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Tag Archives: Painting

Painting the Mantel and Fireplace Black

Painting the Mantel and Fireplace Black

To create some drama in the living room, I decided to paint the mantel and fireplace black. A quick fix for an unattractive and lackluster mantel that makes my life so much better. I like drama in my decor, and very little in my personal life.

The details are pretty basic: use a good primer (Kilz or Bin Zinzer) and then use a good paint to go dark (high quality dark paints require fewer coats). I used Behr Marquee – Totally Black in my house. It’s the same color that I am painting many of the doors, inspired by Daniel from Manhattan Nest. The paint exceeded my expectations, BTW – I highly recommend it – I think it only took two coats to get full coverage, which is really impressive for dark paints.

The flesh toned color of the before was really not going it for me – see below. Yuck. Boring. Yawn.

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And here is the after – WAAAH-BAM!

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I love the black mantel and fireplace together with the brown leather chairs and bright white walls. Also, the black in the curtain hardware speaks to the black in the fireplace. I am really getting on board with the idea that every room needs at least a little black.

Go paint something black in an almost all-white house. It will make your life so much better.

Love,

Rachel

PS. Fun fact – the all-white afghan on the chair to the right of the fireplace in the pic above was made by my mom. She crochets all the time and her work rocks.

Pigeon Painting

Pigeon Painting

Inspired by some other pigeon art, I set out to paint my own.

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I painted this little guy on canvas board with acrylic paint. I found the frame for $1 at a yard sale. $1!!! Score!

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Here it is in the corner, with my new hanging lamp (post about that forthcoming).

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He makes me happy. I think he needs a name.  I may also paint him a friend yet… Obviously I need lots and lots of bird art. More bird art!

Also, I had an idea that may already exist. If it exists, someone please let me know. I would like to exchange some of my original art with someone else’s original art. I desperately want original art by some other artists, but I cannot afford to buy it, and I think there is too much of my own art in my apartment.  Does some sort of art swap exist? If anyone is interested in an art swap and in the DC area, please reach out!

For the love of pigeons and art and pigeon art,

Rachel

Updating Thrift Store or Garage Sale Art

Updating Thrift Store or Garage Sale Art

Sometimes you find some cheap art at a thrift store or a garage sale. It’s alright, but it’s not awesome. Here is what a little bit of paint and a few glasses of wine can do. I got this weird old duck painting at a garage sale for $4. My boyfriend thought I overpaid. . .

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You can take a cute, but ho-hum duck and make it into a bright statement piece.

I painted the frame black with some paint that I had on hand. And I went in with the bright blue and some other vibrant colors to liven it up.  I just used acrylic paints.

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It’s not a masterpiece, but it does help fill in my gallery wall.  And I think the duck is cute. You likely remember that I have a seriously love of bird art. (Here and here.)

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Also, I’ve decided to just accept the fact that my photography skills aren’t great and post the pictures of my projects, as is. If I keep waiting until I get good at photography or have the time to stage perfect photos, I will never post on the blog. (After sitting in front of a computer for 10 or 11 hours a day at work, I can hardly bring myself to open my laptop on the weekends, let alone during the week; so I find I do all these DIY projects but cannot bring myself to share them since it requires sitting at the computer.)

Anyway, I hope you still like my abbreviated posts and real life quick phone photography.

Go find some cheap art and make it awesome.

Love,
Rachel

 

Painter’s Crush: Matt Adrian

Painter’s Crush: Matt Adrian

He’s been famous in the art world for a while, but I just discovered the incredible work of Matt Adrian.  I fell down the rabbit hole of his artwork for quite a while. Time well spent. I’ve got a new painter’s crush.

I have only heard the moon laugh once, and once was enough

I have only heard the moon laugh once, and once was quite enough

Boyfriend and I were in Portsmouth, NH, for some autumnal voyeurism (AKA looking at the changing leaves) and walked past an art gallery featuring Matt Adrian’s incredible paintings of birds. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go into the gallery because it was late at night and already closed. Boo. But I took a quick pic of the name of the artist so I could later look him up. And O.M.G. Love.

First of all, I really love animal art – most of my favorite art features animals. And bird art is no exception.

Nor'easters I have known and narrowly survived

Nor’easters I have known and narrowly survived

Second, his paintings are beautiful. The colors and compositions are just lovely.

Overdressed and Underappreciated

Overdressed and Underappreciated

Third, his paintings are not only beautiful, but they have clever and amusing titles. The titles are almost like little lines of poetry, but funny. Some of the titles left me actually laughing out loud. This is a link to more of his artwork, which includes all the hilarious titles.

Voyages of Discovery I wish to God I had Not Undertaken

Voyages of Discovery I wish to God I had Not Undertaken

Check it out. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Love,

Rachel


Out of my comfort zone: Tomato Red

Out of my comfort zone: Tomato Red

In my decorating, I’ve been sticking to blue, white and yellow. I know my boyfriend likes them, I know they look good together, and they are safe.  I would throw in more pink as often as possible, but that makes the man a little uncomfortable.

Here she is with nothing in her. Next to my insect poster.

