Creating a quote-themed painting: A tutorial!

Well, hello there!



It’s the happiest time of the year–at least for my solar-powered soul!–Daylight Savings Time has begun! This is when time, formerly contracted and shriveled in winter, warms and stretches and anything seems possible. Darkness and frigid temperatures retreat to their seasonal cave, and we turn our heads toward the light that lingers, and lingers until dogs are walked at 7pm, dinners are served well after 9, and I find myself burning the midnight oil long past midnight.




As the days heat up, the skies clear and the gardens begin to bloom, there is a sense of having so much time on our hands–time enough to create one of these quote-themed paintings!




It all started with this magazine ad.




I loved the paintings, but knew they would be the opposite of inexpensive.





Mag ad word paintings Source: Maison K, Santa Barbara Magazine





So I decided to make my own and you can, too.






Here’s how:






The first step is to add texture to your canvas. The trick? Modeling Paste.






Modeling paste






The tool? An old credit card or gift card–or library card if you’ve gone all reading tablet. Apply the paste liberally and use your retired card (or a firm piece of cardboard) as a trowel. Caution: If you apply the paste too thickly it will take approximately FOREVER to dry. With that in mind, trowel away.







Modeling paste on canvas





Add a warm background using burnt umber (rusty brown) colored acrylic paint. Mix it with water and you’ll have a nice sepia-toned wash.






Sepia tone wash




In the photo below, you can see how the texture created by the (completely dry) modeling paste comes to life once you add color. (The same canvas was used in the shot above but since it is still white, the texture reads as non-existent.)





Now add your charcoal wash made of dark grey acrylic paint thinned with water.






Charcoal wash




Ay there’s the rub: Use a clean, dry cloth to rub away the excess wash, but not too much or you risk wiping some of your pretty texture into oblivion–trust me! (Eh hem.)






Rub canvas





Once your canvas is the tone you’d like it and thoroughly dry, use a charcoal pencil to write your inspirational quote. Fresh from seeing The Theory of Everything, I was repeating this Stephen Hawking quote in my head enough that I thought I should honor it with a painting. When you have finished your lettering, seal the surface of the canvas with clear acrylic spray to prevent unwanted smudging. (Some smudging is a good thing.)






Stephen Hawking quote There is Always Something You Can Do Patinting





If this quote isn’t for you, Pinterest is a good source of inspiration.





(Preaching to the choir.)




I used trellis wood from Home Depot to make a custom, DIY frame.





Trellis molding





I stained the wood using Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut.








Stained trellis molding




Once the stain has dried, measure and cut.





Cut trellis molding






Attach one strip at a time.  Position your first piece so it just barely juts forward beyond the face of the canvas for an ever-so-slight shadow box effect. Use your hands (clamps are even better!) to hold the wood in place; secure it with brads. I spaced my brads about 6″ apart.






Trellis molding frame




Because I also love this quote, I made two paintings.




Exhibit A:





Barns burnt down paintingThis quote can usually work wonders to shake any gloom right off of me.






Exhibit B:






Paintings with wordsI was trying to channel the charm of that lovely ad we saw above. I was missing a lanky, swanky barefoot model in a leopard print dress so, instead, I offer you: a leopard print throw on an old chair.





And for some “truth in advertising”, here is how the painting looks hung in our hallway in its current no flooring, no baseboard, door-to-be-replaced, walls-to-be-painted state.







Word painting in hallImagine it in a nice hallway (living room, entry, etc.) and it’s awesome, right?






What about you? What would/will your word painting say?


Pink signature


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply