upcycling paint

If you missed my last post about my process of salvaging wood and transferring images to wood, you can catch up here. If you don’t care about the process and only came to look at the pretty pictures, that’s okay, too.

Other than quotes and graphic design elements, I also like to transfer prints of my original acrylic paintings to wood blocks. To me, a piece of art on wood is infinitely cooler than ink on a sheet of white card stock. These pieces were all made from the same recycled pile as my salvaged quote pieces.

This first one is a print of my purple piano painting, which I like to refer to as ticklin’ the ivories. Don’t ask me why. I was just proud I actually came up with a name for one of my paintings. Far more creative than red skyline or blue guitar, don’t you think?

As you can see on this wood art piece, the transferred image doesn’t end up being an exact replica of the original artwork. I played around with the colors a bit in Photoshop. Also, some of the ink inevitably rubs off during the transfer process, giving the overall piece a distressed, vintage look (or as Kristen calls it…shabby chic). I currently have two sizes of this ticklin’ the ivories wood art available in my Etsy shop here and here.

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I stain the backs and edges of all my wood pieces in a red oak finish. I love how it brings out the detail of the wood grain and knots, as you can see on the back of red bridge painting print here:

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I told you I wasn’t usually very creative when it comes to naming my paintings. This one is from my acrylic painting of Memphis’s Hernando de Soto Bridge at sunset. Or sunrise. I’ll let it be whichever one you like better. This is available in my Etsy shop here (great Memphis gift idea).

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Then we have the red skyline/cityscape print (view the original here). If you can come up with a more creative name for any of these pieces, please do tell. This is available in my Etsy Shop here.

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I like how you can see the textured detail from the original painting—which is more noticeable in this close-up below—despite the fact this is merely a print transferred to wood.

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Last up today is the Blue Memphis Bridge @ Sunset. This is in my 2nd favorite of the paintings currently hanging up in my house (which you can see here). The original acrylic painting is spread across two canvases, so I had to work a little Photoshop magic to turn it into one print. This was initially painted a few years ago as a present for my sister when she lived in Nashville. Luckily, we now live together and share basically everything, which gives me the added bonus of having this piece now hanging up in my house. This item has already sold in my Etsy Shop, but I’ll definitely be making some more in the very near future.

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I’m hoping to post at least once more before Christmas (more wood prints or a Project 365), but if not…Happy Holidays to everyone!

– lindsey archer

 

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painting premiere

I get to start this post off with some good news, which is always nice. The paintings I’m about to show you, as well as the pieces I recently wrote about here and here, will soon (if not already) be hanging in an art gallery. Nicole from Allie Cat Arts approached both my sister and I on Etsy about showing some of our stuff at her gallery in our lovely neighborhood of Cooper Young. Located at 961 S. Cooper, the gallery is only two blocks from our house.

I’ve never had my work in a gallery before, so I’ll be honest. I am freaking out a little. It always feels good to have someone you’re not related to appreciate your art, though it still seems slightly unreal. Now, for those who message me on Etsy asking if I have a shop in Memphis, I’m one step closer to saying yes. Next time you’re in the Cooper Young area, please stop by Allie Cat Arts to see some of our work, along with the work of other great local Memphis artists.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about some paintings. These are the last of my first round of experimenting with gel medium I don’t know what I’m doing series. We’ll call it EWGMIDKWID for short. This is one of the first abstract skylines I painted using the mixture of gel medium and acrylic paint. While I like the coloring and the actual size of this canvas the best, the paint could have been thicker. I wasn’t quite sure what the gel medium would look like once it dried, so I was somewhat shy with slopping the thick, white, glue-like substance onto my canvas. What did I learn? Gel medium dries clear. I shouldn’t be shy.

For those who are wondering, these skyline/cityscape paintings are not reproductions of any actual skylines or cityscapes. I went more of an abstract route and painted random building shapes and sizes. We’ll call it Skyline à la Archer, as in it came straight out of my head instead of from a real picture. Or, you can use your imagination and pretend it’s your city and I painted this just for you. Regardless, I plan on attempting a few paintings that resemble real city skylines. Some day. Maybe soon.

