Sunday, January 17, 2016

hey that's a really *BIG* canvas!

there's a wall just inside the main entrance of our house. it's a slightly larger-than-normal-foyer sized room; the previous owners of the house called it the "sunroom" so we do, too. for which i've been looking for a *BIG* piece of original art. over the course of like... two years? and i still hadn't seen anything i was absolutely in love with. so the wall was just empty. which is a bit sad.

last summer when michaels had *BIG* canvases on sale for 50% off, i thought, "well maybe i'll make a big collage as a stopgap" and bought one that was 30x40". and it just sort of sat in my art lair. mostly due to a lack of time, but partly because i wasn't really sure what to do.

flash forward to new year's eve: we were staying home... i was caught up (well, relatively) on assignments... i was feeling brave in the sort of resolutionary way one does feel brave on the threshold of a BRAND. NEW. YEAR. and i thought, "all righty then. let's do this!" so i started.

bear in mind... i still didn't really have a plan, as such. i'd settled on collage because, frankly, it's my comfort zone. and a 30x40" canvas is  *BIG*. also, i have quite a few "treasures" in my stash of vintage paper; things that i've been saving because i couldn't quiiiiiite bear to use them in something that'd be sold or given away. which is what i do with nearly all of my non-sketchbook work.

meanwhile, back when i was looking for pre-made art, i'd been thinking in terms of eastern or indian... but not necessarily religious. i quite liked the idea of color in the sunroom. soooo... landscape? ...ummmmm... or flowers? ...maybe... or ooooooh--mandalas?! yeah! ok, colorful mandalas. i can do that. my first idea was make the mandala sections out of different sorts of paper. so i played around with that in my sketchbook over the summer and it was frankly a bit tedious. because without a template you lose the precision of form pretty fast. and with a template, it's just kind of... well... dull. plus, as i may have mentioned, the canvas is *BIG*. which means the mandalas have to be big. and that was where i stalled.

but on new year's eve i suddenly thought: ok, i'll do a big random vintage paper background, and PAINT the mandalas on top. so what kind of paint? acrylic? but then you lose the look of the paper underneath. which i thought would be ok, until i fell in love with my background, as collage people sometimes do. :0 right then, i need translucent paint: gouache? watercolor? it looked good. but it was wet. and some of the vintage paper was a bit fragile, so i was not going to get a chance to re-work anything. which might be a problem. meanwhile, in the autumn, i'd been playing with the idea of layers of vintage paper under stenciled distress ink and/or modelling paste and/or both. and i'd liked the look. but you can't color a whole big canvas full of mandalas using distress ink on a fingertip applicator. can you??!

yep. you can. i did. and i love it! (...she said modestly...) ♥

the whole thing took about ten days. ten totally obsessed, rushing through chores, can't-wait-to-get-home-and-work-onnit days, or more accurately, nights. some of them pretty late nights. unusually for me, i never got stuck. there were times i wasn't sure what to do next, so i'd stall by finishing up whatever section i was working on, and adding detail, or going over the outlines or adding texture. but by the time i got to where i had to make a decision, i knew what to do. there were a few corrections made along the way. and a massive "retrofit" of paper around the sides of the canvas when i realized that the blank edges were gonna look WEIRD unless i wanted to spring for a very big frame. which i didn't.

lovely husband jeff helped me hang it. or rather, i helped him. though by "helped" of course i mean, "stood in the same room, at the same time, but not doing much of anything useful". (if you ever need that kind of "helper" i'm awesome, and i'm pretty sure LHJ would be willing to spare me, lol!) at the risk of being totally immodest, i'll repeat: i love how this came out! but somehow, when you see it hung in place, it's not allllllll that big, is it? maybe it's the first half of a diptych???!? :) :) :)


  1. Wow! WAAAYYY outside my comfort zone! But you made an absolutely beautiful piece! Congrats Lauren!

  2. ohmygoodness - that is so completely fabulous!!!

  3. So freaking awesome! Yes, diptych, triptych... GO girl. More of this art needs to belong in your sunroom. Edgar about like 2 20" guys on top of eachother adjacent to this? Or a shutter? Ok, I'll stop. .. it's your project! But wayyy inspiring!

    1. Edgar = maybe... spell check is silly.

  4. Super! Very cool and colorful! So "you" too. Yes, diptych crossed my mind too... I help my husband hang pictures also-- in the sense: "more to your right, more-- stop! Down a little, little more, no up..." Invaluable assistance!

  5. Wow, oh wow, oh wow! Gorgeous! And so glad you showed the stages. Especially between 5 & 6. It was like I was watching magic.

  6. Fabulous fabulous fabulous. Love the color, looks fantastic.

  7. Oh my gosh, I absolutely ADORE this creation! It looks just perfect where you hung it, and if you ever get tired of it, give me a call! I'm sure I can find a wall to show it off :)

  8. Wow ... the piece of art you made me is hanging in my bedroom and is one of my favorites ... this is so amazing and absolutely perfect for that space. Love it love it love it.

  9. Wow ... the piece of art you made me is hanging in my bedroom and is one of my favorites ... this is so amazing and absolutely perfect for that space. Love it love it love it.

  10. LOVE.
    how wonderful...looks awesome.

  11. Oooh, LOVE this so much!!! Way to adorn your wall girl!
    Shanna :)

  12. Followed along as you worked on this beauty on IG Lauren, love it! It looks amazing in your sunroom, love the translucency of the mandalas allowing that gorgeous vintage paper ephemera to shine through! Deb xo

  13. Gorgeous! You are so talented.

  14. Gorgeous! You are so talented.

  15. Holy momma that is gorgeous! How awesome to have your own art hanging in your home! Beauty!!


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