Make Art For Your House

Last winter while lounging in the boring sunshine of Sun City West, I got the notion that it was time to do something I have never tried before. I painted a picture on canvas. I do well with pencil, and I have even worked in charcoal. My favorite medium is color pencil although I limit that to book illustrations. The only formal training I ever received  came from the nuns in grammar school. I took drawing class at a local Junior college, but I was already beyond what they taught me. The benefit of going to school came from doing pictures for assignments. The practice helped tremendously. The only schooling I had for working with paints came from watching an artist on Public Television do paint projects where the teacher did a complete landscape in a thirty minute time slot.

The engineer in me prescribed the method I used to make this painting. First, I have very little creativity to draw something from scratch. My brain does not work that way. I received a beautiful photograph of a cactus flower from a cousin by eMail. This would be my masterpiece. I’ll take you through the steps I used to paint an 18 x 24 canvas.

1. Make a hard copy print of the subject photo.

Photo printed from email

Photo printed from email

2 Draw a 1×1 grid on the hard copy print with pencil.

Draw a 1x1 grid on the hardcopy photo with pencil

Draw a 1×1 grid on the hardcopy photo with pencil

3. Start with a fresh canvas of any size. This description uses a 18 by 24.

Blank 18 x 24 canvas from Michael's

Blank 18 x 24 canvas from Michael’s

4. Add a grid that is square and proportional, i.e. the number of squares on the canvas equals the number on your photo. To make things less stressful, number the grid lines across left to right on both the photo and the canvas. Use letters to id the lines from top to bottom.

Canvas with grid penciled in

Canvas with grid penciled in

5. Begin transferring the picture to the canvas by marking where the subject crosses the grid lines. For instance, say your starting point on the photo crosses the grid at 4-c. make a point on the canvas at 4-c. Repeat this process until you have the subject shaped with dots on the canvas. Connect the dots lightly with pencil to make the subject appear on the canvas.

The pencil image of the subject is on the canvas, The photo is on the upper left to show the scale.

The pencil image of the subject is on the canvas, The photo is on the upper right to show the scale.

6. Continue the placing of dots until the entire subject is on canvas in dots. Connect the dots lightly with pencil to make the full image appear on the canvas.

The completed pencil image of the subject ready for paint.

The completed pencil image of the subject ready for paint.

7. Begin painting. I used acrylic paints because I don’t have patience to wait for oil to dry, and I like a water clean-up. The hardest thing to do is to match the colors. I always begin with a dab of white and add a color to it. In this case I added a tiny dab of red color into the white and mixed it completely with a popsicle stick. I continued adding red in ever so small amounts until I matched the lightest pink in the photo.

The first layer of pink. I chose the lightest color in the photo knowing that I could add darker hues over the light color easier than adding a light color over a darker one.

The first layer of pink. I chose the lightest color in the photo knowing that I could add darker hues over the light color easier than adding a light color over a darker one.

8. Continue adding colors.

The painting is about sixty percent complete at this point.

The painting is about sixty percent complete at this point.

9. Fill in areas to define the image. In this case I filled the area around the flowers with a grey that is in the background. This defined the petals and gave me a base to work the backdrop. Notice how the grey fill made the flowers pop.

The flower petals are ringed with grey. A serious painter might have begun by painting the entire canvas grey.

The flower petals are ringed with grey. A serious painter might have begun by painting the entire canvas grey.

10. Complete the painting by adding more to the background to make the grey blend in. Add more detail to the yellow stamen, and highlight dark areas to give the image depth.

Notice how the background has filled in closer to the flower petals, but the grey is still too apparent.

Notice how the background has filled in closer to the flower petals, but the grey is still too apparent.

11. Finished painting next to the starting photograph.

Pink Cactus Flowers, completed

Pink Cactus Flowers, completed

I did this on my kitchen counter top using a piece of cardboard for my paint palette. I bought a set of brushes, and a starter set of acrylic paints with a portable easel to hold the work. I spent less than fifty dollars for the set up, but have enough paint to do several more pictures.  I never painted for more than two hours at a time, and I completed the piece in about a week and a half. Will I ever become rich painting pictures? Nope, not a chance. I have a deeper appreciation of art now that I completed this project. I understand why art is so expensive, and also why the term “starving artist,” defines most people who sell their art. Today, there is a modern technique to make a picture faster, and with less effort. I could have taken the electronic image to Staples, and had them print the picture on canvas, and mount it for about a hundred dollars.

