Posts tagged ‘Sean Wells’

Painting the Dragon on the Vanity

Here is the first how-to on the vanity.

1.  I have painted the vanity with a Krylon acrylic paint in Banner Red.  The surface is clean.

preparing work area2.  I gathered inspiring images from Google.  Search for keywords that interest you and print out your favorites.  Print out for reference.  If you’re not comfortable free-handing, you can print out images  full scale so that they print on several pieces of paper and seam them together with tape.  Rub chalk on the back and trace from the front onto your surface to transpose chalk guidelines to your tabletop.  I took my favorite elements from several images to get a Dragon and Phoenix I liked.  Have your image respond to the edges of the table top.  My beasts curl around the curves of the desk.

image showing colored pencil outline

3.  I’m using a basic black acrylic paint found at any craft/art supply store.  You can use the 99¢ bottles of crafting acrylic or the thicker tubes.  The crafting acrylic should get a less-dimensional image.  The tube paint will leave raised ridges and brush strokes.  I liked this effect since it really told you the desk was hand-painted.  Pour a little paint into a small bowl.  Keep adding water and mix paint into water until you get an inky look.  Leave some paint unmixed in the bowl so you can vary the viscosity of your paint.

image applying paint4.  Use a long narrow brush.  I like the stiffer bristles of an acrylic brush so that I can vary the width of the stroke by adjusting the pressure on the brush.  I wanted to imitate the brush-stroke kanji of the collage paper.

image of progressive painting5.  Continue filling out the details.  Begin to layer in the thicker paint on the meatier areas if you want to give the paint some dimension.  Be aware that you will be working over a large area, so you may want to start on the area furthest from your hand (I obviously didn’t do this).  I don’t rest my hand on the surface, so it’s not as big an issue for me.  But, you don’t want to accidently run your hand through the wet paint.

image showing longer brush strokes6.  Wait until you’ve developed your comfort with the brush strokes before you tackle the longer major outlines.  I definitely developed a technique and style as I went along.  Don’t be too afraid to make mistakes.  Leave a moist rag around to quickly wipe up any strokes you don’t like.  Dry the area thoroughly before repainting to avoid bleeding or feathering.  The acrylic tends to sit on the surface until it’s sealed, so you can even wash off dried paint for the most part.

more progress painting7.  Invest in textures and details.  I really liked the feathered texture on the scales.  It took a while, but really took it from a craft project to a work of art.  That being said, I also left some areas very loose and interpretive.

image of finished painted tabletop

8.  Shot of the completed top.  The acrylic dries extremely fast.  Once the thickest parts have dried, take it outside and put  several clear coats of acrylic spray paint.  Do not use lacquer as it can cause wrinkling.  If you plan to collage, you’ll apply more coats of sealer on top of the collage work and will probably have to recoat the top as well to prevent the dusty look of overspray.

This process can be applied to any theme you choose!

 

 

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November 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm 1 comment

Red Chinese Phoenix Vanity

Vanity after closeupOK, I’m just too sleepy to come up with a pun-y title this morning.  If anyone wants to comment with a suggested title, I’m all ears.

This article is a continuation of the article “who says vanity is a bad thing?!

Well, here it is, the big reveal!  This is the $3 yard sale vanity I adopted months ago.  I actually finished the rehab a few weeks ago, but I have such an extensive set of after photos, I’ve been putting off posting.  I plan to include a series of articles on the how-to on this one.  But for now, just the fun stuff.

I prepped the vanity by cleaning, sanding and removing all the hardware.  I didn’t bother taping off the mirror.  I just thought I would scrape off the spray paint with a razor blade when I was done, but that was harder than I thought.  The spray paint really set and adhered much better to the glass of the mirror than I would have imagined.  If I did it over again. I would insert several pieces of plastic paper between the mirror and the frame and tape them down for a clean and easy finish. I sprayed on a white acrylic primer.  It was so pretty in that stage, I wish I took a picture.  Red paint is particularly sheer, so it was important to start with a white primer to insure a bright cherry red finish.  I used Krylon Banner Red.  It was very affordable at Walmart.  I think it took 4 bottles, but there were several places where I had to refinish due to bubbling of the finish coat.   I finished with 2 coats of a high gloss lacquer spray paint.  It did bubble in a couple of places, but I think it was due to the fact that I had left it in the sun and was spraying on a hot surface.