Here she is with nothing in her. Next to my insect poster.

So when I started painting this cabinet for the kitchen a light teal color, I thought it would be fine because it was blue-ish and we generally agree on blue. I had rolled on one coat, and was starting on the second coat when he came out. He saw what I was doing and goes, “We’re painting it that color? I thought we were done with that color.”

And with that, we were on the way to the hardware to pick out a new color that we could both agree on. The deal was that I would buy the paint, and if I didn’t like it, he would buy replacement paint and the paint for the next thing that I wanted paint. I could live with that.

I wanted to go with a fuschia. I figured the kitchen was my space and so I would do what I wanted and get away with bright pink. But that apparently was not in the cards. After a lukewarm discussion in the paint aisle (I won’t say it was heated, but it was definitely not room temperature), I selected a bright red – bordering on pink and orange.  As the paint was being mixed, I was getting more and more apprehensive.

Doesn't she look nice with my aqua bowls?

Doesn’t she look nice with my aqua bowls?

I left the hardware store in a sour mood – really questioning this decision. There is nothing red in the apartment. It is not going to go with anything. I pouted the whole way home. But, boyfriend reminded me of the deal, and I sucked it up and tried to get excited.

Then, I thought about the great bedroom makeover from Kristin on the Hunted Interior – the one with the Kate Spade pallet of red, pink, aqua, teal and black.  I loved that room and it had both tomato red and lots of cooler blue tones.  I also thought about the bright red secretary and red drawers from Jenny at Little Green Notebook.  I swallowed my fear and started painting.

FIVE coats of paint later (ladies and gentlemen, buy the best quality paint you can when going dark. I didn’t even buy the cheapest and it still took FIVE coats to get the coverage I wanted), and I was in L-O-V-E. The color was soooo good. And sooooo bright. And so unlike things I’ve done before. Breaking my mold felt so good. I was finally liberated from my self built prison of white, blue and yellow. Finally, I was free to mix colors with reckless abandon (OK, maybe with just *more* abandon than I previously had done).

It’s funny, because in college and even when I was younger, I used to decorate with whatever pleased me. Things were usually super saturated bright colors and jewel tones, and everything generally went well together, even if it wasn’t exactly stylish. Somewhere along the line, I stopped just buying and selecting things I liked, but started selecting the things that I thought I should use. The result: I was fairly unsatisfied with my apartment – it felt pretty, but not very me.

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This kitchen cabinet is the start of something new. While I will still have to compromise to get the boyfriend to go along with whatever I am feeling, I have learned that following my gut instinct has the best results. While I was busy trying to please others, I wasn’t pleasing my boyfriend’s design tastes nor my own. Go figure.

We love the red. It’s fun and different and the start of a new era.

What do you think? What have you done decorating-wise that made you uncomfortable but turned out great?

Love,

Rachel

Painter’s Crush: Cy Twombly

Painter’s Crush: Cy Twombly

One of the problems of being in law school (aside from being in law school) is that I don’t have nearly as much time for crafting, painting, thrifting, cooking – basically all the things that I really love – as I used to. BUT I can spend a few minutes here and there looking at things online that I love. And then, I can present them you, my faithful readers, like I am some clever designer or museum curator. Then, you, my faiththful readers, can say things like, “Wow, Rachel over at Suits and Aprons really has great taste in (insert crafty/arty noun here)! Man, I wish I could have her over for a dinner party and we could discuss (insert same crafty/arty noun here). Then maybe we could go to Karaoke and Rachel would sing something awesome and we would be BFFs!”

All part of my master plan to Karaoke with my readers all over this great nation.

Anyway, I was surfing the interwebz when I discovered the incredible paintings of Cy Twombly. Wow! His stuff is incredible. (Click on any image to see it bigger.)

I mean, would you look at those colors? And how fast and loose Cy goes with the paint? All of these photos are from this website – which has a huge gallery of his work. Worth checking out. Not all of his work is as colorful as the ones I selected, but I liked those ones so much. Since I obviously love bright colors – no surprise there, faithful readers. I think that if I died and was reincarnated, I would like to come back as a macaw or a flamingo, or maybe a peacock (a male) because I want to be as bright and shiny as possible. Oooh – or an octopus: did you know octopuses can change color and texture? I would fit in anywhere!

Hope you like Cy Twombly. I am really digging his stuff right now.

Bright and shiny love,

Rachel

Giraffe Painting

Giraffe Painting

After rediscovering my love of painting, I sat down to paint a second time. I, apparently, am very into painting jungle/safari animals at the moment. Or just large mammals. Time will tell what the category of animals really is as I paint more.

Giraffe

One of my dear friends once commented on how I have a strange obsession with painting all of my furniture blue. As I post more photos she will comment on how I have a strange obsession painting XXXX-type animals. I’ll let you know.

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As usual, my photography  is mediocre. But, this painting, I assure you, is pretty adorable. It’s about 10″ by 12″ on canvas board in acrylic. Right now I am not into painting the backgrounds – I really dig blank canvas these days. I attribute it to my love of Matisse.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Giraffe as must as I do.

Love,

Rachel