Tag Archives: putty knife

Play with Color! Jazz up a canvas with a paint scraper

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This project is a great one to (re)create a a canvas into a fun bit of wall art. All you need is some paint, a paint scraper or putty knife and an old (or new) canvas -you know the one that you bought at the discount home decor store that is outdated? Or the juvenile print that your teenager has rejected?

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  1. For this bit of “art”, I had a ton of fun playing with color.  Rainbows were a favorite of mine long before they became symbolic of anything other than a promise and this project combined an image I love – a tree by a stream -with the beauty of a mosaic style background.  It felt reminiscent of my childhood days when I could squish my fingers into plates of  paint – and brought about a ton of joy as I played with the color.

The supplies are pretty simple – Acrylic paint in the color of your choice, gel medium (I recommend matte) to keep the edges of your paint raised, a paint scraper/putty knife measuring the width of the squares you would like to create and a standard paint brush to create the tree trunk and leaves.  A large plastic tray works well as a palette for mixing the color, but you could easily use disposable plates.

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First things first: choose your color palette.  The beauty of this style is that you can choose almost any color.  Blues (imagine water, sky and clouds!), greens (a deep forest, or a wide open meadow) or your favorite colors, swirling and rolling across the canvas.

Next, plan the placement of your focal point, if you have one – and the outline of how you would like the colors to lay. Sketch them lightly on your canvas with a pencil for reference.

Now, roll up your sleeves and get ready to have some fun!

Start with the lightest color, mix 1 part gel medium to 2 parts acrylic paint. This will create a paste like paint that will be slightly more opaque than it will appear when dry.  Load the putty knife’s edge with the color and beginning in the center of where your focal point will be,  lightly stroke down for one square and then stroke to the side for the second.

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Next, without cleaning your putty knife, pick up a bit of the next color and stroke on the paint palette to blend the color slightly.  As you work across your canvas, you may need to pick up some of the previous color along with the current color.  Remember to stroke the paint palette to blend the color ever so slightly on the putty knife.

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Continue  to work through the design, laying down the background in the same “stroke down, stroke across” pattern. The gel medium will give your paint body, and the edges of your squares will be slightly raised.

Once you have completed the background mosaic, allow the paint to dry completely. Because of the added gel medium, this will take a little longer than standard acrylic paint.

When the background has dried completely, begin to paint your focal point.  A field of flowers? A boat? A silhouette of a child?

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For added interest, you can add a significant amount of gel or modeling paste to the acrylic paint for the final details of your focal point.  For my tree, the leaves were quite raised.  The pedals on a flower stem, or the sail on a boat would also look quite interesting.

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Go ahead and give it a try! It might just take you back to your childhood as well.