Giving Old Frames New Life

My niece and nephew are participating in the upcoming TAGOL Kids Holiday Art Show.  They painted their fairly large 20x24 canvases a few weeks back and I have since varnished them in prep for the show. 

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But it was bugging me that the art pieces did not have frames, however it was not in the budget to spend a bunch of money on frames right now. 

But then a member of the Art Guild told me about a resale shop near my house that has all kinds of framed art for sale at a few bucks a piece.  So I took a ride over there today and sure enough they were right. 

I picked up two large framed pieces of art (just for the frames) and they cost me just $7.02.  Then I stopped at the hardware store and got some spray paint that will compliment their art and give their pieces a little extra pizzazz.  Brought all the supplies home and got to work. 

Here is how my nieces painting turned out. She titled it "Bumblebee's Holiday" (her and her brother were Transformers for Halloween and they would not budge on their art show pieces having their characters in them.)

Bumblebee's Holiday by MacKenzie: age 9

Bumblebee's Holiday by MacKenzie: age 9

And here is my nephew's:

Optimus Prime's Snow Day by Decklyn: age 5

Optimus Prime's Snow Day by Decklyn: age 5

I cant wait for the big gallery show day to see what all of the kids have created.  Should be a really fun exhibit!

Artist Tip - Add color to your Gesso

Recently I shared a tip about applying a coat or two of gesso to a canvas before you being working on your painting.

Well next week I will be working with a girl scout troop on a painting activity and I planned to gesso their canvases in advance. Since my time with the troop is limited I also wanted to have each canvas background pre-painted in a wintry blue so the girls can just go straight to work on the fun character and details.

Thanks to my friends of The Artist Guild of Lockport for suggesting that I mix the blue paint into the gesso to save myself a step!

A little blue, a little teal and white gesso mixed together and now I have 20 canvases prepped and ready to go for next week!




Artist Tip: Gesso

A little tip for artists:

If you buy canvas that comes already primed or with "Gesso" as it is called applied, it is always a good idea to add one or two more coats of Gesso yourself at home before you paint.

Gesso is essentially a primer for acrylic paints and it will prevent them from soaking into your surface (in this case canvas) as well as provide some texture/tooth for the paint to pick up on.

You can pick up a bottle of Gesso at any art supply or craft store in the artist paint area.

Even though these two canvases are for my niece and nephews kid art show projects I still applied Gesso so that they get easier paint coverage.

It's easy to apply with a larger brush and there is really no wrong or right way to apply it. If you apply a few coats, you can also lightly sand them in between (must be fully dry first) to smooth out the surface even more - it is completely up to you and your preference. 

It does add a bit of time onto the start of a project to apply it and allow for it to completely dry or cure. 

But it will be so worth the added step.

Workhorse 2017

My very first project when I began this freelance art business a few years ago was to create a horse design for a patch that would be awarded to the youth hockey player by the coach for being the "work horse" of the team each week.  They earned this by putting in the work at practice or being exceptional in a game and so on. 

That project led to my connection with author Amy Logan so each year when the project comes up it reminds me how lucky I am to have such great people I get to work with and how connections and doing good work are what matters most.

Below are the previous years designs.  I was so proud of that original horse patch (in the circle) and I look back at it now and realize just how far my own work has come. I really enjoyed last years, it was fun and I heard the kids really loved it.

This year the coach is part of a new team once again, the Chicago Hawks.  Team colors are red/white/blue.  But we still wanted to go with a horse character.  Since the age group he coaches increases each year I know the the design for the horse needs to evolve as well. So here is the sketch and color process of this years Work Horse.

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Pencil Sketch

After drawing and redrawing and pulling up countless hockey action shot references I finally had an energy I liked.

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Ink lines

Then I work on creating clean inked lines for bringing into Adobe Illustrator..

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Once I have the outlines created in Illustrator I then work on adding in the solid local colors

Once I have the local colors all worked on, I then go in and start adding shadows or highlighting as desired to really bring this character to life.  Files are saved off and sent to the happy client who then has this put onto a black jersey that the weekly workhorse gets to wear to show of his/her accomplishments.

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