Pink Cactus Flower now hangs in my Great Room where I can enjoy seeing it everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

Invaded By Mexicans

Yesterday, I managed to go twenty-four hours without internet. By the end of the day my hands were shaking and I needed a drink, a strong drink. Each day this week the painting crew arrived at 7:30 am and took over the house. On day one they did the guest room, a spare bedroom, and two bathrooms. They also prepped the next day of work; the sun room, our master bedroom-bathroom, and my office. On day 2 they painted those rooms, and began the great room prep. Day 3 began with five men taking over the largest area of the house, the great room, and prep for the kitchen. Preparation means taping woodwork, spreading drop cloths, moving furniture, covering furniture with plastic, and scrapping bumps and loose paint from gnarly areas of the walls. Split drywall joints are dug out, new tape is applied, and covered with mud. When the drywall plaster is dried the painting begins. To speed things up the army installs several huge fans around the house to blow high-speed air at the moist plaster and pre-painted spots.

The five men, Jose, Carlos, Francisco, Miguel, and Julio work as a team without instruction nor any hint of dissension or animosity toward one another. The age of the army ranges from twenty-two to forty. Most of the men have worked for Mike’s Painting and Decorating from five to twelve years. One thing they have in common is Spanish as a language. The entire crew is Mexican. At least three of them came to America when they were toddlers or grammar school kids. I watched one man mixing mud for the joints. He saw me watching him, so I teased him “I want to learn your job so I can take it.” He smiled heartily, and said, “I teach to you.”

All of them are extremely polite and conscious of the effect they have on the customer. What effect could they possibly have? Try watching your castle being taken over, and trashed with ugly drop cloths, plastic sheeting, paint buckets, sanding blocks, green tape, blue tape, white tape, masking tape, splotches of plaster, trails of fine white dust, rollers, brushes, poles, and tool boxes with more of the same.

I am glad we took on this adventure, but now that Peg and I have been through it I will never do it again. It has been one week of total life style interruption, and seniors like everything to stay on a smooth path. Little things like where is my pill-box? How will we make lunch? The stove, microwave, and refrigerator are swathed in plastic. Which bathroom is available? I don’t want to know how many years of bad luck I will have after walking under ladders because it was the only free path from A to B.

The house looks great. It is even better than I expected. The colors I chose work well with our floors, carpets, tile, and furniture. The accents are subtle and when I look at the walls I ask myself if the walls are truly different in color. Lighting makes a big difference on what colors I see.

The biggest disappointment happened when  we discovered the dry-rotted sill plate and rafters next to the living room window. That room remains unfinished until I have the structural damage repaired, the wood treated with a fungiicide, and the drywall replaced. Thankfully, the damage is the same as a dented fender on a car, and not damage from a head on collision with a semi.

The next big job is cleaning the entire house, then replacing the pictures and mementos  that I scattered throughout the basement and the spare bedrooms.

I need a drink. Peg and I will enjoy a simple supper at a restaurant tonight, and I might even imbibe a martini.

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And then there is this. . . .

Crumbling Wall From RLBW

Crumbling Wall From RLBW

 

Transforming the First Amendment

Well America the transformation goes on behind closed doors as we live and watch videos on the internet. Last week the transparent White House held a non-transparent secret meeting with Muslims. What is Obama hiding from us? Why can’t we know who the people are who attended? The transparency of this meeting overwhelms me. When  the most powerful man in the world holds secret meetings with Muslims it cannot be for the good of the entire country. Most likely it is for the good of Muslims only. Since when did the Bill of Rights extend special privileges for one group of people only?

It is obvious by Obama’s Muslim sympathy that he is a closet Muslim and wants the USA to become Muslim with Sharia Law and Mosques and Muslims slaying infidels (you and me) on the street without recourse. Sharia might be the only way he can dominate his wife and at the same time add a few more women to his harem.