This next blue skyline/cityscape is my favorite. Well, other than the big ass blue canvas, which happens to be remarkably similar to this one. Because I got over my shyness with using the gel medium, this painting is extra heavy on the texture. When I first envisioned what I wanted to accomplish by mixing gel medium with my acrylic paints, this is it. It only took me eight or ten tries to get it right. Not bad. Plus, I love how the yellows and blues ended up blending together here.

This last acrylic painting translated very well into a print, which I hope to add to my Etsy shop very soon. And unlike the skylines/cityscapes, this is an actual reproduction from a real city. While still slightly abstract, I modeled this painting off of the Hernando de Soto Bridge, which connects Memphis, TN to West Memphis, AR—via Interstate 40. I feel this bridge is an iconic part of my city’s skyline. I love creating art pieces around it, so I definitely have more Memphis bridges in my future.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these three paintings are now available at Allie Cat Arts. Fellow Memphians, if you’re in the mood to support some local starving artists, please stop by and take a look at all the great pieces Nicole has hanging in the gallery.

Up next is another Project 365 post. Stay tuned.

– lindsey archer

project 365 | days 175 thru 194

It’s been awhile since my last Project 365 post, so I thought I’d knock one out today to try and catch up a little. Instead of the usual 16 images, I’m posting 20 photos today. Bear with me. To catch up on all my Project 365 posts—starting at day 1—you can go here, scroll down to the bottom and select older posts (twice). Today we’re starting with Day 175. As always, click on images to enlarge.

Day 175, my sister and I decided to hold a preview party to show off some of our art before the Cooper Young Festival. How did we get people to come? We bought out Cosco’s wine supply. It’s crazy how excited people get over the prospect of free booze. Day 176, here was the set up in our library for our preview party. The wine flowed, as did some of our art. Win, win.

 

Day 177, my youngest nephew turned one. Whether he liked it or not, his older brother was more than happy to help him eat some of his birthday cake. Such a caring big brother, reminds me so much of mine. Day 178, Kristen and I have become obsessed with salvaging wood. We’ll be driving down the road and the second one of us spots a pile discarded on the curb, we yell out at the other to pull over. Immediately. It’s like a game of who can spot it first. Riding around with us is like being stuck with two people suffering from Tourettes. Except, with a limited vocabulary, because all we scream out is “Wood!” or “Palettes!” or in some cases, “DOORS!” It’s become sort of a problem. It does make great art, though.

 

Day 179, it’s a rare moment when our two animals can sit within inches of each other without fighting…like cats and dogs. I had to capture it before any eyes were scratched out. Day 180, first NFL football game of the fall had Eli Manning leading the defending Super Bowl champions to its first loss of the season. Very sad day for the Giants. I yelled at the TV. Multiple times.

 

Day 181, it’s not often my to read pile stands at only two books tall (both of which have been read by now). So, of course I had to go spend more money at Barnes & Noble right away. Talk about a problem. If there’s a twelve step program for people who spend their entire paycheck at Barnes & Noble, I need to join. The first step is admitting your problem, right? One down, eleven to go. Day 182, this is what Mulligan does when I ask him to pose for the camera. He can go from being an adorable cat to being a stubborn little shit faster than my crappy iPhone 3GS can snap a picture.

 

Day 183, opening football weekend for my beloved Mississippi State Bulldogs. We beat Auburn 28-10. War Eagle, what? And no, I don’t want to talk about the last two games where the Bulldogs apparently forgot how to play football. It’s too depressing and I prefer to block them out. Day 184, Kristen and I performed a practice run of setting up our Cooper Young Festival Booth on our back deck. Perfection takes practice.

 

Days 185 and 186, samples of some of my wood art for Cooper Young Fest. I was creating new pieces down to the final days before the Festival. I work well under pressure. It also makes me work very quickly. My fingers were raw for about a week from rubbing off all the excess paper from the ink transfers on the wood. Art is all about sacrifice.

 

Day 187, this is what I often see when I wake up in the mornings. In case you didn’t know, pets don’t care whether or not you’re a morning person. They also don’t care what time of day they wake you up. Crack of dawn? Sure. Three o’clock in the morning? Why not? Mulligan loves climbing on top of my chest at 6:00 am, his face inches from mine. He then emits the loudest purr known to his kind, so as to let me know he’s bored and in need of entertainment. Apparently, I live to serve him. Day 188, this was my response to Kristen when she texted me asking if I was ready for our Cooper Young Festival Booth in just two days. Obviously, I’m a natural rapper.

