Monday, November 10, 2014

DIY Pixelated Heart Nursery Art

A nursery art paining how-to! Today's post is one of those very visual DIY paintings that you can pin to paint later. This pixelated rendering of a simple shape is an ├╝ber simplification of Chuck Close's work. Paint it for yourself or with a group! It's super easy and super fun.

Acrylic paints--three shades for each of the two color groups 
A square canvas, panel board, or paper 10"x10" or larger
Masking tape, preferably 1" wide
Flat 1" brush
Round brush, preferable a size 8 sable
Gel medium or Mod Podge for finishing

Simple steps: 

Mark off your heart. (Or fine, any shape you want!) It doesn't have to be perfect, but symmetry helps. If this sounds scary, Google up some clip art and print it for a quick stencil.

Tape away. I did not measure to do this painting. I ain't got time for that silliness. I used 1" wide masking tape and eyeballed the gaps between. Alternate your taping, working your way to the middle, from far left to far right to help your eyeballs stay fair in their estimation. 

Yes, half of your squares will be completely covered by tape. Not to worry. You'll paint those masked squares in a minute.

Choose contrasting colors. This painting is all about values--how light or dark a shade is. So the greater the distinction you can make between your heart and non-heart colors, the clearer. 

Paint the squares. Take out your flat brush. It should be roughly the same size as your squares so each one will just take a dab or two. To keep yourself from mixing up your values, focus on one color group (within the shape or outside the heart shape) at a time. Take your loaded brush and work sporadically throughout the piece so that you're not putting the same color in two squares next to each other. 

The beauty of acrylic paint--particularly those under-a-dollar tubes--is how quickly they dry. Once you've filled in all of your squares, you'll be able to take the tape off and fill in the masked squares. 

Your 9x9 piece should be completely covered in color now. 

Paint in circles. This is where the creative part comes in. If you'd like to keep your painting very clear, use the same color groups to fill in the circles. BUT... if you really want to have fun, change it up! I used reddish tones on the blues and violets. It wasn't a huge jump, but I love color too much to use a limited color scheme no matter how much I try. 

Repeat. More circles. You can even screw up the values as long as what's on top is true to the light/dark combo you started your painting out with.

Give it a glaze. Spread a light hand of gel medium or Mod Podge with a cheap brush or a foam brush to make the painting feel perfectly polished. 

Like it?

This project would be especially charming as a letter. Do I see a precious, hand-made baby gift in your future?

Let me know if you make your own! 
Keep painting,