Friday, July 27, 2007

Red Hat Chapter Sign

My Red Hat Chapter, The Allegheny River Scarletts, decided to participate in the July 4th parade this year. We arranged for a red pick-up truck and a trailer. They asked me to paint two signs for the trailer. We decorated the trailer with all sorts of red and purple--red and purple skirts surrounding the outside edges of the trailer, purple and red tissue paper flowers, a patio umbrella covered with purple and strung with red beads topped with tissue paper flowers. We ended up putting one sign on the truck's grill and the other on the back of the trailer. Then we had several of our Red Hat sisters ride on our float down the parade route. It was a fun day. The very best part of the day, however, was that we won first place in our division. My husband said the only reason we won was because of my signs. (He can be a real sweetie when he wants to be.) I forgot to take pictures of the signs, so I had to depend on getting a photo from someone else. Unfortunately, the photo I was given cut parts of the sign off. Both signs are identical. So, here it is--mostly-- the sign that helped us win first place and a check for $125.00.

How to do it?-- Buy the largest foam core sheets you can find. The ones I bought came from Staples and were approximately 30x40 inches. Basecoat the sheet of foam core with the color of your choice. Some colors take a lot of paint to give you good coverage. Purple is an example. I think there are three coats of paint on the board. (contrary to the photo, it IS purple!)

Next, figure out what your sign will say and go to your word processing or publishing software. I use Printmaster. One of the features of this software is the ability to create shapes with your text and then to print your work out as large as you need it to be. You can try a bunch of different fonts until you find the one that a. fits your theme and b. looks good/readable when you alter the shape of the text. I went to the Red Hat Society website to get the logo hat (which we, as an official chapter are allowed to use) so that I could add it to my sign. Finally, when I was satisfied with the design, I printed it out to full size. The software divides large posters into tiles and prints as many 8.5x11 sheets of paper as it takes to print the required size.

Now you need to transfer your design to the poster. Tape all your tiles together and position the sheets over your foam core. Put an appropriate color transfer paper between the design and the foam core and trace the design with a stylus or a ballpoint pen. For dark backgrounds use white transfer paper; for dark, use graphite paper.

When you are painting a fairly transparent color like most reds over a dark background you need to first basecoat the areas to be painted with a light, neutral color. I like to use a pale grey for most of these applications unless my final color is yellow. For yellow, I basecoat with white. When the basecoat is dry, paint the final color. Most often you will need two coats. To make the lettering a little more interesting, I painted a line of silver on the left side of all the letters. You will notice that the silver line changes position with the "light". It is always on the left side of the line.

The last step was to take some silver glitter paint and put it on the painted feathers on the logo hat. I also had a large purple feather to attach to the sign. I glued it in place and then painted it with silver glitter paint as well. The glitter paint helped to hold the feather in place on the sign.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Garage "Windows"

We did not get a lot more done on the garage door. Here are the "windows" after a second coat of black paint and removing the tape. Most of this week is going to be a bit showery, so the rest of the project must wait. The next step is to paint some reflected light on the window panes and then we will tape off the panels on the doors so that we can paint in the light and the shadow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A BIG new project!

What do you do if your garage door makes your garage look like a storage shed? You practice a little magic with paint. We moved into our home a year and a half ago. The house, built in 1937, has required lots of updates. In fact, we took down some flocked metallic wallpaper in our bathroom this week and found that the paper hanger had signed and dated the wall. The date is December of 1970! We were pretty sure the last time any decorating had been done to the house was in the late 60s or early 70s and this confirmed it. But, I digress. The garage door is in very good condition, but it is very dull and uninteresting.

Because the door is in such good condition, we did not want to replace it. So we decided to paint it. We first decided how we wanted the door to look. We settled on a carriage house look. We saved wrought iron hinges from the kitchen when we tore it out last summer so they can be applied to the garage door and we bought handles. The door will look like it is two doors that open from the sides. This technique is called trompe l'oeill (French for "fool the eye"--a painted illusion) Our next step was to submit a request to the Historic Board in our city to get permission to do our project.