vanity detail dragon

vanity detail topOnce the base coat of red was complete, I hand painted the Phoenix and Dragon on the top surface using watered down acrylic paints.  I sketched it out using a light color colored pencil first and printed lots of online images to inspire and create my  own compilation of the icons.  I’ll do a step by step post on that painting in a later post.  This part was so fun.  After the top was complete, I went to the paper store (see article “Papers!“) you recommended to find a red a black paper.  I found a very inexpensive toothy tissue paper with a screened kanji pattern on it that was perfect.  I decoupaged the paper onto the vertical surfaces of the unit.  This step was really fun, too.  It was so fun, I decided to line the drawer for a special surprise inside.

vanity detail decoupage

I took process photos of the decoupage, so I will post those later, too.  I painted the hardware black and hit those with a durable clear coat of glossy spray paint.  I reattached the hardware and she was ready to go!

vanity drawerI converted a country looking stool to use as a seat.  It had a great asian profile.  I’ll post about that separately.

Sadly, I left the vanity outside under my pop-up tent for one day (intending to deliver to the furniture store the following day) and a gust of wind came and knocked the tent over crushing my newly finished vanity.  The mirror is broken and two of the legs are busted.  I kind of feel like the universe does not want anyone to ever use this vanity.  It currently sits in my shed, legless once more.  I plan to replace the two broken legs with legs from the local Habitat for Humanity Restore, a great resource for hardware and some furniture parts.  But, it was a really fun project and at least I got pictures of it before it was mangled.

Vanity Before

$3 is cheap for the cost of beauty.

vanity after

Vanity After

vanity after front

vanity after front view

vanity after detail 1

vanity after detail 1


September 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm 3 comments

simple paintbox of spicy colors

image of colorful jars of clayI’ve been collecting local clays and minerals to continue my natural pigment retablo training.  I wanted to keep them in something I could take with me to craft shows to display the pigments.  I had some canning jars around from preserving various garden items and thought they would make perfect storage containers for the bulk of the clays.  But, I wanted something a bit more apothecary feeling for my everyday display jars.  I found a dated set of 1970 spice jars (still containing original herbs) at an estate sale for $1 that I thought were ideal.  I cleaned and filled them and used my label maker to give them delicious sounding names like chocolate, ginger and chile rojo and cumin.

image of the spice rack and tool boxI was just going to trash the ugly wooden holder until I realized it was the exact size of of my tool carrier.  I painted it white and mounted it together using some mending plates.  There was a perfect slot between the two to allow for my brushes to slip in.  I just love how it came out and it makes me want to leave the set out in plain view, encouraging me to paint.  I’ll be looking for another set of these spice racks for the other side of the tool box, mainly to adjust the weight!  I’m looking forward to displaying my setup at my first show!

Oh, I FINALLY finished and photographed the legless vanity!  Too late to post tonight, but it will be a series of how-to posts.  I can hardly wait for the big reveal…stay tuned.

tool chest in action

August 22, 2010 at 7:06 am 2 comments

first Q project!

Vintage stainless steel barber chair

BEFORE $10

Picked up this sweet little beauty (chair;) at a yard sale for $10.  It’s hydraulic and heavy, but was in good condition.  My family goes back 5 generations in the Spanish Colonial Arts.  My brother is a tinsmith and I’ve trained as a retablo artist (icons of the saints painted on wood boards).  I love the art and I also love juxtaposing the iconography with modern themes.  The image from this chair is the one that appears in our banner.

The chair is currently  at a furniture consignment house frequented by Hollywood studio types retailing for $400 🙂  So maybe you’ll see it again In Plain Site 😉

~ Sean

AFTER

hand painted acrylic "Our Lady of Guadalupe" icon.


Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady Of Guadalupe Detail

Our Lady of Guadalupe detail 2

Our Lady of Guadalupe detail 2

June 24, 2010 at 10:35 am Leave a comment


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