inner art class nerd.

Normally I stick to Pinterest-level crafts (read: easy) but my recent love of oil paintings got me thinking.

Well that, and this $5 questionable thrift store find:

old artwork in antique frame

It was large and I loved the frame, but the (fake) picture inside was pretty gross looking.

So I broke out a Michael’s gift card I’ve been hoarding and purchased myself some oil paints. And a fancy brush, because I figured that would help, right?

Unfortunately, I purchased the wrong type of brush (blame my inner cheapskate). Apparently you’re supposed to get brushes with natural hair bristles for oil painting, not synthetic. Spoiler alert: The brush worked fine for this project. Probably because I am a mere beginner.

Oil painting supplies

I assembled my supplies, took the artwork out of the frame, and flipped it over. I’m not fancy enough for a real canvas…and this was very handy.

And then I got to work piling paint onto the cardboard. I sort of used this painting as a reference as I went along.

using oil paints

It was a bit rainy and cold outside, so this was the perfect activity.

Also, mixing paint is hard for me. I had to go back to the store and buy another whole tube of white because the painting was getting a bit murky and brownish by this point. White helped the situation immensely.

using oil paints

And then I waited. Apparently, oil paintings take FOR.EV.ER. to dry. My elementary school art class failed me a little on this project.

Getting impatient, I finally put the painting in the frame last night and ran into what could be classified as a problem. The painting has bright white tones in it, yet the frame (which dates to the ancient year of 1968) is decidedly NOT white.

framed oil painting

The “inner” creamy portion is velvet covered, but I have painted velvet on a frame before. The outside strip of cream would be quite easy to paint. The gold I love, so that is staying for sure.

Since I can’t decide, I made this fancy poll.

 

What are your thoughts? Anyone else embracing their inner fine artist lately?


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New Lease, New Gallery Wall (in which I add another hundred nail holes to our already riddled walls)

Ken and Anne are on the cusp of signing another year-long lease on our little apartment. This news does not thrill me, so I’ve begun taking out my frustration on the apartment itself, most recently in the form of another hundred nail holes or so.

Why yes, I did redo another gallery wall, this time our oil painting one. Things get changed around here a lot, if you haven’t noticed.

Oil painting gallery wall layout.

With the addition of two new-to-me oil paintings, I got to work and tried a gazillion different arrangements on the floor. Nevermind my propensity to abandon the plan when things start going up on the walls…I like to challenge myself (and add way more nail holes than necessary).

But I was thrilled with how things worked out in the end. THIS is what I’ve been picturing from the beginning when I began collecting oil paintings…almost. Ultimately the wall behind would be a dark graphite color, but since we’re renting, I refuse to put actual $$ into the place (not counting our $2 addition to the kitchen).

Oil painting gallery wall

To clarify, the Van Gogh in the center is not an original. I know you were wondering.

My current favorite piece (though it changes by the second) is the weird tiny girl painting. She’s blonde, probably 10 years old, and very mysterious. I think she’s also Ken’s favorite, though he won’t admit it…he also loves the floral paintings.

Oil painting gallery wall

I also spraypainted the green birds gold. It was a tough call, but when faced with the opportunity to spray paint out of an aeresol can, I always take it.

Oil painting gallery wall

Finally, I added some dried billy button flowers to the blue vase by the TV. I actually pilfered them from this fancy event Ken and I went to a few months ago–best decision ever. Second best decision ever: using the word “pilfered.”

Since we’ve got another year to go in the apartment (give or take), you can safely assume that this is not the last you’ll hear of this gallery wall. But for the moment, I’m loving it. Oh, and if you’d like to see some of the evolution of this wall, check that out here, here, and here. And here and here. I know. I can’t stop myself.