Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet Mural Maker & More, Week 20


Hi! How are you? I’m thrilled to be here at Type A today. My name is Colleen and I blog over at Mural Maker & More. As you can guess, I paint – a lot – but besides blogging about my projects I also share painting tutorials.

Now, before you run in the other direction, my tutorials are geared for people with absolutely no painting experience. None. Zip. Nada. Seriously! I’ve taught classes for years to non-painters and now I post painting tutorials. A lot. Along with all sorts of tips and techniques for painting.

Another thing about me is I like things that make life easy. Gadgets. Tools. You know how if you have the right tools projects are so much easier? Whether it’s painting, sewing or cooking – not that I’d know much about that. I pretty much stay outta the kitchen, except to clean. I leave the rest up to Hubs. {Yes, I know I’m lucky.}

So I’m all for anything that saves time and makes life easier. Have you ever thought a DIY project would be just SO simple, but it wound up . . . well, um . . . complicated? Me, too. I guess that’s part of being a DIYer, isn’t it?

Today I wanted to share a couple of ways to make a Fall Leaf Inset for a serving tray. I already had two trays that I scored at the thrift store last spring.

I painted this dragonfly on canvas for my mom in May with the intention of changing the canvas out each season.

And even though the temperature doesn’t feel like it today, the calendar says Fall is right around the corner.


First I cut 2 more pieces of primed canvas. I get mine on a roll but you can also get it in pads @ Michael’s in the art section or just get some cotton broadcloth at a fabric store and prime it.

It works, believe it or not. I’ve tried it.


Then I had to decide on a color for the background. I gathered a few ‘silk’ fall leaves, then some coordinating paints.

Having grown up in the ‘60’s I’m not a huge fan of orange, yet every Fall, here it comes again. And my trays are already painted turquoise. Not your typical Fall color.

But I figured, why not? Turquoise, Orange? Could I make the combo work?

Here’s where my first gadget comes in – a foam roller from Martha Stewart. I was fortunate to be in a group of bloggers that received a goody package from Plaid, who makes Martha’s new decorative paint line, and I’ve been wanting to test some of the tools they included.


I screwed the foam roller directly onto “Carrot” paint. Easy-peasy! The rollers also come with plastic bottles if you want to mix your own colors.

This made basecoating two pieces of canvas a snap!

One of my least favorite things in the world is cleaning my brushes. Ugh. And anything foam? Forget it!


Apparently Martha isn’t too keen on it either because she designed the foam roller so it snaps apart, making clean up a breeze.

Like I said, anything that makes life easier, I’m a player for. And what blogger doesn’t like sharing?

Ok. I figured a lot of you wouldn’t be too keen on painting some fall leaves. So here’s another option – decoupage some ‘silk’ fall leaves. Cool, huh?


First, remove the plastic ‘veins’ from the backside of the leaf.


Then you might need to iron them. But put a press cloth on the ironing board first ‘cause there might be some plastic still on the leaves.


I also used a press cloth on top too. It took a couple times to get the leaves fairly flat, but it worked.


I Mod-Podged the leaves onto the orange Carrot canvas. While I was impatiently waiting for that to dry, I wanted to play with another one of Martha’s tools.


She has a collection of striping brushes so I grabbed one to add stripes around the canvas border – in Plaid’s Azure Blue and Chestnut Brown.

Yeah, um, I couldn’t have just picked one color until I got used to the new tool or anything. No, not me.


And – Bam – right off the bat, I dipped in the wrong color.

As far as the tool goes, I’m not so sure it saves any time or not. You still have to be really careful about maintaining steady pressure, and it takes a while to know how much paint to load on the bristles.

Since I had two canvases, I thought I’d do the 2nd one with a regular ol’ paint brush.


Can you tell any difference? The one I did with the striper is on the right.

I had the same issues with the striper as I did painting stripes with a flat brush. You have to move your entire arm, not your wrist, to get a relatively straight line. Maintain steady pressure. And so on.

And you have boo-boo’s with either one. At least I did.

So here’s how I ‘erase’ paint. Wet paint, that is.


Take a clean, damp brush and carefully wipe off the boo-boo. Rinse the brush, blot on a paper towel, and repeat.


Works great to give you a clean edge, whether you’re using a fancy gadget or a regular brush. Just always have a clean brush and tub of water around. Kinda like a wet rag when you’re painting walls.

