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Bedroom Birches


I love the idea of creating your own wall art.  No searching for the perfect piece, no paying for something that’s almost-but-not-quite right, and you get to gain some experience and, hopefully, skill in the process!

I’ve been wanting to bring birch trees into my bedroom ever since I saw this rather popular wallpaper.  I considered buying and framing or mounting a small section of said wallpaper, but it? Is bloody expensive, and also hard to find.  Then, one day at Michaels, I noticed all their canvases were on sale.

MUCH better.

When I think about it, this is really the first oil painting I’ve actually completed.  It’s basic, yes, but a birch forest is not a complicated motif to begin with.  In fact, this is the sort of painting that one could easily guide a class through in a couple hours (and a couple bottles of wine) at one of those paint-and-drink places.

First, you paint your entire background all streaky-like.  Then you add a stack of dark-colored, wonky vertical stripes.  Then you add another layer of wonky stripes is a slightly lighter color (and also slightly thicker than the previous layer).  Then another one, even lighter and yes, even thicker.

Somewhere in there you start adding thin, upswept branches and maybe a bit of shading (just swipe the darker color down one side of all your lighter stripes) and suddenly they’re not just wonky stripes, they’re trees!

Don’t forget your glass of wine in all this.   My last, very thick,  layer o’ trees was just one step from white.

Looks good, no?  It needed something more, though.  A quick perusal of google images got me thinking about the iconic black scars that mar birch bark.  I stared at my image search until I had developed some basic mental rules for how to paint my birch bark, then went nuts.

Ta da!  Last steps: let dry, hang up.  (No, seriously, let dry.  I thought it was dry, hung it up, and it turned out there was a little gobbet of dark gray paint on the backside of the painting just waiting to be squished into my white rental job walls.  Turpenoid to the rescue!)

Aaand here’s how it goes:

Someone heard the suspicious clicking of the camera and just had to insert himself:

Why hello!  Are you taking pictures without me?  You hussy.

And what’s this?

Looks like someone is planning a road trip.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/09/2012 3:35 PM

    Very nice! And so much better than a purchased one.

    • 04/09/2012 8:03 PM

      I agree! Nevermind the cost savings and the sheer joy of painting, but it means a bit more to me. I just realized, looking at it, that I didn’t sign it. Aren’t painters supposed to sign things?

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