Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Plastic Adirondack Chair Gets New Life

Inexpensive plastic Adirondack chair found in the shed needed a face lift.  Years of grime had built up on it, so  I washed it down with one of those cleaners with bleach and let it dry over night.  Using a fine sanding block I lightly sanded the area I wanted to paint to rough it up and bit. Since I never painted anything like this before, I hoped the light sanding would help the paint stick. 

I painted the picture with regular acrylic craft paint and let that dry for two days.

Then sprayed it with an acrylic sealer. I put five coats of the sealer on because this would be left outside all summer.  I'd recommend this be stored in a shed or garage during the winter months.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Photo Art Friday

A great photo is art in time. Catching that exact point where the light, shadow, and the person or creature all come together for the perfect picture takes talent.

So in celebration of photographers's PHOTO ART FRIDAY!

There are photographs everywhere. We've bombarded with photos all the time. Every internet site uses photos to lure us in, make us read and sometimes to make us buy. Photos adorn our walls. We search for the picture that says something to us, makes us feel. Finding the right photo to fit that wall over the sofa, in the dining room, office, or to match the bathroom decor can be thrilling. It can bring the whole room together. Or you find a picture you love and then use the colors in the picture to decorate the room and everything comes together.

One of my favorite places to scope out photos is Fine Art America. Photo artists from all over post their work there for purchase. It's one of the best online art galleries I've found.

 Photo by Andrew Davis One photo artist I've come across there is Andrew Davis.   A nature/landscape/wildlife photographer, he recently added an album shot in Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey and the photos are beautiful. My favorite from this album is here. Love the depth of field between the stone lion and cherry blossoms in the background. Who knew you'd find something so cool in Newark?
He also has great action shots of the mallards in the lake and close up of flowers. I love the daffodil shots!  Click the link and check out the rest of the photos!

So, who's your favorite photog? What kind of photos hang in your home?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crayon Artist ---It's a Grown-up Thing

I don't remember where I found this artist, but just wander through his online gallery and you'll be amazed.

Don Marco uses crayons to create great works of art. Just plain old crayons like the ones the kids used to leave all over the floor.

This one is my attempt at Crayon art. It's not finished and wasn't well planned. I just saw Don Marco's art and had to grab the crayons. It was a learning experience. Crayons are not just for coloring books and if you work them like pastels, you know, pressing, smoothing, blending, you can get a rich coloring that almost looks like a cross between paint and pastel.

Another search of the web and I discovered beautiful protraits by crayon artist, Jeffrey Robert or some pop art by Kristina Nelson. Their work is amazing!

I used plain construction paper and Crayola crayons.

So? Grab some crayons and paper and give it a try!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Unfinished bench Gets the Painted Message

 Another sketch, burn, paint project.
I found this cute little bench at an Amish shop in Pennsylvania. I think I paid like $35 for it. A real steal for such a well made piece.

First the whole bench was sanded. Wiping down with a damp cloth afterwards removes any dust left by sanding.

Then I just sketched some pictures on it. This time I went right to the wood and started drawing without pre-sketching it on paper first. I had the designs in my head, but I recommend doing a paper sketch first. Saves some erasing and maybe damaging the wood.

Then I burned the pictures in. I like burning the lines in because, up close, it gives the piece some texture. A quick wipe down with a damp cloth will make sure any little pieces of wood that flicked off during the burning process are gone.

Then I just painted in the pictures. For the day to night look on the top I started with the light blue on one side and the dark purple black on the other and just worked toward the center until it blended. Everything else was just filled in. Kind of like coloring in a coloring book. I never out grew coloring books! I just do it on a different level now.  :)

On one side of the bench there's a family tree filled in with family names for the customer. The other side has two silhouettes sitting before a moon and the names of the couple underneath.

Once everything was painted, I sprayed it with three coats of acrylic sealer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pile of Wood = Artsy Desk

It starts with a basic sketch
"Let passion fuel your purpose"
 Some wood and a hubby skilled with saws and stuff..

