I painted this today. Just a simple little baby name canvas with a couple of elephants.
But there were a few bumps along the way to this simple painting.
Now, normally you’d expect a bump or two, right? It happens to everyone, right?
Well, I have a confession to make. I don’t do ‘simple’ very well. Give me something complex, complicated, difficult, and I’ll find a way to figure it out.
But something simple? For some reason those projects always befuddle me.
I try to accept this about myself. After all these years of crafting, painting, being a chronic DIYer, I know that simple projects never turn out, well, simple.
I painted the canvas to match this bedding.
Brown, green and cream. And circles. Lots and lots of circles.
So I did a preliminary sketch, planned the colors, and figured it might take me an hour or so.
I basecoated the canvas with a medium green because the nursery walls are beige. I knew I couldn’t match the beige since I haven’t seen the room. So green seemed the right choice.
Then I chalked out the basic design.
Chalk works great because you can ‘erase’ with a damp cloth. Much easier than pencil or transfer paper.
Once I had the design chalked out, I taped off the border.
I carefully measured the tape on all four sides.
See my ruler? It’s clear. It’s large – 24”. It’s a fabulous ruler.
Then I meticulously cut the corners so I’d have clean edges.
Then a couple coats of Burnt Umber for the border . . .
. . . and the sides, so no frame is needed.
Then Bump #1.
I mean, really . . . how hard is it to see that I didn’t paint the green far enough to the edges?
Apparently, pretty hard. Even with a clear ruler.
I planned to paint these circles for the background. But knowing myself and my propensity to screw up simple stuff, I figured I’d paint green on green, rather than brown on green.
A soup can and chalk should work great to mark the circles.
I even ‘sharpened’ my chalk to get a good circle template.
But not sharp enough.
Plan B –
I’ll just cut out circles and trace around them. I’ll even do 3 at a time!
Nope. I won’t even go into why this didn’t work. But it didn’t.
So I grabbed the cap to my hairspray and just quickly drew some circles.
At first glance, they might look okay.
They weren’t. Not even close.
Since the circles overlapped in certain areas, I just dotted paint inside of the circles.
Not too bad. At this point, I actually fooled myself into believing I could pull off this simple little painting in record time and not miss NCIS, NCIS L.A., and The Good Wife.
I ‘whited’ out the large elephant and the letters.
Notice anything funny about the elephant?
Well, I didn’t.
So I added little circles to the ‘E’.
Then I added the elephant’s eye and then . . . “OMG! What is wrong with that elephant? He looks like a anteater!”
Not even an anteater. He looks like a deformed anteater.
Okay, so just add the ear, fix the head with some green paint. Not too bad.
On to the ‘L’. And Bump #3.
What would be cuter than a little brown plaid for a baby boy?
I’ll get back to Bump #3.
At this point I was still under the mistaken impression that this looked fine.
Pulled out my Sharpies and added some outlining.
This little guy looked like an elephant on the first try.
Okay. This might actually work!
I’m thinking I’m done now.
I take the canvas off the easel, prop it up on the mantel and stand back.
Remember Bump #3? The cute little plaid? That cute little plaid also makes it very hard to read.
You can see the ‘E’. You can see the ‘I’. But what is that plaid thing in the middle?
My paintbrushes are washed, my paints are put away, my camera batteries are recharging, and I just couldn’t take it.
I grabbed a brush, mixed some cream & brown together and went over the plaid.
It’s still sitting on the mantel and I’m still looking at it and I’m still trying to figure out what to do to it.
And now the 10:00 news is on.
Maybe it’ll look better in the morning.
I meet with the client @ 9 am. I’ll either leave it alone and see if she likes it, or try something else.
By then, my batteries will be recharged and I’ll be able to take another picture of my what-should-have-taken-an-hour-simple-but-not-simple-for-me painting.