So the leaves were looking a little sparse. That, and I wanted to add some turquoise to the main body of the canvas.

Ok. I guess I coulda painted a turquoise maple leaf but somehow that just seems wrong. (I’m an artist, but not an abstract artist, okay?)


I thought about doing some grapes, but settled for berries. Blue berries. Not blueberries. Just berries that are blue. Not that I know of any fall berries that happen to be blue, but surely there must be some. Somewhere.


Really, I just wanted to try out this little foam pouncer by Martha. It’s actually for stenciling but I’ve used it once before for painting berries and it worked great.

I found I got a better circle if I dipped it in paint, then rotated it back and forth on my palette (read: foam plate), then apply it to the canvas and twirl it back and forth.


The foam slides right out of the holder making it super easy to clean. Gee, you’d think with all this time I’m saving I could spend some time on manicure. Sheesh!


When the berries were dry I added a stem with a few offshoots for leaves.


Then highlighted each berry with a little turquoise Azure Blue. Just for color. Just for fun.


Well, since we’re getting out of decoupage and into some painting, I decided to add some steps on each pic – that way you only have to look at the pics when you want to paint. That is, if you don’t want to decoupage some leaves on a canvas.

And I’m just sure you’ll want to paint once you see how uber-simple this is. {right?}


If you want to paint a leaf other than maple, I did some different ones here – with the pattern.


Just dab. Go ahead and cover the veins – you’ll still be able to see them at the end.


I used Barnyard Red, but you could use brown, orange, or any fall color you want. It all works.


Brush a light coat of Chestnut Brown all over the red and yellow. It’ll tone down the colors and they’ll blend nicely.

I also use a lot of glaze when I work. Either Martha’s or FolkArt Floating Medium by Plaid. They make your paint translucent so you can do lots of layers and it’s a lot easier to blend your colors too.


By ‘chisel’ I mean position the brush perpendicular to the canvas and skootch it back and forth to get the little points.

“Skootch”. It’s a technical term.

So is boo-boo’s, btw.

Right about now the leaves will look kinda blotchy. No worries.


Painting veins on leaves makes all the difference in the world.


Add two colors on your vein and you’ll look like a pro!

Now I have one canvas with painted leaves and one with decoupaged leaves. Both have a little border. Both have some berries. And both look . . . waaay too orange!

I loaded my brush with some glaze, picked up a little Chestnut Brown and smooshed a little outline around each leaf and the berries.

Still too orange. So then I started smooshing and pushing the glaze+Chestnut Brown all over the canvas.


Top – with glaze. Bottom – too orange.


To do the leaf outline, I sideloaded my brush. That happens to be an actual decorative painting term, btw. Oh, but first I had a brush-full of glaze, then I added the paint.

Makes it much easier to smoosh.


Better, but it still needs . . . something.

I looked in my Martha Stewart back o’ tricks and grabbed a couple more bottles.


Oh, you can’t see in this picture, can you?

Let me turn it into the light . . .


Glitter paint! “Fire Opal” and “Turquoise”. Just a little here and there and Pow! What a difference.

I’m not usually a glitter gal but then, I’m not usually an orange gal either.

And, yes, the glitter went on the decoupaged leaves too. Then I sprayed both canvases with a couple of coats of sealer to make them easy to clean and we’re good to go!


We could even use the serving trays for serving, instead of just eating on. If we wanted. I’m just sayin’.

One last thing – don’t set anything hot directly on the canvas, like, say a TV dinner. Put a hot pad down first or the canvas will curl up.

What? The TV dinner? Hey, he doesn’t always cook. And like I said, I like making things easy.

I hope I gave you some ideas for making an easy Fall project. Drop by and say hi sometime, ok? I do weekly painting tutorials as well as Santa’s Workshop every weekend with gift ideas and Christmas painting tutes.

Thanks again to Tammy for letting me hang out today at Type A today! I had a blast!

So what do you think? Do the orange & turquoise work? What are your favorite fall color combinations?

Colleen thanks for sharing your amazing talent with my readers!  It's been wonderful having you as a guest!


Donnie said...

She is so talented and sure made it look easy. I love both of the designs. I think her colors definitely worked and I guess my favorite fall colors are the reds and burnt oranges.


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