DIY big art for a big wall

So, that huge stairwell needed “something”. Big art for a big space. I had some canvas left over from years ago, so it was just a trip to Bunnings to pick up some pine for the frames. The finished art was about 1.8m x 1.6m. It wasn’t until it was finished that I decided which way up it should hang. Then the pretty mammoth task to hang the thing. Scaffold was again invaluable, both for the portable massive easel in the (now) deck area, which allowed me to literally throw paint at the canvas, and then when measuring up the wall, working out the exact centre of the space available, I couldn’t have done it so easily without the scaffold.

First lay out your timbers and make sure you have enough canvas. I made my frames as big as the canvas I had available. Use a mitre saw to cut all corners, and measure twice or three times to make sure you get it right. When you get to joining them together, make sure the corners are all square. Use a square within the corners and then measure the diagonals of both corners, they should be identical, then glue and screw. I screwed through the corners, plus wood glue. The support brace timbers through the back were also screwed, stapled and/or glued. A heavy duty staple gun (which I just happened to have) is ideal for unloaded joints, and also for holding joints while you glue and screw.

Stretch your canvas, stapling from the centres out. Start mid way down a side, then the other side. As you’re stapling the sides, also stretch long ways so it’s stretched in both directions, height and width.
Finish off your corners so they are all folded neatly and both sides and tops match. Get the folds as tight as possible for a clean corner.
Then its undercoat and start painting. I wanted colours that were already in the house, then a splash of the blue, and white. In building up the colour I found a few tins of random paint that were going to be thrown out anyway, so they were thrown at the canvas to start the build up. The painting developed over several days as I’d leave it for a day or so to dry between coats. Some coats were applied together or only a few minutes apart, to allow the colours to run and play together. Occasionally I’d tilt the canvas to help the paint fall in a certain direction, and different paints and colours required different consistency, depending on what affect I wanted that colour to have. Many of the background or “build up” colours were more a wash for a subtle effect, but the top coats were much thicker to give sharp and contrasting splashes of colour. Applying a thick splash over another not quite dry thick splash, also gave interesting and I think, gorgeous textures. A mixture of oil based paints in the base, then water based paints over, again, created nice effects. Why buy something that will “do” (and $$$, plus shipping and huge hassle) when you can create something purpose made with the exact colours you want? It was a lot of fun.


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