It is time to make Obama disappear from the role he has. He must be removed and sent into exile to a solid Muslim country where he will live in his comfort zone.

Watch this video by Pat Condell to hear a very angry British citizen tell us what transpires in Obama’s beloved Europe. Digest what Condell says and understand he is right.

Sometimes we wonder

Just Cruisin 2

rights

A friend shared an article that pushed my buttons.
It was on the ABC News website and talked
of how and Iowa widow had around $19,000
seized from her account because it wasn’t deposited
right.

Because of a law that doesn’t allow large sums
of money to be deposited in amounts less than
$10,000 this poor woman is a criminal. This is to
help investigators track large sums of cash tied
to criminal activity they say. But has it gotten
out of hand?

In seven years the IRS seized $242 million, a
third simply because less than $10,000 was
deposited. About half was returned after those
who lost the money challenged the IRS.

So if I had $20,000 and deposited it in 4 banks
I would be a criminal, but if I deposited it in
2 banks I would be a pillar of the community? How
crazy is that! If…

View original post 32 more words

Roughing It In A Luxury Home

Today, I conducted a war on terror. It isn’t finished, but we identified the vermin, it is terror. As the days go ahead, more and more experts will give opinions about what repairs will kill this scourge known as RLBW.

Peg and I are undertaking a complete renovation of our living quarters by having all the rooms painted within five days. It sounds easy at first, but along with the painting comes the repair of many drywall joints that have split open by the forces of a house settling. Our home is now old enough to drink by Illinois law, that makes it twenty-one.

For the past six years I have noticed a spot on one wall that has changed color. The snow-white wall had an ominous grey spot on it. I guessed it to be moisture. At that same time, I identified several roof leaks that were severely damaging some of the walls. Four years ago, I had a new roof installed to stop the leaking.$$$ It seemed to have worked. I never took the trouble to repair the grey spots, until this major paint job became a reality.$$$$$

This morning the crew attacked Peg’s sitting room at the front of the house and the terrorist popped out and reared his ugly head. In chipping away at some of the drywall to replace it with sound plaster, the technician discovered that the plaster around our front window is soaking wet. He began pulling down wet moldy wall thus exposing the RLBW (Roof leak behind walls). This discovery told me that replacing the roof at considerable expense did not correct this problem. It has leaked for another four years without our knowledge. The result is a sill plate that is so rotted it must be replaced. The rotten sill plate supports  the roof structure, and it is crumbling. Even as we tore away more of the drywall and insulation we could not find out the source of the water. My roofer sent a technician to  investigate, and of course he couldn’t find a thing wrong, but he did admit he is looking at a leak problem.

Peggy's Sitting Room

Peggy’s Sitting Room

Now the paint job has taken a new twist in the schedule. The priority has shifted from Peg’s room to my office, and I am knee-deep in the usual shit that takes over an office. Books by the shelf full, papers, and brochures to read later, my book notes, maps, and manuscript are strewn about the surface of my desk. Not to mention a bird’s nest of wires connecting printers, modems, hard drives, routers, that make up a modern office.

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Grumpa Joe’s Office

 

By the time I started to cook supper, I had transferred 95% of my stuff to another room with a solemn vow that 75% of it will never return. This is a great opportunity to purge, and to simplify, except I am doing the same with every room in the house. By the time the paint is dry, my body will be yearning for a couch in front of a big screen TV. Because of the extensive drywall repairs today, our bedroom is still wrapped in plastic waiting for a second coat of paint. That means Peg and I sleep in he guest room among all the stuff I moved there from the other rooms. There is a path around the bed into the bathroom and the bed itself is clear, so we will rough it in a strange bed. Gee it will be just like it is when we travel. Except for one thing, our guest room mattress does not match the same high quality of a Holiday Inn bed. It will be roughing it while the terrorist lurks two rooms away waiting for another opportunity to sneak water into the walls.$$$$$$$$$$

 

Crumbling Wall From RLBW

Crumbling Wall From RLBW

Rotten Sill Plate

Rotten SIll Plate

 

 

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