17 Aug 2012

Artist in the House

Artist. Ha! I suck at Pictionary, my stick people aren't even proportionate.  My Mom and I have to play Pictionary together because we are the only 2 who can tell what each other is drawing (if you are reading this and are in my family, I know you know this to be true!).  But smooshing some paint around...that I can do. 

Remember the giant painting that I picked up at a garage sale a while back? The one where the lady went on and on about how fabulous the painting was. 

I have plans for the frame, but didn't intend to use the painting. I actually planned to toss it out on our next trip to the dump.  It hung out in our garage for a while (as do most things in our house that we don't know what to do with).   

Remember the giant hole we have in our basement?  The one that I talked about here.

Here's the thing, and I am warning you now, this is a bit of a tangent....

About two months ago we cancelled our cable.  It was costing us way too much and we weren't watching it.  So, we upped our internet speed and decided we would just watch everything we wanted to over the internet. We bought an Apple TV and hooked up Netflix, and sat down on the couch to watch everything it had to offer.  Well...we are hooked.  There are TV series that we haven't had the chance to see before...and all for $8 a month.  Love it.  We are currently mowing our way through the second season of Sons of Anarchy.  Any Anarchy fans out there? It's so bad, but oh so good. I'm totally addicted (and secretly in love with Jax Teller). Anyhow, to get back on track.  I got tired of watching my Anarchy boys while staring at the ugly hole (it's right in my field of view during tube watching).  I had to cover the hole. The Anarchy boys deserved better.

Guess what?  The ugly canvas would totally cover the whole.  The only problem?  It was ugly....and bumpy.

I didn't want a bumpy painting.  What gets rid of bumps?  Sanding!  I hauled out the palm sander and went crazy sanding the painting.  Mr. Swell thought I was insane.  I probably was, but it worked. (If you get crazy and do this too, don't forget to wear a dusk mask)

Here's the canvas post sanding:

I couldn't get all of the texture off without sanding through the canvas, but I did get the big bumps off.

Then, using a foam brush, I brushed on 3 coats of primer.  I just used the primer I had laying around, which happend to be Zinsser 1-2-3 Bullseye.

I put the paint on really thick, so it took about a whole day to dry.  

I decided to go for an ombre look on this one.  I still love most things ombre, and I figured it was one of the only things that this non-drawer would be able to pull off.

I started with one big stripe of Navy Blue.  The paint is actually an exterior latex - Wrought Iron by Martha Stewart that we used for the front door.

Then while it was still wet I added grey on either side, blending as I went. The colour is Rockport Grey by Benjamin Moore - latex interior eggshell.

I didn't wash the brush in between, which helped things blend.  I also made sure to stand back every once and a while to make sure I was staying somewhat even.

Then I used the primer again on the ends to blend white into the grey.

I waited a couple days for it to dry and then moved it down to the basement to cover the giant hole.

It's so big that it doesn't even need to be hung - it's just resting against the wall. 

Upcycled Canvas to Abstract Art

Upcycled Canvas to Abstract ArtUpcycled Canvas to Abstract Art

I've considered painting the edges so that you don't see the drips, but I actually sort of like the unfinished look.  It looks much more expensive gallery, right?

And in case you are wondering, the wall paint in Spartan Stone by Behr.  It's a really great light khaki colour. It's reading a bit more minty in the pictures than it really is - the lighting in the basement is not conducive to good photos.  Also, just ignore the unfinished ceiling, ok?  Half of our basement still doesn't have ceiling as we've put it on hold until winter.  Hanging ceiling is a good project when it's -40  degrees outside.

Let me tell you, this is much better to look at while watching Jax Teller.  I also consider it a freebie.  The picture did cost me $10 at the garage sale, but I bought it for the frame, not for the painting and the paint was all left overs that I had hanging around.


  1. Holy cow! You were right, that was a huge hole. It didnt look like that large of an opening in the first picture until the end when you put the sofa size canvas over it.

    Nice job. I did something similar when I lived in my apartment a few years ago. I rented a foursquare home turned duplex. In my kitchen the breaker box was in the wall and adjacent to it was the exposed brick of the chimney from downstairs.

    The downstairs people were the lucky ones - they had all the pretty mantles, there were none upstairs in my space, just ugly holes covered with stove pipe covers where the former room stoves tied into the chimneys to vent outside. Although, I did love the exposed brick in my kitchen, hallway and bathroom.

    Anyhoo...I covered both the breaker box and the stove pipe cover in my kitchen with artwork I produced while in college. I loved it.

    -Erica F

    1. Very cool. Our original plan was to put a cabinet door on it, but I wasnt really very excited about having a cabinet door about the fireplace. Art work is fantastic at hiding things....and so much easier than patching a hole!

  2. Holy Cow. Thank you for the wonderful idea. I have a massive canvas painting of a pastel house/trees/flower,yuck,that was given to me and is sitting in our catch all room waiting for me to take it to the local DAV (thrift store). Now Im going to bust out my favorite sander, yes I have more than one and get to work. Now just to figure out what colors to use.

    1. Do it - bust out the sander! It was actually quite fun to sand the painting - just dont wear a white shirt as paint dust goes everywhere. Good luck! Thanks for stopping by

  3. Kelly this was a great project, one that I could do as well also. ;) Im a stick figure kind of girl too. LOL. But seriously, I love your Ombre painting. Thanks for sharing. Stopping over from your YHL comment today. Glad I stopped by. :)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. I think anyone can do ombre...the trick is not over thinking it (like I do with stick figures!)

  4. Turned out really well. Very nice.


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