Friday, October 06, 2006

Fun with Creative Painting

By Christina VanGinkel

I first became seriously interested in creative painting when I worked for a company in the late eighties. I delved a bit into creative painting before that time, but it was while I was with this company, which marketed creatively painted wood products, that I really became fascinated in the whole process. The company I worked at for example, cut simple wood shapes, and with just a few flourishes of paint, would transform those pieces into seemingly fancy works of art. Add in a touch of sanding here and there, or maybe some gold gilding, and so-so pieces would turn it wow! I often wondered if all the people who bought the finished items ever actually looked at them close enough to realize just how simply they were decorated. I believe that was much of the appeal though.

Creative painting, the term, can actually refer to several different types of decorative painting, but I am using it to refer to simple painting techniques, used to transform otherwise ordinary objects. The best thing about it is that no experience is required to get you started, just a desire to learn, your imagination, an object to paint, and a few supplies. You can pick up a magazine or book, such as Painting, the magazine, which offers up projects for the more advanced, but also, has tips and brushstrokes for the beginner if you feel as if you will need some detailed direction. The October issue of Painting has many fun projects to try, including outdoor decorations, fall and home decor and even some scary Halloween projects.

If you are interested in creative painting as a hobby, let me tell you that it is a very rewarding hobby. Especially when you find that first piece that you decide can be reborn with just a bit o paint and time. Not sure where to start? To begin, pick up a few basic supplies including some acrylic paint to start, as it is easy to both work with and clean up. Also, invest a couple of quality paintbrushes. A set labeled for decorative painting will work well because it will have a variety of sizes all bundled together. If you buy your paintbrushes individually, pick up a couple of sizes and types, including fan shapes, liners, round tipped, etc.

Also, consider using other objects to transfer your paint to whatever you end up using as a canvas, including cotton swabs or a toothbrush, as both will offer their very own unique application style. If you have never used a toothbrush for painting before, you dip the end into your paint and flick it onto the object you are painting. It is fun, but messy. With techniques such as this in mind, choose a spot to work where a bit of mess will not matter. A basement or garage workroom is ideal, especially if you try any paint splattering techniques. Marbles also can produce some different and fun finishes. Squirt small amounts of paint onto your surface you are painting, brush out with a wide brush but not too much, then drop your marbles onto the painted area and roll them around. If the object is small enough, this can be accomplished by picking up the piece and rolling the objects, otherwise try pushing them around. You can use one color of paint or two or more even for a look similar to the popular tie-dyed look.

Next, choose a project. This could be something new that you purchased with painting in mind, such as the blank boxes and containers you can find in many craft departments, a blank clock face, or something you have lying around that you want to breathe new life into. One of my first projects, and still one of my favorites was an old wooden jewelry box that I had lugged around since my childhood. After sanding it down and removing the hardware, I repainted it in acrylics, sealed it, and put the hardware back on. I actually kept this particular piece but gave another similar one away to a young girl for her eleventh birthday.

What you paint will be up to you, and almost anything is fair game. Chairs, countertop storage containers, vanity sets, picture frames, clocks, with your imagination your only limit. Creative painting is a fun and rewarding hobby, so if you have been searching for a hobby that is both, be sure to try creative painting today.

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