Jean Allsopp / Styling and Project Design: Mary Leigh Fitts
If expanses of blank wall leave you wishing for big, bold artwork to display, create some yourself. Producing a decorative stand-in for an original contemporary painting is a project you can accomplish in an afternoon. With the help of acrylic paints and prestretched canvas, you can easily produce one or more paintings in any combination of colors.
To achieve this look, you'll need the right kind of canvas. Choose one that's assembled from 11 ½-inch-thick, heavy-duty stretcher strips. The fabric should wrap the sides of the frame, and the edges should be secured on the back. With such a canvas, it is unnecessary to purchase a separate picture frame because you can paint its sides to create a nicely finished edge. Expect to pay about $25 for a 20- x 24-inch stretched canvas.
Step 1: Brush a coat of matte acrylic medium onto the front and sides of the stretched canvas, and let dry. (Acrylic medium makes the fabric less absorbent and easier to cover with paint.)
Step 2: Brush the first coat of acrylic paint onto the front and sides of the canvas, and let dry. Continue reapplying paint until the color looks completely opaque when dry.
Step 3: Use a pencil and yardstick to outline a stripe measuring from 1 to 3 inches in width. Place the stripe a few inches from one edge and continue it onto the sides of the canvas. Next, apply a piece of masking tape along each pencil line, so the entire length of the stripe is bordered by tape. Press the inside edges of the tape down firmly; then seal them by applying a light coat of acrylic medium. When the acrylic medium has dried, fill in the stripe with a different color acrylic paint, repeating the application until the color looks completely opaque once it dries. Carefully peel the tape away.
Tips to Help You Paint Like a Pro