Projects: Art for Friends

The thing about being “artsy” is that people like to ask you to make things for them. Sometimes it can be fun.

Melissa is one of my best friends (aka, this commissioned project was paid for with an ‘IOU a drink’). She recently emailed me a photo of a piece of artwork that she loved and asked if I would be able to recreate the look for her. I obliged.

First, the inspiration photo:

Original source unknown

I’m not sure where this photo is originally from, but the artwork has a lovely hand-drawn and imperfect quality that makes it very charming and almost beachy. I wanted to recreate the look as closely as possible, so we started by finding a large scale frame.

This lovely frame that Lucious is kindly modeling for me came from Garden Ridge and was very inexpensive for it’s size. The only problem was that it was dark, and we were looking for something light. But we loved the nail head detail, so decided that a coat of paint would solve the color problem quite easily.

Once home, I taped off the nail head because we wanted to keep it as is, and primed then painted the rest of the frame.

Then I started on the painting. The inspiration photo had a very slight seam quartering the artwork. You can see it if you look closely. I loved that detail, and wanted to replicate it, so to mimic, I used four pieces of watercolor paper and spray mounted them to the frame backing. I didn’t worry about being overly precise with this step or even about getting all the creases smoothed out completely since I was going for that hand-crafted, imperfect look. Creating something that looks older than it is can be challenging, but not worrying about perfection is a good start.

Once the ‘canvas’ was ready, I got to work on the painting. Again, I worked quickly to avoid getting caught up in perfection, which would ruin the feel I wanted. So quickly in fact, that I didn’t get any photos of this step. Whoops! Just imagine me holding a paintbrush.

At this point, I thought it was looking pretty good and similar to the inspiration, but I wasn’t quite satisfied yet. It didn’t look old enough, or worn enough, or beachy enough. So I decided the best way to achieve all that was to try a tea stain.

It worked perfectly, giving it just enough of a worn in look. It also shrunk and smoothed down the paper once it was dry (here it’s still wet and looking a little bubbly) and actually helped the adhesive grip better. Yay for happy accidents!

Once dry, I framed the whole thing up and delivered it. But not before cutting my hand on the glass. (Let’s make that two drinks, Melissa.) Boo. So be careful out there. Even artsy people who have framed literally hundreds of pieces of art can still manage to cut themselves when they rush. Or maybe I’m just clumsy. Either way, I’m fine so don’t worry about me. Just a small slice.

Anyway, enough with the cutting. Let’s get to the finale!

You like? Not my usual style of art, but I enjoyed it. And Melissa loved it (or at least was obligated to say so when I delivered it), so that’s what really matters. ;)



  • Dania

    Looks great. Can’t wait to see it hanging in her living room!

  • Ashley Spitsnogle

    Cool! :) 

  • melissa

    I really do love it ! Turned out perfect.  I owe you a free drink and multiple free babysitting hours….so cash in already:)


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