 

Day 189, remember Day 174’s photo of the day? The big ass blank canvas? This is a close-up of the finished product. Naturally, I completed it the night before the Festival. I’m a more talented procrastinator than I am painter. Day 190, our official Cooper Young Festival Booth, put together at the crack ass of dawn. Despite the fact it was an extremely long day, Kristen and I had so much fun with the booth, the festival…all of it. We can’t wait to have another booth next year. Thank you, again, to everyone who stopped by. And an even bigger thank you to all those who made a purchase. We hope to make the booth even bigger and better next year. Can’t wait.

 

Day 191, Maddie joined us in having a lazy Sunday after CY Fest. I haven’t been that tired in I don’t know how long. Still…definitely—definitely—worth it. Day 192, Monday Night Football with my boyfriend, Peyton Manning, and his new team, the Denver Broncos. 27-21, they lost to the still undefeated Atlanta Falcons. I may have cried. A little. It’s okay. My good friend, Justin, happened to be in town from Denver to watch it with me and brought me some bourbon to ease the pain after we finished off my six-pack. It helped. A little.

 

Day 193, Kristen and I packed up some wine to head over to our friends’ house to watch my other boyfriend, Matt Bomer, in his fantastic show, White Collar. If you have yet to discover the awesomeness that is White Collar…I feel sorry for you. You are depriving yourself of perfection. Day 194, I was one of the first to take advantage of the new Twitter profiles. I know. I’m so tech-savvy.

 

And that’s 20 and done. I still have 50 photos to get thru before I’m even close to being caught up, so check back soon for another few Project 365 posts. Until then, pray with me that my Bulldogs remember how to play football tonight against LSU. Go Dawgs.

– lindsey archer

a little rock, a little roll

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the abstract skyline paintings (you can go here if you missed it), I’ve been experimenting with adding gel mediums to my acrylic paints.

This first painting shown here is my least favorite. So, let’s get it out of the way first. The colors didn’t exactly turn out how I pictured them in my head, which happens more often than I’d like to admit. Sometimes, I’ll think up something in my head and when I try to render that to a canvas, the picture gets lost in translation. Naturally, this means it is everyone else’s favorite. My sister loves this white guitar and isn’t happy about my desire to sell it. Oh well. It’s for sell in my Etsy shop here.

I like the blue abstract guitar painting much better than its white cousin. I think the blue colors make more of a pop. As an artist, I don’t choose colors or shapes that particularly mean something to me. I didn’t paint this blue guitar because I was sad and it represents a certain blah blah period in my life. I simply purchased some new blue paint I thought was pretty, so of course I wanted to try it out right away. I’m not one of those artists who bleeds thru their work, not that I’m knocking on them. It’s just not my process. I paint because I like to add colors to canvases and see what I can make from them. I enjoy it. It’s a hobby. Does that make me less authentic of an artist? I hope not.

This blue abstract guitar painting is available in my Etsy shop here.

This next guitar painting was a work in progress. While I completed my skyline and other guitar paintings in one sitting, this one dragged on for a few weeks. It was my first guitar attempt and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted it to look like. The background is loaded with colors, a few paint layers thick, simply because I couldn’t decide what I liked. After each layer, I’d take a step back and…I wasn’t feeling it. So I added some more paint. And some more. And then I said screw it and left it on my easel for three to four weeks. If you follow my Project 365 posts, you’ve already seen this canvas twice. Click here to see it in its first incarnation, from blank to first official coat of paint. 30 days later, I finally added the top coats and the guitar. At least it didn’t take me as long as my trolley painting. It turns out, these final colors compliment our living room perfectly—where the painting is now hanging.

Considering my sister is obsessed with the color purple, she freaked out a little when she saw this abstract piano painting (can you tell I like painting abstracts?). This was actually my first attempt at using gel mediums on the background. I didn’t use quite enough, which is why this background doesn’t have quite as much texture as my other skylines I wrote about yesterday. I still like how it turned out. I grew up playing the piano, so I couldn’t paint a guitar without painting this one. One day, I will own a baby grand. One day.

