Google+ Nine Red: How-To: Black and White Brushstroke Art

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How-To: Black and White Brushstroke Art

After we had whitewashed the fireplace, and painted the living room, it was time to add some visual interest to the fireplace wall.  I thought about doing fabric wall scrolls with a nice modern print, but worried it might be too busy. Perfect timing: I had seen this awesome black & white brushstroke art over at the Hunted Interior, and knew this was the project I was searching for:
Aren't those lovely.. I'm a mega fan of abstract, and the black & white contrast is really clean & modern.  
Since we wanted to incorporate more modern elements into the house, I showed these to Ralph & he was totally on board.  Luckily, we had everything on hand (I always keep canvas around!) & were able to start. This project is so easy, and so fun!

  • Canvas
  • Black & White Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Plates
  • Old Towels to protect the work area
Lay out your supplies. So, you'll notice our white is sort of grey, and that's because we were fresh out of white (gasp!) and figured grey would look good too. And it does!
This was an indoor, Sunday night project.  We were craving creativity, but didn't want to commit to anything major. This took, about an hour?

Paint the canvas solid white. We could have left them blank, but I knew you'd be able to tell they just weren't painted, so we took the extra time & paint them. It was like five minutes, my impatient self had to just calm down.

Once that's dry, put a little black paint on the plate (You won't need much) and just dabble the brush in. Barely tap it. You want to start with a DRY brush technique, until you get the hang of things - meaning, not globbin the paint on, but spreading small amounts so you get all those awesome brush strokes in there.

Then without thinking too much, just start making strokes on the canvas.
Have fun with it! Ralph, being a natural perfectionist, was worried he'd have trouble with the randomness aspect.  But once he got in there, he really let go! Go to town, the key is ... well to not have a key. Just go!

Here's mine:
This was so fast & fun that we wanted to keep going, so we set these aside & went on repeat:
It's so interesting to see the differences. Mine, are on the right - and Ralph's on the left. We thought it would be neat for us to each do two, and each set would frame the fireplace.  

Now hold up right here - have you ever heard of Pareidolia?  It's when you see faces in things. And we were seeing quite a few faces in our work! This was so fun, we had a blast pointing them out to each other. The most obvious is on the lower right canvas, what do you see? We both clearly see some sort of Samurai face.  And on the right? All I see is the two canvases together form and image that looks like an artistic half shot of Kermit the frog... haha, see the eye on the top left? The craziest part is that I painted the two separately, as in - wasn't even looking at my first one. And they look like they were done together, weird!

Everyone seems to see different things, and these are so fun to just stare at.  This part here, I think looks like an ear....
Here they are up on the wall:

Oooh - spoiler alert, you'll notice a project in this next shot I haven't blogged about yet:
The rocks! Soon, I promise - I need to get more for the back then I'm done. And if you're wondering what's up with the glass on the stove, it's wrapping paper.  I cleaned the glass but inside the fireplace wasn't cute, so I cut a piece of nice gift wrap to fit it for now. Hey, we aren't using it, so why not?

Anyway, back to the canvases - I think I might rotate these throughout the year, so we'll see all new things in them. It's fun to just lounge around on the couch, look over and shout out what you see.  "Is that a hummingbird sitting on a Scottie dog?" Why yes... yes it is.

I strongly urge you to try this out. If you think you can't do it, then that's a sign that you must do it.  You'll love it, I promise.  If you like the look that is...

Oh! Happy Birthday to my sister Amanda!


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More DIY Wall Art Posts:  
Tape Canvas Art Tutorial-006
White Wash The Fireplace Thumbnail
Tree Canvas 18 x 24

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