This artwork has hung in the basement since Pete moved it in from his apartment in April. It’s a decent quality canvas, although I’ll use the term canvas loosely because it’s really not canvas as much as a sheet of plastic-y mass produced material; the oriental-themed piece never really found a place in my current decor, which is why it has been safely stored in the basement for 6-months. And by safely, I mean to say it’s been shielding part of the basement from chop saw sawdust.
Something’s gotta take the hit.
I saw potential. Mostly, because the art was mounted on a sturdy frame. Aside from some of the corners of the canvas peeling up, it was in perfectly nice shape. The existing art even had a pleasant texture to it; it wasn’t perfectly smooth like a traditional print, but was made to feel like it was an original piece of art with brushstrokes.
A few options crossed my mind over the last few months; decoupage new art on it? Make a DIY mixed-media piece? In the end, as in, just this week, I decided I was in the mood for a nice piece of colorblock art. I suppose it was partially fueled by me evaluating my color palette last week and then organizing the paints in the basement, but I was craving a little Energetic Orange. It’s my favorite shade of red-orange, like your favorite red-orange crayola in person, and because I had some on hand, I knew the whole project could be f-r-e-e.
I spraypainted the previously distressed-gold frame a dark brown (the same Rust-Oleum Espresso Brown that I used when I was updating the bedroom curtain rod) and then applied a thin coat of energetic orange.
Left to dry overnight, I re-evaluated the solid color in the morning and decided that a giant square of orange wasn’t quite what I had in mind, so I brought up another can of paint (some of the same Burnished Bronze that I’ve used in the stairwell) and blocked out the top 1/3-ish with it.
In all upcoming photos the orange is going to look way more pink than it is in real life, but trust me that it’s really the color of tomato soup.
I applied several coats so that the color was thick, but in all honesty if you look close there are still plenty of brush strokes, heavier/drippier places, and spots where the paint didn’t cover evenly. This is OK with me, and as I did it, I liked what I saw more and more. If I wanted 100% evenness, I probably would have found spray paint to employ, but I was really liking how the piece was evolving more into a textured work of art. I did, for the record, use some blue painter’s tape to craft that semi-straight line across the canvas, although I pulled the tape off before the paint was fully dry and if you’ve ever done the same, you’ll understand why there were some tears and smudges as a result. I still hold my ground, those imperfections are no big deal.
Pete kindly likened it to something you’d see in a museum. Gosh, he’s kind.
And because I like to play along with those praises, I’ll promptly name it something vague like Moss On Sunset. Likey?
I should take a minute to explain 4 things:
1) I decided the living room mantle would be a good place for this versus any other available wall in the house. I liked the horizontal line being close-but-not-exactly the same as the variance in the wall paint, which was nothing more than a happy mistake. And the dark brown frame vibes nicely with the furniture in the room. (If you already forgot what prints were mounted above the mantle before, reference this post. Both designs were hung side-by-side in the end.)
2) I added a few other pieces of framed art from other parts of the house and moved them around until I liked the balance; one, a drawing of Cody that Pete’s daughter gave me (in a frame that I painted with the same orange paint), and a vintage print with a linen mat that used to live in the stairwell gallery. Also shown, some pieces of glass that I found at this garage sale, and my stack of birthday cards from friends and family. And some fresh nasturtiums from the garden (easily my favorite fall bloomers).
3) Yes, you read that right. Birthday cards smack dab on the mantle just like I’m 5 years old and clapping my hands in joy. I leave birthday stuff up for awhile, hence the reason that Pete, on the left side of this shot, is pointing at some of the DIY garland I made for his birthday party in August. I can’t bring myself to take it down yet because it makes me happy (and flutters wonderfully in the breeze when I have the windows open). Birthday cheer, 2.5 months strong! (Side note: I still have tan lines from Mexico, and when those are gone maybe I’ll consider removing the garland.)
4) This is probably the best instance in my house where you can see that the Venetian Gold of the walls is actually lighter than the Burnished Bronze of the painting (and the stairwell). Hard to tell that there’s much of a difference unless the paint chips are in close proximity like this. Reference my color palette for more insight on my color choices.
So, to answer my own previous question: Yes, I likey. It’s a nice change of pace and while it’s totally imperfect, it pulls in some of the key colors in my palette and brightens up the living room.