I have to start out by making a public apology to Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, West Elm, Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, and a few others I’m forgetting. I’m sorry I’ve ordered your catalogs for years and have never purchased a single thing from you. I’m sorry for using you for your great ideas and giving you nothing back in return.
I promise someday when I have money, I’ll make it up to you. But for now, I’m forced to drool over your pages, adding items to my mental wish list, then recreating them using my garage sale finds as raw materials. At least you can feel good knowing you’re inspiring many of us that can’t afford you.
My latest catalog “inspiration” were these companion art pieces I found in a Ballard Designs catalog. I loved their simplicity, earthy tones, and airy feel, but at $589 for the pair, I knew I’d have to improvise if I wanted the same look.
It wasn’t until I came across these choice paintings (no offense to artists Rochelle and Marushka) at different yard sales, that I decided to attempt to recreate these Soliloquy Giclee prints on my own. The canvases cost a mere $.10 for one while the other was free at a close-out-the-day special (more of my yard sale tricks can be found here), making this entire project less than $.50 if you include paint.
I started by shopping through my latex paint collection for colors that I saw in the original works, plus any others I needed to incorporate into my master bedroom. Yep, you heard right, I used good ‘ole house paint for this so I wouldn’t have to buy anything more for the project.
I avoided any gloss or semi-gloss finishes, but anything from a flat to a satin works fine. I ended up using three flats, one eggshell, and two satin finish colors, and you can hardly tell a difference in the finished pieces.
I then set up my two soon-to-be-upcycled canvases on tabletop easels and covered the previous prints with a dark brown.
Next, I separated the canvases into four different planes, and painted each either a white, buttery yellow, or light aqua blue, and left the bottom fourth brown. I left some of the original brown showing through on the upper portions to give it that aged look. I then blended the colors between each of the layers to give it more of a loose feel, instead of looking like the colors were simply stacked on top of each other. Because I could do this with a one inch brush, finishing the background went surprisingly fast.
Now it was time to add my happy trees. I took a small quarter inch brush and with the same dark brown, rough-sketched where I wanted them planted.
Then I took that same brush, and using different colors of greens, yellows, and browns, began layering on the leaves. I tried to keep my brush clean in between colors to avoid the paint getting too “muddy”. But other then that, there was really no exact method to this.
The whole project took the better part of the day, mostly due to interruptions like making meals, entertaining toddlers, and getting the laundry and cleaning done.
It’s nice to finally get them up on my wall and they’ve helped the duvet cover feel more a part of the color pallet. Hmmm, what’s next for this room?
Update: We revealed the master bedroom and chatted it up about all the costs involved here. Check it out.
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