love birds

Pretty paintings. Bad Lighting.
Art is something I haven't "done" since high school.  I did take a few art classes in college to satisfy graduation requirements but my biggest motive for taking them was 1.) I got to spend 2.5 hrs a week with my headphones on, in a semi transient state and 2.) there were no tests.

Did anyone else take courses in college to avoid tests? I felt like I took enough with my regular course work and didn't want to see a test in my electives.

Anyway, here is a DIY art project to add personal touch in your home decor.  I like having homemade pieces of art on my walls because its so personal.  The pieces all have a story and I really like talking sharing.    I also like asking other people about artwork I see displayed in their home.  
"Where did you get that? I like it." 
"Oh that? I made it!"
"No, really?! Its so cool/awesome/pretty/interesting."
 "Thanks, I just whipped it up, you know" If you want to feel like a big deal.
"Thanks, I made it because it makes me think about (insert memory)." If you want to get personal and share why its special to you.
Supplies:  I got everything @ Michael's
(2) 16 x 16" primed canvas.
(1) large straight edged brush and (1) small fine brush. I use CraftSmart brand because I like the squishy finger grips.
(3) colors of acrylic paint.  For this I used Basic Black, Lemon Custard, and Thunder Blue.  I have the FolkArt brand because they were cheapcity (on sale).
(1) piece of cardboard. I used an empty cereal box.
other items you'll need: cup of water, scissors, painters tape, Sharpies, paper towel or napkin.

Basic Black, Thunder Blue, Lemon Custard.
CraftSmart brushes.
1.) I painted 1 canvas with Lemon Custard, starting with a 2" solid section at the base of the canvas, not forgetting to paint the edges.  I forgot to take pictures as I went, hopefully this explanation helps!

Then, I cleaned off my brush in water until the water ran mostly clear.  I thoroughly wet the brush and used broad strokes to brush water onto the line of yellow I had just painted. Repeat this process several times until you've "pulled" the paint up the canvas with a wet brush.  This is how I got the ombre effect.  You might have to load up your brush with more paint, then dip in water to help things along.

2.) I repeated Step 1.) with Thunder Blue on my second canvas. I let them dry for 2 hrs.

I went back and layered up the blue with more color to match the fade effect on the yellow canvas.
3.) I did a Google search to find silhouettes of birds I liked. You could use these for inspiration and paint the birds free hand or move on to step 4 to make stencils.
4.) Trace the birdie outline onto a napkin (or paper towel). Don't be like me and use Sharpie, use pen.

Terribly blurry but this was my method of tracing.
 5.) Using a heavy Sharpie, I traced over my birdie outline onto cardboard. The entire image didn't transfer but I just filled in the missing parts.  I needed to trace the image to get dimensions. I can't free hand birds, mine always look deathly ill.
Tracing my bird.
Fill in the lines that didn't transfer.
 6.) I repeated Step 4.) and 5.) to get my second (love) bird onto the cardboard.  Here you can see I used the mirror image of the second bird so they appear to be gazing lovingly into each other's eyes.

birdie love.
7. Cut out birdies to make a (rough) stencil.

8.) I measured 7" on the side of each canvas and laid 2 strips of painters tape down to create the wire for the birdies to sit on.  I forgot to take a picture before I painted my wire with black (sorry, I got all excited to paint my birds). I let the wire dry for a few minutes before slowly peeling off the tape at an angle.  I recommend using tape to keep your wire straight.

Blue canvas with birdie wire.
9.) I used the stencil as a guide to trace out the birds.  You could try taping down the stencil onto the canvas and filling in the bird shapes but you could have issues with the paint bleeding outside of the stencil.  I went the safe route and just outlined.  Then I removed the stencil and filled in my bird.  I went back and edged out each bird to get the feather details.

love bird.
10.) I gave my birdie about 30 mins to dry before adding the second one.

love birds.

11.) I hung each canvas by hammering a short nail into the top 2 corners and wrapping twine around it.

My love birds greet me every morning on my way to make coffee.
You could give this as a gift for a friend's wedding shower? You could personalize it using each person's favorite color.  Or, perhaps a monogram or the couple's wedding date.  Endless options here, the idea is to expand your options.

I went back and forth on adding a date under the wire. Like this..

Add wedding date for personal touch.
In the end, I liked how the one, heavy image on the light and airy yellow canvas balances out the dark, stormy blue canvas.  The wire ties the two together while keeping the mood of each canvas separate. Oh boy, I say stuff like that because I took 4 years of art courses and now that's just how my brain has been conditioned to think.  It's ok if it just looks right to you as well ;) 

It's art, do whatever looks right to you
Mrs W.

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