I think that one of the most important decor elements in a space is artwork.  Most of my design decisions are shaped by my art collection; I often pull colour palettes and inspiration from my favorite pieces.  My home boasts a great mix of art made by family members (we’ve got some professional artists among us – lucky me!), inexpensive travel finds, and DIY projects.  Given my penchant for DIY and thrifty finds, I’m certainly not an art snob.  I think that you can find, or make, great art for any budget and I’ve framed everything from agate slices to a huge Hungarian embroidery – and you’ve already seen the Soviet-era posters I framed in my bedroom.

As much as I love those posters, they are such a departure from the soft, swirling abstracts that brighten many of my walls.  To help create a little cohesion between the rooms in my house – and to add more art, because why not? – I created a pair of abstracts to flank the DIY headboard in my master bedroom.

I love how they turned out and, let me tell you, painting these was a fabulously relaxing way to spend a rainy afternoon!  I love how they not only pull colour from the poster art, but also from other rooms in the house, helping to create that cohesion I’m craving.

  • Stretched canvas (or two)
  • Acrylic paints in your choice of colours
  • Mason jar filled with water to clean brushes
  • A few brushes in various sizes (try craft/art supply stores or even the dollar store)
  • Paper towel (to dry brushes or wipe up any spills)

I tried to capture the progression of these easy paintings in photos, but I promise you it was really easy – you could do this with your eyes closed (hey – that might actually be fun!). 

I started with blank canvas (found at any art supply or craft store) and built a base of brighter colours, brushed on with casual, vertical strokes. 

Then I layered in lighter shades and lots of white – blending in some areas, but letting the darker colours peek through in others. 

I moved around my canvas as I worked, stopping every now and then and taking a step back, seeing what it looked like from a distance, and making adjustments here and there.

Finally, I went back and added small, thin brush strokes of saturated colour on top.  This seems counter productive, but I wanted these paintings to have interesting depth and layers.  If you work with acrylic paints, like I do, you’ll find that you can paint over areas quite quickly.

I wanted the finished pieces to be subtle and to read like a pattern or textile to complement my vintage fashion posters – and I think I succeeded!  The narrow size is perfect on either side of the bed.

I think that I might want to build float frames for these paintings – like I did for this other painting in my home – but for now I’ll see if I like them unframed.  Another option is to paint the edges a contrasting colour (black would be perfect), to create the illusion of a frame.

Thank you for reading! Would you try this simple abstract DIY?


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