A compass to always find my way & sunshine for happiness. 
Transferred the pictures from the sketch to the wood. 
 Burned the pictures into the wood. It's called Pyrography. I'm not that good at it but I just went over the lines transferred to the wood. Then got out the paint and colored in the lines,
Each leg had a different flower. 

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." 
Compass side goes to the inside (belly side?)of the desk.

Front of desk- Moon to Sun
 Stained the unpainted areas with a warm walnut then comes three coats of Polycrylic. (Sand and wipe down between coats) I used four coats on the desk top because I figure it will get the most wear.

 Sides of the desk get a heart design and carry over the leaves from the top of the desk.

Sketched, burned, painted, stained Polycrylic 

Finished Desk! 


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Jazz to Giraffe & Saying Goodbye

 When leaving a job I loved I wanted to give my boss something special. Her husband loved Jazz and she loved Giraffes. And they had a nice front porch. I found a couple of unfinished Adirondack chairs and got to work.

First I painted the chairs an off white to give me a plain "canvas" to work on. A quick chalk sketch and I filled the picture in with acrylic craft paint.  Behind the Jazz man I used greens and yellows to set off the blues in the sax and jacket. On the giraffe I used blue for the sky.

Once everything was painted I used polyurethane to give it a good protective coat. Three layers, sanding between coats.  For the record? It was smelly and hard to get smooth. I now use Polycrylic on projects. It doesn't smell as bad and goes on smoother.

Looking at these photos now I can see problems with Jazz man. The perspective in his face is off and I don't like the angle of the sax. Why do I always see these things after the fact???

My boss was happy with the gift and that's all that really counts, right?

Hand Painted Kids Chairs

 I was asked to paint some crummy, chipped, faded red kids chairs. Sure, remove the paint or sand it down, how hard could it be?


These simple chairs should have been a piece of cake, instead I couldn't wait to get them off my bench.

The paint, layers upon layers of paint - a whole rainbow of paint under the top layer of faded red - would not come off.  I think there was so many layers of paint that nothing could seep in enough to melt it away. So out came the electric sander, Dremel sander and elbow-grease sander...Oy! I did my best.

After getting the remaining paint as flat and smooth as possible, I spray painted everything black.

Sketched everything in chalk. I wanted it cartoony and playful. Then I just colored in the lines with acrylic paint. Using white paint and a short bristled brush, I used my thumb to pull the bristles back and sprinkled white paint over it to give a "star" effect.

Spray down with a high gloss acrylic sealer (3 coats) and they're done!

This was not my favorite project and some of the placement of the pictures was done to distract from the problems with the underlying paint job.  If I had this to do over again .... I wouldn't have accepted this job. Small chairs equal small nooks and crannies and too many years of layered paint that would just not remove easily. The majority of my time was spent trying to get a paint-able surface.  I love upcycling old furniture but wonder if a different approach would have been better for these chairs.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hand Painted Family Tree

 My daughter asked me to paint a family tree on a her future mom-in-law's wall. She had just moved in and had seen the family tree idea on the internet. I'd done murals in my own home and painted scenes on my big bay window during the holidays or Superbowl so I figured I'd give the tree a try.

As soon as I walked in I wanted this wall. It was the first thing I saw walking in and thought it might be give some dramatic flare to the entrance. It's a hall going from the kitchen to the living room but visible from the front door and to me it looked like a perfect canvas. Lucky for me the owner agreed.

This is plain black paint. Branches and trunk went up first. Then leaves everywhere! Both were painted with a flat brush. To give the tree a more finished look I finished off this family tree by painting some thin wispy branches throughout. (Liner brush) I think they gave the tree a finished look.

 Time from start to finish was four hours. A good meal was the perfect payment. Yum! And she bought my favorite gluten free cookies!
 Finished tree ..................................... ~~~~~~>
Laying out the frames! 

At Halloween the tree got a little batty!
(removable vinyl stickers)

Quick & Easy Table Redo

Found this old, scratched up table in the Artfully Repurposed supply shed. I love Peacocks and thought it might be a challenged to paint one on a piece of furniture.

Structurally sound, I gave the table a good sanding and wiped it down with a damp cloth.

Spray Paint time!

I dragged the table outside. Three light coats of light blue spray paint went on the table. Let dry for a few hours between coats.

