Showing posts with label vintage decor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vintage decor. Show all posts

Sunday, December 29, 2013

DIY: Painting from Vintage Book Covers

Well, I hope ya'll just had the very best holiday ever and that Santa was super good to you. All I can say is that I musta been totally well-behaved this year (and that Santa has lowered his expectations of acceptable behavior) because I really scored. I don't wanna brag but if you happen to notice my photos are just a pinch better it's because the hubs upgraded my dropped-more-times-than-I-can-remember/seven-year-old camera to some super fly thing. Thankfully it doesn't have too many bells and whistles that require extensive manual reading. Because, let's be sexist, the only person who reads manuals are the Man. For the ladies, well, there's pinterest. So you know I've already pinned "25 Super Cute Ways to Snap Super Cute Pictures While Attempting to Look Super Cute".

Speaking of The Hubs, he requested a certain handmade giftie for Christmas. He's always loved the outdoors, especially hiking and camping. Recently, he's been reading some vintage outdoorsy books with just the best covers ever. His request: paintings of the book covers.  
The photo on the left shows the original book cover I worked from. We don't own either of these books (the first editions sell for a couple hundred dollars on ebay) so I worked from images found online. My 14" X 16" painting is on the right. Even though this painting took longer because of the extra layer of color added, I'm not gonna lie, it's my fave.

For the cover of this book, I attempted to antique the canvas a little by scrapping it with a wiry brush. You can kinda see that effect at the bottom. I'm not sure if I love it but when I'm done with a project, I'm, like, done

By the way, painting these camping books has me remembering all sorts of outdoorsy adventures. Like the time my mom took me and my cousins camping on the grounds of the theme park Indiana Beach (do I have any Hoosiers in the house? Can I get a "There's more than Corn in Indy-Ana!" Which is true. There's also corny song writers.) We had an army green canvas tent exactly like the one on the cover of this book. Unfortunately, because all of us were Girl Scout Dropouts, we had no idea how to put the thing up and so, in the middle of the night when it began to rain, all of the aluminum poles collapsed on my side of the tent. And, if you know anything about canvas tents (which I did not), you are never supposed to touch them once they are wet because then the water drips in. And it did. Again, on my side of the tent. Moral of story: Don't go camping with my mother. In Indiana. In the rain. Ever.

Back to the DIY at hand, I started by painting the canvases a color that best matched the book covers. I then used that aforementioned wiry brush to kind of rough up the canvas (Canvas, Ima gonna Rough You Up!). I used chalk to sketch in the design because it was easier to see and erase than pencil.
From there, I just blocked in the dark color. Once that was dry, I used a slightly damp towel to wipe away the chalk lines.
And then there was the lettering. Ewww! I hate lettering. How did I ever forget after painting this Smoky Mountain picture? Which I only painted because I had forgotten how tiresome all the lettering in this calendar proved to be. And how difficult it is to actually get the sizing correct like in this Nashville painting. Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment. And chocolate. Where's my chocolate punishment? Cuz I could totes use some of that.
Once that first painting was knocked out, I started on this one. Which was a pinch more involved because of the addition of another color.

I kinda went at it screen printing/color-by-numbers style by layering the colors from the background moving forward.
I took a lotta liberties with the composition of this painting (read: I messed it up and had to come up with an alternative) but in the end, I kinda love this painting.
Hubs and I've been taking some seriously long day hikes. I've been in my glasses this week after contracting a delightful eye infection that left me feeling as though I were blinking over shards of glass. Lovely, right? Being out with this dude reminded me of one of the times we camped in Kentucky at Mammoth Cave. Lemme set the scene for you: it was twilight, we'd just set up camp and I took a short stroll to the ladies room (FYI: for those of you that do not camp, there is no "ladies room"). Upon my return, I heard a "chuh-chuh-chuh-CHUH-CHUH!" sound coming from the ground and I looked down to see a rattleshake frantically shaking his tail and slowly raising his head. I screamed bloody murder and with legs that felt like noodles, I ran back to the tent. "MITCH! Mitch! MITCH!!" I screamed to this dude who, after hearing my commotion in the woods, looked more annoyed than worried. "What? You're scaring the wildlife."

Oh, and speaking of wildlife that incident with the snake was only topped by the time we hiked the four miles out of our campsite and got all the way home only to find that I'd had a huge scorpion just chillin' in my backpack. When we got home and I unzipped my bag, out he popped, crawling around on our kitchen counter with a "So, is this your place? Not bad, not bad. Don't know about your decorator but I've got a coupla friends than can help you get this place lookin' sharp. You know, like my tail. Heh heh heh."

 Dear Wildlife. Suck it.
I'm kinda stoked about these paintings because it's inspired us to decorate our Tennessee-themed pad with a vintage camping vibe also. Complete with scorpions and rattlesnakes. Should be pretty sweet.

AND's time to announce the Winner of the Best Artsty Pick Up Line Contest. Drum roll, puhlease? No?! Well, how about a rattlesnake rattle. Thank you...

I'm an artist but...for you, baby, I'll get a JOB! by Laureen!

Congrats, Laureen! 
And thank you to everyone who submitted and voted! I loved each and every line and have tested them all myself. Thanks, guys!
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Monday, November 5, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #41

Batty Monday: Try to ignore the nappy hair and the messy background and focus on that batty dress. Holy guacamole, I love it so. I picked it up at Audrey K's while on vacation in Cali. tights: Target; shoes: Softt
Happy-Belated-Wardrobe post, friends! I'm just in and recovering from an art teacher conference held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. What does an "art teacher conference" entail, you ask? Well, lemme tell you, it involves catching up with friends, making new ones and creating lots of stuff. And I'm totally an art conference junkie, so my weekend was just artsy-fartsy perfection. In fact, I got so involved in the fun that I completely forgot to snap a photo of Friday's outfit. Me so sorry! However, I do hope that this little bit of history on one of my favorite portrait artists, Vladimir Tretchikoff, will make up for it. Enjoy and I'll catch up with you later this week.

