Welcome to Amber’s Art School!

Ya’ll, I have always loved art– making it, looking at it, talking about it.  I was always the girl that would turn to crayons and a coloring book before I would play a board game, or even go outside and play.  I remember at age eleven or so, my stellar parents took my sister and I to see the Red Grooms exhibit at TPAC in Nashville.  I was enraptured.   His work is utterly amazing.  Very big, and colorful, and chock-full of pop culture references.  I certainly didn’t feel like I got to absorb enough of that installment.  His work is so vibrant and whimsical and in-your-face, I felt panicked to see it all in the little time I had.  Being in those white-grey rooms with the enormous papier mache and paint creations, it was the first time I ever really *knew* that art had to be a part of my life– it was in my core, I could feel it tangibly that day in a way I never had before.  We connected, art and I, and fell in love.

Beautiful Painting By "Legit" Artist, Carrie Walker

Beautiful Painting By Artist Carrie Walker, On Loan From the Collection Of Christa DeCicco

Since then I have absolutely known that I would have some sort of art on my walls.  I *do* own a few one-of-a-kind works from legit artists, which is awesome.  Highly recommended.  But also expensive.  I have some really nice prints from artists that I admire (and will likely never really afford) like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol; and I’m hoping to acquire one by Josh Agle/ Shag for our den eventually.   “Eventually,” because those prints are also quite expensive for my thrift shopper’s budget.  So coveted though, that when I get one, it will be worth it.

"Summer Breeze" by Amber Walker (me)

“Summer Breeze” by Amber Walker (me)

Buuuuuut… when it comes to situations like putting myself into debt to buy the desired Shag print or having blank walls, well, I choose neither, thank you.  I really don’t feel like there is any shame in making yourself some nice, colorful wall art to dress up your own place.  Mixed together in a big attractive wall display– originals from local and friendly artists, prints of professional works, custom self-made wall art, even framed pieces by some favorite children– it becomes more about the composition as a whole and less about the “legitimacy” of the art on display.  Your things will mix in and not be conspicuous or detracting, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist.  I believe this!  It’s about making your house pretty, right?  About having the areas you daily view inspire you, and makes you feel comfortable and at home?  You can do that, it’s easy.  And your own personal art certainly has a space there amongst it.

Seriously, people, I used to feel a bit self-conscious about hanging my own work in my place.  It’s not that it felt braggy– oh no, that’s not it at all– it’s more that I often didn’t feel like my own doodles were ‘good enough.’  If the option was spending ten bucks on a canvas and making something, or spending the same amount on a poster– well, let’s just say it felt *easier* to go with the poster.  The problem is, you really have to have a roomfull of posters before it says anything about you or your personality, and at that point, it’s not really about home decor, is it?  It’s more like wallpaper.  Fine for many people, but at some point, I wanted more.

Foyer Wall, Now

Foyer Wall, Just Inside the Door

This leapt to decoupage.  I love, love, love decoupage.  It’s success is less dependent on the artist in some ways, as you don’t need the skill of practiced painting to have a clear image of Hello Kitty, or Phineas and Ferb, or whatever.  You can much more easily cut out images from giftwrap, and scrapbook paper, and old magazines, etc. and have an adorable project to match your room in no time.

This Painting Is By My Son, Age Three

This Painting Is By My Son, Age Three

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of decoupaging of fabric and paper to canvas, combining acrylics in the process to create ‘paintings’ of all kinds.  I’m sure that one of the key tricks is the layering of the design, it’s this illusion of complexity that elevates the canvas to feel more artistic, creating the look of a more interesting painting.  The great thing about this combined process is you get a designer-custom look, and it truly doesn’t take huge amounts of skill.

If you poke around my blog at all, you will find a few tutorials on making wall art.  More than five.  Almost all of them combine this mix of decoupage and paint that I favor so much, offered in different forms.  There aren’t enough on here, I think.  This one is especially indicative of what I mean– www.lovenestdesign.com/easiest-wall-art-ever/

Whelp, I’m here to announce a new series!  I’m going to show you how to combine all kinds of mediums and techniques that you can apply to a canvas to create your own works of art.  We’ll use pre-primed purchased canvas, topped with paint, fabrics, punched and cut papers, and a LOT of mod podge, to create all types of unique works, which can be easily modified for your space and color scheme.  I hope you’ll try some of them.

Paisleybird (Painted By Me)

Paisleybird (Painted By Me)

The first part of this series will cover a few options for base-coating your pieces.  I’ll be showing you over the course of a few installments these bases:  not only an attractive and easy paint method; but one with the use of fabric; and a process using tissue paper.  We’ll then proceed on to ideas for giving your works more interest and originality.

Hopefully you will find over the course of this Springtime series at least one method to explore for making your own ‘painting.’  The combos amongst the methods here should be fairly endless, and open to all sorts of skill level, even to those of you that have never lifted a paintbrush.  I truly hope you enjoy every part of this process as much as I do– I want creating your canvas to be just as enjoyable as viewing it in your home.  Please, dive in, and have fun making your walls something pretty!

And don’t forget, after you do– show it to us!


Apr 07, 2014 | Category: Amber's Art School, Tutorial | Comments: none | Tags: , , , , , , , ,


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