Tip: When working with spray paint keep the coats light. Layering on several light coats will go on smoother, heavy coats tend to drip. Keep a damp cloth in one hand to give any drips a quick wipe.

The next day I sketched out the peacock with chalk and started at the head, working my way down. I knew the tail feathers would be a challenge, but wanted them to get a little wild. I painted the "eye" of each tail feather first then just layered in some feather lines to fluff it out.

Inside the drawer there was one place where the wood was marred. I sanded it down but it still needed to be covered up. One lonely peacock feather was painted over the spot.
And there's the table! I put it up for sale at Artfully Repuposed in Middletown, NJ.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Refinished Old Stool Roars to Life

I always try to take photo of my projects before and after. Most times I'm so excited to get started, I forget, but here's the before of a Tiger Stool.....

I found this old, beat up stool in the shed at Artfully Repurposed and knew I had to paint it.

After giving the whole thing a good sanding (and wipe down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust), I spray painted the whole thing black.

It dried over night and I started painting. Using white paint, I blocked out the lighter areas and eyes. Then I painted the eyes, nose and ears just to get some perspective. The rest was layered in white, orange (with some yellow for highlights), and black.

Since I layered on the paint thicker in some places I let this dry for a week before spraying it with a high gloss acrylic spray.  Again I used several coats of sealer so it would hold up to some wear and tear and butts...if anyone actually wanted to sit on his little face.

This item went up for sale at Artfully Repurposed in Middletown, NJ.

Painted Tables for the Patio

When my daughter bought her own house we got her a few housewarming presents, but I also wanted to get her tables for her screened in patio. I went shopping everywhere but all I could find were super expensive tables that really didn't look like they were worth what was being charged. I don't mind spending a buck when the item is worth the price, but none of the tables we found added up to what I was looking for
So the wheels in my brain started turning...we could make the tables! Hello Home Depot!

I purchased two plastic flower pots, two round pre-cut wood tops and a can of blue spray paint. A quick visit to Michaels (My fav store!) to pick up some craft paint for the flowers (red, yellow, and white) and a can of gloss acrylic sealer.

Placing the wood disks right side down on the floor, I lined up the pots in the center, and screwed the pots to the tops. Use a short screw. Just long enough to secure the top without going through it.

Once it was all together I gave it a quick, light sand and wiped it down with a damp cloth. After giving it an hour to dry, I spray painted everything blue. It took two coats to cover. Then let dry over night.

I used chalk to trace out the flowers and just started painting. Blending the dark red with white to get some texture, I used a one inch flat brush for the whole thing.

Dry 24 hours (some people think acrylic should dry longer but I never had a problem waiting just one day) and then spray with acrylic sealer. I sprayed three times letting each coat dry for a few hours in between. Take extra care to coat the top because it will get the most wear and tear.

Now there's a cute set of Hibiscus tables on the patio for a fraction of the cost and I had some fun painting!

Confession; Hibiscus have five petals....oops! It's okay, the cat likes it.

Painted Chair

Found this chair in the supply shed at Artfully Repurposed, an artist shop in Middletown, NJ. Artist join and are welcome to sell their own art or take one of the items there and recreate it to sell in their shop. (More about this place in a future post!)

The chair a plain, wooden (brown) chair. Light scratches that could easily be sanded out, but structurally sound. If you lifted the seat it would fold up. Nice feature! I knew this would be an easy fix up so I took it home.

First out came the sanding block and I gave every inch a light sanding. A damp wash cloth was used to wipe it down. (Wiping down after sanding is an important step or the paint will look fuzzy.)

Next step? Black gloss spray paint! Work slowly and give the chair two or three light coats until every space is black. Let dry overnight.

Now for the flowers. I worked simply and used white paint to block out where I wanted the flowers and leaves. Let dry. Then I painted the flowers and leaves on. Let dry overnight. Spray with a high gloss acrylic sealer.
Simple! Done!

I put this chair up for sale at Artfully Repurposed, but kind of wish I kept it. I loved the bright flowers on the black background. now I'm on the lookout for another chair I can do this too again.

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