Once we knew what we wanted the door to look like, we measured and then I graphed the door using 1 square to one inch. My graph paper was only big enough to do half the door. The other half is a mirror image of the graph.

Tonight we started to paint. We measured and taped off the "windows" and then painted them black. In the morning we need to put on a second coat of paint and then remove the tape. Stay tuned for the next steps.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another fun pumpkin project

I just can't seem to stay away from the pumpkin patch!! I picked up an 8" papier mache pumpkin a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to decide what to do with it.

Recently on a DIY/HGTV show called Creative Juice they created potpourri holders out of papier mache balls. They made the papier mache balls first which involved a lot of time to make the balls, cut them apart to remove the support, and put them back together. But essentially, once you have the papier mache object the project involved using an awl to poke holes in the balls with one larger hole for a cork. Then they painted the balls and attached ribbon so they could hang in a window. Finally, the balls were filled with aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, orange peel.

Here was the inspiration for my papier mache pumpkin! I poked holes in the upper half of the pumpkin. As soon as I find a cork, I will poke the hole for the cork in the side near the bottom. Then I painted the pumpkin using DecoArt Americana acrylic paints. Notice that it is not just solid orange, but has details with darks in the creases and blemishes on the sides. The stem is also painted so that it has the look of ridges. To finish it off, I will fill it with some fall-type spices and set in on a bed of silk leaves. It will make a stunning centerpiece that also smells good.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A new miniature

I've been working on this little piece for over a month. That is, I started it over a month ago before I went into the pumpkin patch and I have just been able to get back to it. It is painted in Genesis on a 4"x4" piece of gesso board. So, here it is: "Summer Tea".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I seem to be stuck in a pumpkin patch!

I really am working on other things, but the only things that are ready to share seem to be pumpkins! I am becoming an expert at painting pumpkins in every medium, it seems. The decorative painting club is hosting a basket lunch in November. The theme is Luncheon in the Pumpkin Patch. (oh, well) A basket lunch is an event for auctioning gift baskets. Members are responsible for a decorating a table. That involves painting a centerpiece and a favor for each guest at the table. The favors are going to be pumpkin pins. The centerpieces are going to be ceramic pumpkins that are to be decorated. Each member who agrees to be responsible for a table can paint the pumpkin centerpiece and the pins any way they wish, as long as they stay within the theme. So, here is my pumpkin pin. It is painted in acrylics on a 1" disk. The edges and back are gold. I am going to teach this piece as a Make-It-Take-It in August.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Couldn't see the pig??

I got thinking about the fact that if you are just looking at the pumpkins and gourds, you might not be able to see the pig. So here is the pig. I only painted one face of each piece with the pumpkin/gourd design. The sides and the back face are painted gold. So, when life hands you swine, turn them into a pumpkin patch!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Painted Joke

As a joke, I was given then gift of a wooden pig. This pig is made of five separate pieces--the body and 4 legs. The manufacturer's intention was that you should paint all the parts of this pig and then assemble them into a 3-dimensional display piece. Now, pigs are not my very most favorite subject for painting. I know that Jamie Wyeth painted a very famous pig (a painting that can be seen at the Brandywine River Museum near Chadds Ford, PA), but I do not know any famous pigs so this was not an option I wished to pursue. That left me with few choices: throw the pig away, give the pig away, or turn it into something creative and fun. I chose the last option. When you really look at the pieces, they look like the shapes of pumpkins and gourds. So I have turned these parts into a pumpkin patch. The ultimate joke is that I intend to return the pig to my friend as a fall display in a nice little basket. It will be fun to see if she recognizes it!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The wheelbarrow is finished--I think

I finally got back to work on the wheelbarrow box. As of this evening, it is finished. Now it has to sit and dry for several weeks before I can apply a top coat. As it dries, I can study on it a bit and decide if I need/want to do anything more to it. Look back at the first stage painting. It is fun to see how the painting comes to life when the details, highlighting and shading are added. I hope the club will be pleased with the results and that it is a good fund raiser.


Left Side

Right Side