Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Paint by Numbers Mural, a 'how-to'



So, I thought I'd talk a little bit about the paint-by-numbers mural I recently did in Redding's room.  I'm so bummed I didn't get better pictures along the way, the pictures I do have were taken at night (bad lighting) and by my iphone.  But, that's ok, I can still explain my process.
Ok, so secret, the graphing-it-out method is actually how I've always done most of my paintings.  I've especially found it important when painting portraits that I want to turn out looking exactly like the person I'm painting. 
 I'm not going to lie, I actually thought I invented this.  Seriously. When I was young (maybe high school?) I found out many many artists used a projector to get their image on the canvas.  I considered this cheating, but was still jealous of the preciseness in their results.  And that is when I invented* the idea to graph out my image on to the canvas.  It wasn't until a painting class in college when a professor so casually suggested we project or graph our images that I realized I was a complete ego-maniac and duh, everyone else did this too. 

Of course easier than graphing it out would be to project your image.  If you are someone with absolutely no artistic skill, I think you could still successfully do this by projecting your image and getting someone at the art supply store to help you with paint colors and mixing. 



I printed off my image a drew a graph on it.  I then drew a corresponding graph on the wall.

After the graph was drawn I went square by square drawing in the image.  When you are drawing in each square, it's best to not think about your entire image, but just see the specific shapes that are in that square. (I say square, they are really rectangles ... but you get it). 
I attempted to actually number my colors, but got sick of it pretty fast and decided to just eye it.  However, if you are a person who will be nit-picky about your colors being an exact match, I suggest numbering them and doing all the whites at one time, blues at one time, etc.  
A useful thing would be saving your mixed paint in some kind of tupperware.  That way if you have to leave the project in the middle of painting, you wont have to mix the color again to exactly match what you have already done. 


I spent a lot of time painting over colors I had already painted. Just because I didn't like the way it looked once on the wall.  You can see an example above and below in the shadowed sails. I went from a light purplish pink (which was more true to the original image) to a dark greyish purple.




ok, yay! does that make sense? Neither writing nor explaining things are a strong suit of mine, so I imagine trying to do both came out a little rough. But let me know if you have any questions and I'd be happy to answer them! 
You can see Redding's room here.
<3
andrea


11 comments:

  1. You've done a fantastic job explaining the project - I actually think I would be able to do something like this (on a MUCH smaller scale)! Thanks for this post! And I LOVED your masks - that's two things for me to try from a blog I just discovered!

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    1. oh yay! you'll have to let me know how they go!

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  2. That is GORGEOUS! So so cool :)

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  3. This is stunning! And I think you did a fabulous job explaining the project.
    -Maggie

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  4. Wow, this is awesome! I love it, great job. :)

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  5. You totally made me giggle with the whole "invented" thing. I actually have equivalents. Ha! I adore this so much. Aaron and I used to have a furniture collection years ago. Painted furniture, and we did PBN tabletops. I love the idea of it on a wall. I think we may have to do something as we move along in our post hurricane sandy renovations. You did an amazing job. ������

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    1. What!?? That sounds so awesome! you guys are just the most creative couple, it really inspires me. John and I are still learning how to create together ... our processes are just so different, and I don't work well with others. But, we're getting there :)

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  6. This is just SO awesome! You're so talented!

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  7. This is seriously and truly one of the coolest things I have EVER seen in my whole life. I kid you not. (And I totally thought i had commented already :-/). I think you could make a mad fortune selling the graphs/paperwork for people to make their own paint-by-numbers-mural. It's definitely something I'd love to do, and would save to pay for help with #justsayin. You are just utterly too cool. love love love this.

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  8. Hey, I was just wondering how long this process took? This is amazing, I might try one myself :)

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