I needed beautiful things to hang on my wall, so I decided to make them myself. I have been DIY-ing clothes for quite some time now (hand-painting shirts, be-glittering shoes) and, in the process, have been learning a little about how different art mediums work. I thought to myself, why not flip the world upside-down and create art pieces inspired by fashion?
I set my goals very low; save for that art class I had in a tree house when I was eight, I have no formal training in the fine arts, nor am I great with my hands. I wanted something simple and graphic that wouldn't require exceptional manual dexterity.
initial sketches: a series of three "windows" highlighted with flecks of metal leaf (seen on uppermost sketch)
I planned on building on the idea of windows made up of rapid brush strokes, much like those that I used to highlight the pockets on a jacket I DIYed a few months ago. I would then highlight different parts of the windows with flecks of copper leaf as a nod to my DIY twinkle-toed shoes bedazzled with copper glitter. After a few sketches and a couple of trips to the art supplies store, I was ready to start.
Here's what I used to create phase one of my wall hangings:
a makeshift palette, black acrylic paint, gloss medium for a little shine, brushes of varying sizes, scrap paper on which I used to practice my brush strokes
I bravely took the brush and marred the pristine white canvas, violently stroking back and forth.
I alternated vertical and horizontal strokes to create a weave effect, a subtle yet pleasing detail.
When I was satisfied with the window I had painted, I went on to make two more.
I allowed myself to be as inconsistent as I usually am in terms of the uniformity of the pieces; I wanted them to look honest and organic, not assembly-line precise.
And now for phase two, which I found quite enchanting: highlighting the windows with copper leaf. Here's what I used:
metal leaf adhesive size, copper leaf (much more affordable than gold leaf, and infinitely more intriguing!), and a soft brush for dusting off the excess leaf
I made sketches of different configurations for the metal leaf flecks, and tested it on paper. Metal leaf is surprisingly easy to use: it's simply a matter of painting on the adhesive size, laying on the leaf when the adhesive is dry, and brushing off the excess. After a few tests on paper, I was confident enough to dive in.
I painted on the metal leaf adhesive size,
and impatiently, used a hair dryer to make it dry more rapidly.
I then laid on a sheet of the most glorious copper leaf,
and awe-struckenly watched my painted-on flecks take shape as I brushed the excess leaf off.
I couldn't wait to hang them on the wall.
I am quite pleased with what I have made, considering how far I am from being a legitimate artist. I sought out to create beautiful pieces to hang on my wall, and, was delighted at how, in the end, these pieces found a way of embodying my style at the moment: the vaguely Chinese-calligraphic brush strokes speak of my current affinity for Asiana, while the copper blobs remind me of my obsession with jewelry, especially those that come in odd shapes.
The one in the center is my favorite.
"Windows", acrylic and copper leaf on canvas, 12"x12", set of three. September 2010.