I have to tell you, Vladimir Tretchikoff's life reads like some sort of long-winded romance/adventure novel. The artist was born on December 13, 1913 (apparently the number 13 played a big part in his life) in Pertropavlovsk, Russia. I had no idea where Pertropavlovsk was but after some googling, I found that it's a peninsula on the far eastern side of Russia. Interestingly, it's the second largest city in the world that is unreachable by road.
Miss Wong. During the Vladimir's childhood, the Russian Revolution broke out causing his parents and eight siblings to move to an area in China that was Russian-ruled. It was there that Vladie discovered his flair for art. His talent eventually led him to Shanghai where he met his wife Natalie and fathered a daughter Mimi.
Day of the Dead Tuesday: On this day, kindergarten and I were talking Roy G. Biv. When we got to the "v", I asked the students if they could tell me the name of the color that looks like purple but starts with a "v". Surprisingly, they got it right! But soon after, one boy said,"My mom says I'm not allowed to watch violet movies. Violet movies are bad for little kids." They are so stinkin' cute. dress: made by me; tights and flowers: Target; shoes: Dolls by Nina; sweater: Anthro
Balinese Girl. Eventually, Vladie and his fam moved to Singapore where, in 1941, the Japanese invaded and took his wife and daughter. He was not to see or hear from them for five years. Vladie managed to escape by boat that was torpedoed. He eventually found himself with several others, struggling to stay alive on a small life boat.
Happy Halloween, Wednesday! Full outfit details here.
Chinese Girl. This painting is probably Vladimir Tretchikoff's most famous. But you want to know if he got off of that life boat, doncha? He did, arriving in Java, only to find that the Japanese had already invaded there. He was captured and thrown into solitary confinement for three months. His artistic abilities were actually what set him free. Impressed by his talent, his captors released him.
Art Conference Thursday: I never thought I'd buy polyester but this dress is just so awesomely cut. And I love the over-the-top pattern. What surprised me about polyester was how warm it is! I was perfectly comfy in my flammable frock. dress: vintage, Buffalo Exchange; belt: Anthro; boots: Seychelle's; double layer fishnet and tights: Target
Balinese Dancer. Once freed, Vladimir couldn't work fast enough. It seemed word got out in Java of his amazing portraits and he had clients out the wazoo. One such client, Leonora Moltema, became a muse of Vladimir's. She's the one featured in many of this portraits of Asian women. It was Leonora that took him to a seance that revealed the whereabouts of his wife and daughter.
Lady from Orient. Eventually, Vladimir found international success. His painting, Chinese Girl, has sold almost as many prints as Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Many write off Vladimir's portraits as kitsch but I find them absolutely beautiful. The artist, who lived to the age of 92, said near the end of his life: Express your passion. Do what you love. No matter what. Gotta love that.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spoiled Rotten

Just some of the birthday loot: great books from my aunt, my bro and a sweet friend; beautiful bouquets from favorite friends.
 Holy cow. I am super spoiled. My birthday this past Friday was quite the momentous occasion complete with entirely too many cupcakes, Happy Birthday songs (once on our school-wide morning announcements, several times during art classes and once again at a restaurant during lunch -- hey, anything for free dessert, people) and a treasure of birthday booty. These goodies were just too great not to share. Not included in photos were the countless notes and drawings from students, the mountain of trashy magazines and chocolates from hubs (does anything beat that combination?) and cards and gifts from friends. I don't suppose turning thirty-ahem-seven will be that bad after all.
My mother-in-law is an estate-sale-aholic for which I am very glad. She showed up with this vintage paper suitcase wrapped in a bow. I love how it looks as though it is smiling!
Here's a peak at just some of the vintage goodness inside the suitcase: vintage fabric and aprons, never-used watercolor sets, a child's sewing basket, books and a group photo of women with their children from the 1920's. This is the kind of stuff that I could sift through, hold, touch and smell for hours.
One estate sale had been at the home of an artist. I was so excited to see the artist's charcoal landscape drawings but this portrait is my favorite. I am now on the hunt for the perfect thrift store frame to put her in. Isn't she a doll?
Watercolor set. I wonder if the Bradley is the one of later Milton and Bradley, the game board makers, fame?
I love the cover of this vintage coloring book, so cute!

A close-up of a child's vintage sewing basket. Her wee little embroidered stitches are far better than mine.
A lovely little hat and gloves set. Too bad my man hands are too big for 'em.
On the day of my birthday, my sweet student teacher returned with a book she had created with the kids while I was away in NYC. She snapped a group photo of each class and quoted each student (that's almost 400!) on what they like about me as their art teacher. Can you imagine? She presented it to me during one of my classes, so I read what that particular class had to say. Needless to say, I almost lost it. It was the most touching gift I've received in a long time. Thank you, Lauren!
I thought I'd share with you some of the funnier things the kids had to's hilarious what they pick up on.
General consensus? I'm silly, I talk funny, I dress wacky, the kids love art. I do hope they're learning something as well!
Yeah...there's probably a reason. Like the other teachers have taste.
Thanks for indulging me, I just had to share my birthday bounty with you!

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