Art Wall Evolution

Dear Auntie Moonbeam

It all began with this painting:

Ahhh...Cuba!

Ahhh…Cuba!

I bought this directly from an artist in Cuba (word to the wise, always always always buy direct from the artist – if you buy from a dealer in a marketplace chances are the actual artist is only seeing a fraction of the money.) It might sound cheesy but this painting changed my style completely. Up until that point I was all about muted colours, soft tones and gentle schemes.  You know – playin’ it safe. Then I went to Cuba.  A country full of people unafraid of colour.  They are filled with unapologetic joy and verve and it’s reflected in a riot of hues.  The houses, the cars, the clothes, the people – everything.  It’s impossible not to be infected or affected by that kind of attitude.  Not to mention their DIY approach to every-damned-thing! That wanton spirit is reflected in this painting.  Look at those colours – do you think that building is purple in real life?  Well, okay, maybe ’cause it’s Cuba it might be.  But what I love is the abandonment of reason to colour.  Why shouldn’t the building be purple? It’s like when we were kids and we’d draw with whatever crayon was our favourite colour.  Then some well-intentioned adult came along to tell us that chickens weren’t actually green.  Where’s the fun in that? Reminds me a of a great quote I came across recently:

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then you hit puberty and they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the “creative bug” is just a wee voice telling you, “I’d like my crayons back, please.” (source)

Seeing that painting was a wake up call to my senses.  And I realized –

I want my damned crayons back!

Naturally when I brought the painting home and propped it up against my olive walls over my beige couch it clashed horribly.  It was like a hanging Warhol in front of Constable – something wasn’t working…. But now that I’m in a new place it’s a clean slate.  And I have this problem wall…

Art Wall Before

That’s a whole lotta beige….

Look at that thing – it’s huge!  And it changes levels.  What the heck do you do with that?  As you can see from  my little orange squares I briefly considered painting it a bright orange.  Fortunately I came to my senses after I did a few test swatches.

A crisp white background makes a world of difference

A crisp white background makes a world of difference

I left the swatches up for a few days to try to get used to the colour.  I even glued a few things up to make a grouping. And then something strange happened.  I began to see an evolution.  This wall could become my own personal art gallery.  I could rotate content in and out depending on mood.  I didn’t have to create logical groupings of three.  Or perfectly aligned prints.  This could be a messy, ongoing experiment in colour, shape and texture! Thus began the evolution…

The gathering of stuff...

The gathering of stuff…

Adding small art projects.  This is strips of a magazine glued to a canvas

Small art project – strips of magazine glued to a canvas

More evidence of my love of paint chips - note to self: add more glue to back of paint chips!

Indulging in my love of paint chips. Note to self: must add more glue to back.

What better place to hang my kid's art?  And treasured cards from friends?

What better place to hang my kid’s art? And treasured cards from friends?

Which brings us to how the wall looks today.  The key word there is ‘today’.  Check back tomorrow and I may have added a large wooden sign.  Or a map.  Or handprints.  I dunno!

The Art Wall in Evolution...

The Art Wall in Evolution…

I’ll leave you with another great quote, this time from Georgia O’Keeffe.  This one I liked so much I wrote it out with dry erase markers onto a dollar store plate and hung it on the wall (’cause I’m classy that way).  You can just make it out in the above photo (check the lower left corner).

You said it Georgia!

You said it Georgia!

Update: Check out the latest addition to the Art Wall – Pixelated Flower Art! Update: Check out my tutorial for making the white & pink glitter clock.  Hint: It’s an Ikea hack!

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12 thoughts on “Art Wall Evolution

  1. You’ll have to get to Sante Fe, New Mexico. I’ve heard it’s so inspirational. One of our
    gallery owners in Calgary has a home
    down there. When you talk of being inspired
    by the colours in Cuba, it made me think you’d also like New Mexico. I love your idea
    of the wall being a focus for your changing
    art and inspirations. What fun!!

  2. I still dream of a brand new box of 64 crayons! Great quote. I think that’s why I love to keep part of my wool stash out on a shelf spilling out of a basket.

  3. jes bec, this is awesome. I love the randomness and constantly changing design. You need to come to my classroom, it has a similar feel to it. Every piece of wall space is covered with words or pictures or both together. At last count I had over three hundred words and pictures pasted up there.

  4. I just love your blog. Did you hand sketch that floor plan under your Apartment Tour? I love it!

    I love that magazine chevron art piece. So colorful and awesome! What a great inspiration piece the Cuban painting is. Terrific jumping off point for the whole art wall :)

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