Thursday, July 14, 2011

creating large paintings full of text

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Whenever I post photos of my living room (like I did earlier this week here) I get lots of inquiries about the painting that hangs above our couch. So I thought I would share a little bit about the process.

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When it comes to art hanging on the wall in our home you might be surprised to hear that I like clean and simple lines, almost minimal but big, very big statement pieces. Since I spend a lot of time creating and teaching messy techniques full of layers and drips I think when it comes to my living space I need a break and want something simple for my eyes :)


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Our living room is all white with accents of color and those accents (typically pillows and rugs) have changed over time.


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When we renovated and moved into our home three years ago I decided I wanted a really large canvas as a statement piece to hang over our couch with text being the subject matter. In my opinion, words, letters and text can be so beautiful and interesting as the focal point of a painting and often can stand alone.

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We selected out favorite E.E. Cummings poem and I used raw and unstretched canvas that I first primed with white house paint (I often use this in place of gesso). I let it dry and then went to town writing out the poem- and believe or not I used black shoe polish to write with- one of my favorite supplies when working and writing on canvas to get nice lettering.

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I let some of the words continue off the edges so that is wasn't too perfect but more gave the illusion and spirit of poem.


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The last step was to stretch it onto a frame to hang on the wall.
Instead of using stretcher bars, my husband created a really nice wood frame for me stretch my painting on.


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Since creating this painting, I get more requests from friends and family for something similar for their walls so I have created numerous text paintings on paper, canvas and even wood (see above) with poems, quotes and lyrics.


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The key (in my opinion) to a statement painting with lettering is going big and the bigger the better!
So I thought I would include an excerpt from a video lesson for my Graffiti Chic Part 2 online class (much of the class is all about working really large). In the video I talk about different surfaces and options when starting to work big- it will give you a little more behind how that painting in the living room was created and other options when creating a statement piece.

large surfaces from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.


And for those of you that are not aware of how to stretch a canvas I have included a section from my book Canvas Remix where I stretch a small canvas- but stretching a large one is done the same way :)

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stretch2

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Ok...now go create something large!

53 comments:

K. said...

e.e. cummings - i carry your heart with me
I love this poem.
my sister got married last saturday and I painted her a similar painting.:)

Courtney Walsh said...

this is so gorgeous and fun! I always, always struggle to do lettering and would NEVER have thought of black shoe polish! I can't wait to create something big for our new house!!! Thanks, Alisa!!

Zura said...

Love, love, love this! I just painted my first large painting and now I'm hooked on big canvas!! Will try this, with shoe polish. Thanks for this, and all that you share with us.

VeganCraftastic said...

Very cool, thanks for sharing your process!

Helen said...

Great idea and love the video too - thank you for sharing.

beka*b said...

We have lots of large blank walls that I definately want to cover with statement big canvases - thank you for the reminders :)

laura @ hollywood housewife said...

I love this! So inspiring and it looks great.

Natalie B said...

Thank you for sharing your process Alisa. Do you write in pencil on the canvas/wood first and then go over with the shoe polish?? it really is very generous of you to share. xx

~Barb~ said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I loved watching the video and learned so much from you. I do have a question...do you buy canvas from art stores, fabric stores or do you buy it from home improvement stores (what looks like the least expensive way to buy it to me)...and what weight canvas do you buy (8 oz or 10 oz or more?)
Thanks so much again!~
Peace & Love,
~Barb~

JodyC said...

ee cummings has been rolling through my mind and i have been hesitating to start a big piece for my home... this is what i truly want. thank you so much for the inspiration and the push to get my but in gear! I cant wait to get some shoe polish--- always open to new media!
Jody

Eschelle said...

bookmarked this is amazing!

Angie: said...

Just lovely!! Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration!

Kelley said...

Great, informative post! Thank you x 18

C. Jaeger said...

I loved this post! I've been thinking about words/text/phrases, so it was so nice to see a visual for my thoughts!

Jan said...

Love this post! You always inspire me and this is one of my favorite poems. Thanks Alisa!

Heather G said...

Love the oversize lettering in black and white, and your white room looks warm with the color accents - great style altogether. Thanks for the inspiration!

Wanna Be Balanced Mom said...

You have such great style. I absolutely LOVE that idea. So awesome!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of another great big area to paint - closet doors. My niece and I spent some time this weekend spray painting closet doors in wild and colorful colors and designs. I have a calligraphy tip for my spray can which we used to add words to the doors. We also painted the ceiling fan in a similar color palette - the room is so fun now!

kathrynlynnphotography said...

Oh, this is more than wonderful. I think I just might have to paint something like this. Love your style, and can totally relate with wanting clean, minimalist style as a break from the creative chaos. Thanks for the inspiration!

JodyC said...

