For those of you who don’t know, I actually went to school for art. I found my love for the subject in a general high school art class and just couldn’t stop. I eventually found my niche in drawing and now draw charcoal and graphite portraits as sort of a side business (find out more about that venture here at my artist website). With that said, I want to reiterate that I DO NOT consider myself a painter. I have dabbled in it and was forced to spend many an hour at it in the art studios in college to meet a prerequisite, but I definitely do not think I ever got “what it takes” to be a real painter.
Luckily though, at least for the project I’m about to tell you about, my absolute favorite era of painting is abstract expressionism. Artists then used paint in graphic, expressive ways to portray emotion rather than imagery. It was definitely more subjective and you might know it better by the typical reaction phrase “Oh, I could do that.” Yeah, for the most part you could, but a lot more goes into a painting like that then just the surface medium….
Before I start sounding like a pretentious intellectual (which I promise you I’m not, just a little over enthusiastic and protective maybe), I found out the EASY way that you really can do it yourself
But let me take you back to the beginning of this idea…As you can see in the photo below, our yellow stencil wall was still bare and sad (although looking a bit more finished since the last time I talked about it with you guys – I have since started hand-painting the stencil at the top). The idea was to fill the space with an abstract-expressionism-inspired piece of artwork, namely a painting of my own creation.
So I went out to Michael’s and picked up a tall, skinny canvas – 16 x 40 inches to be exact.
Next, I needed some inspiration. Whenever I envisioned a piece of abstract art on the wall, I kept coming back to a well-known 1940s/50s artist by the name of Franz Kline. His pieces were mostly slashes and jabs of black paint on a white background. Here’s a screen shot of a Google search of his stuff – He really liked the black and white look…
But I eventually went with this one because I liked the vertical composition (it went well with my tall, thin canvas) and it wasn’t quite as busy as the main bulk of his work.
Keeping the website open on my desktop to serve as a reference, I grabbed my paint brush and got to work!
I used a cheap, wide, wirey-bristle brush to make sure the jagged lines looked as raw and unfinished as possible. I wanted to at least TRY to be true to Kline form!!
In no time, the canvas was definitely looking “raw” and “unfinished”…I was sort of starting to worry at this point that I was going to botch the whole thing and had a “what was I thinking!” moment…
But once all was said and done, I didn’t HATE it. I figured I would just hang it on the wall in the living room and see what I thought after a week. One of three things would inevitably happen:
- I’d hate it, take it down and paint over it
- After staring at it for a week or so, I’d see a spot that needed more (or less) paint and I could tweak it over time until it was perfect
- I’d LOVE it!!!
Here’s the “before” again…
And now the “After!”
Like I said, I don’t think that I hate it, but I’m not sure that I love it either…It’s definitely got the vibe I was going for and I like how it really speaks to that era of art I love. But I’m not sure if it’s too much “graphic” on one wall – The shapes in the painting may be competing with the shapes in the wall detail. I thought about simply adding a frame to give it a little separation from the wall. In fact that might be just the ticket, but do I want to go to the trouble of building a frame for it if it’s not going to work?
I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. I’m glad I went with my gut and gave it a shot, but not so sure the two were made to go together afterall. I’ll keep you posted! Would love to hear your thoughts…
While I was taking photos of the space, I thought I’d give you a quick shot of the sofa side of the living room…Not sure I’ve posted that side of the room lately! We are still l-o-v-i-n-g our new couch
(Photo credit for chosen Franz Kline painting: here)