Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Decorative painting 101

This is the recipe box I made my daughter-in-law for her birthday. Sorry the picture isn't better! I didn't realize how dark it was until I downloaded it. I thought I would show you how I do my decorative painting. Click on the picture to see details better.
First I stained and sanded the box. I use water base stain.
I found a picture I liked in one of my painting books. Luckily it was the right size for the box.
Trace the picture with a mechanical pencil. The lead on regular pencils is too thick, especially if there is a lot of detail.

Center the picture and tape to the box. I always use Scotch Magic Tape because it leaves no residue and can be removed and reapplied easily.
Put graphite paper under the tracing. Be sure to use graphite not carbon paper. Carbon is ink and cannot be easily covered or removed.
Trace lightly over the picture, especially if you are painting on pine as it is very soft wood and you will indent it. I use a tool called a stylus that looks like a pin head and is made for that purpose.
Pick your colors and paint everything in. The painting books will give you step by step directions and colors. The cream in the finished box is a different color than the base coat because I picked my own colors and decided this color was too bright.
This next step is the hardest to master and the most important. It's called floating and is used for highlights and shadowing. I always use an angle brush for this. Leave a small amount of water in your brush. Put the tip of the brush only in the paint. To shade you pick a color a couple shades darker then the base coat. To highlight, a couple shades lighter.

Lay the entire brush on pallet paper (freezer paper makes great, inexpensive pallet paper) and pull toward yourself.
Do this a couple times until you have a blend from the original color to a watered down, lighter shade.
Paint under the object where there would be a shadow . Do the same with the lighter color on the object where it would be naturally highlighted if a light was shining above it. As in the apples, I used this technique to separate each apple.
The painting books will also tell you where to put the shading and highlighting. It takes some practice but this is what adds depth and makes things look real.
I stenciled the checks and added an apple to the corners. I also added several coats of water base varnish.

If you have any questions I will be happy to try and help you. Just leave a comment and I will answer in my comments.


Dawn said...

Jean, I nominated you for an award. Come by my place to see.

T*mmy said...

WoW...what talent you have! Wonderful work...and showing us step by step to boot!!

kris said...

Cool - and very nice to get such great photos and directions.

Zoey said...

You make that look so easy!

Muum said...

great entry, it is fun to see how you do your wonderful art work.

T*mmy said...

Please come by my blog today as you have been awarded!

PEA said...

Oh Jean, such beautiful work you do! I've always admired people who can paint like was interesting to see the step by step because I always wondered how it was all done! I'm sure your DIL loved it!! xox