I just painted following your ideas with a few twists! Thank you!

http://latitudejcain.blogspot.com/2011/07/love-story.html

Ceci said...

so weird! I am one of those who LOVE your artwork that is over your sofa! and last week I decided on part of a poem - Winkin Blinkin and Nod - "All night long their nets threw to the stars in the twinkiling foam --" to go over my fab. new bed. what beter than a bedtime story! Just didn't know how to begin & here you are, on the same wave , aparently, and giving me direction for the project!! Shoe polish? really? Who would have thought! Best timing ever - can't wait to get started! Thank you!!

leigh said...

This is absolutely gorgeous! My husband & I are about to move into a new house & I am so excited to try this!!
Off to explore more of your blog!
Love, Leigh

Serena said...

Great post, Alisa! I'm amazed that you used black shoe polish....very effective too!

Jenny Petricek said...

Hi Alisa! Loved viewing your vlog! Very informative and a nice way to find out more about you! While reading written posts is always good, nothing beats hearing and seeing an artist presenting their work!

Tonya Ricucci said...

I found you via Pinterest. Love love this idea - it looks so fabulous. shoe polish? holy cow. great informative and fun. thank you.

menatra said...

I love following your blog and was completely inspired by this post. I really wanted to take one of your classes but with our financial situation it is not possible. So thank you for sharing a little sneak of one of your classes, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

moxiemandie said...

this is SO beautiful! I love the show polish idea, too! :)

Anonymous said...

This is ALL fabulous. Side note -- where'd you get the amazing throw pillows??

Julia said...

You and this project were my inspiration for the Pinterest Challenge. I gave you full credit over on my blog today.
http://chrislovesjulia.blogspot.com/2011/08/pinterest-challenge-robert-frost-is-in.html

Tiffany said...

I really like the piece, and ur hair!

rebecca said...

oh alisa...one of my favorite e.e. cummings..and the written word? sumptuous. this project is just the whole enchilada of my heart. i could not resist sharing a link to this and YOU as part of my week as guest curator at crescendoh. you are a jOY to share and an inspiration to all.

warmly,
rebecca

Askarteluapina said...

I found your blog some days ago and I LOVE it. And I also love this painting, so much that I did one for myself. Thank you for your ideas!

Constance said...

I haven't visited your blog in a while. I've been kind of busy. But, what a delight I found here as I try to catch up with you and your artistic spirit! Such wonderful things to look at can be found here, so Thank You for that!

Geisslein said...

This is SO GREAT and inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer said...

You are such an inspiration! Thank you. Here's my version - http://jenniferhoel.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/family-art-project/

Laura at Ruby Grey Studio said...

I'm off . . . I'm a modern quilter and I'm ready to make this, only with fabric. Think I will "free piece" each letter randomly. Black letters pieced in a very large colorful print, like Anna Maria Horner or Amy Butler. Have you printed your own fabric yet? ohhh I would buy some. Especially your "doodle" painting above your pink tuplips. Spoonflower prints fabric...

laveeir17 said...

I'm excited to get to work and use shoe polish on my painting. =) Inspirational work!

Sara {Sara's Closet} said...

I just found your blog through Honey & Fitz, I love your work. I want to write in shoe polish now!! haha!

betsy said...

i LOVE this! i made a similar one today using song lyrics. thank you for sharing this brilliant idea.

allysonadeney said...

I love this idea and tutorial. I have featured you again on my blog. This time it's great tutorials for guys.
You can see it here....
http://allysonadeney.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/22-handmade-gifts-for-men-or-anyone-really-with-tutorials/
...if you like.
Thanks for taking the time to post this up for everyone to enjoy.
Ally on harrysdesk.

Rosa @ FlutterFlutter said...

This is GREAT!! I love your style.

danielle said...

I have a question... does the shoe polish dry well, or do you have to use fixative to set it? Let me know :) definitely using this tutorial!

Gabrielle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabrielle said...

I have this ee cummings poem over my bed; separated on 3 square canvases! love your version!

Anonymous said...

You wrote a very interesting article. And I agree with you. hair loss

Ben said...

One of those ones where you say 'oh, I could have done that!' but you never did, because you never do 'think of that'. It's really big and beautiful, and if I had the wall space I'd definitely have a go!

kamagra said...

Love your artistry...more work to come. Looking forward to see more work of yours.

painter in phoenix said...

Looking at it already makes me relax. Simple yet elegant.

Emily said...

This is wonderful! Where do you buy your muslin??

Anonymous said...

Hey I wanted to try your oversized wall poem using wood, do you still use the shoe polish or just black paint?

Thank you! Hilary

stacy morrison said...

I love this painting, this is amazing, incredibly beautiful, which i truly appreciate and have always, i would love to see this on my room wall, thanks for sharing this beautiful work.

Affordable wall art designing services online

Fotoviva Art Prints said...

What a brilliant idea! And of course the design and message is unlimited, making it totally unique each time. Would be good with lots of colours too.

Anna Belkind said...

Hi Alisa!!! LOVE your blog! I used this post on a roojoom track about DIY wall art.

check it out:

http://tracks.roojoom.com/u/annabelkind999,345/6-original-diy-art-ideas-for-you-home,1503

what do you think? would love your feedback.

Anna

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