That’s all for today. Not all of these are available in my Etsy Shop, but as soon as I figure out a cheaper way to ship large canvases, I’ll be sure to add them.

Oh, and today is my wonderful sister’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Kristen! Everyone pay a visit to her latest blog post, where she shows off her beautiful Memphis Letters photography print. Or you can just skip straight to her Etsy Shop and buy one. Do it. Don’t fight it. Just let it happen.

– lindsey archer

painting the town

Before Cooper Young Festival, I went on a painting frenzy. While I’ve painted for years, these paintings shown below are my first attempt at working with a gel medium and palette knife. Now I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to paint without them.

If you’re not familiar with gel mediums, they work to help thicken up your existing acrylic paint. I then used a palette knife to add in some details (like the windows of the buildings), which added to the overall texture of the painting. My experimenting resulted in these abstract skylines/cityscapes over water, in front of a sunset/sunrise. This blue painting is currently for sale in my Etsy Shop here. As always, click on images to enlarge.

For my second attempt, I switched up the coloring for a warmer sunrise/sunset. This one is also available in my Etsy Shop here.

For all my paintings, I cover the back with acid-free brown kraft paper for a clean, professional look. I also add hardware for easy hanging, like the sawtooth hanger below.

I have more paintings to post this week, so check back soon!

– lindsey archer

pin this, part 1

I believe I’ve mentioned how much I love my new house. Yes, I moved in during the first week of last October. Regardless—until I’ve lived here for at least a year—I’m going to continue to refer to it as my new house. After said year of living, it will simply convert to my awesome house. Because it is. Awesome.

My sister, Kristen, and I searched for months. Long. Grueling. Months. It was sort of like torture. We saw carpeted monstrosities, duplexes complete with small, whiny, loud children as neighbors, apartments without dishwashers…we were sure we weren’t going to find anything, especially with our list of must-haves and can’t-live-without’s and absolute deal-breakers that seemed to multiply with every wrong house we viewed.

And then, after months of looking, we fell in love. Perfect neighborhood? Check. Perfect house? Check. Just about all of the must-haves and none of the deal-breakers? Check and check.

Before moving in, we actually had the silly thought we might not have enough stuff to furnish the new house. Clearly, that was a moment of stupidity. We filled up a 3-4 bedroom U-Haul, in addition to a few carloads. Add that to all the extra non-essential crap we’ve bought since October, our house is officially FULL. We’ve decided we’re done decorating. No. More. Crap. Which is why we’ll probably go antiquing again this weekend.

With that said, I thought it was time to post some pictures. It’s kind of long-winded, so if you only want to look at the pictures and skip all the cool words, that’s totally okay. I’ll forgive you.

Meet our new house, part 1 (you can click on the images to make them slightly larger):

This is our house. Our beautiful house with the lovely front porch that has absolutely nothing on it. Yet. We plan to remedy that by this summer (See? We’ll never be done buying crap). Right when we moved in, our older brother surprised us with a fantastic David D. Lynch abstract print of our new neighborhood, Cooper Young. We have it hanging up right as you walk in the door.

This front living area is the first thing you see inside the front door. Kristen and I found this green couch on consignment at a local furniture warehouse for only $100, so we have no idea who’s actually slept on it before. Though, other than the under-lining Maddie’s teeth have taken a shining to, it’s in great shape. A bunch of our other furniture are pieces we’ve inherited from our parents (A.K.A. confiscated from their attic with their reluctant permission). Since she had two, my mother gave each of us an antique, cedar chest (Kristen’s seen above, repurposed as a coffee table). My mom also let me temporarily use her old, antique, SINGER sewing table. I love it, so I’m not really planning on giving it back anytime soon. Nothing in this room really goes together, yet it all somehow goes together.

I promise we’re not vain, but we do have a lot of mirrors in our house. Strange men appear in them and tell us how we’re the most beautiful residents in all of Cooper Young. They also open up smaller spaces and make every room look bigger. Plus, now there are plenty of places for our friends to check for food stuck in their teeth when they come over for parties. It’s a win-win. When we were in Nashville a few months back, a friend of Kristen’s referred us to a hotel furniture liquidator warehouse. It smelled like old people and mildew, but it is where we got both of these mirrors for under $15. Ridiculously cheap. Ridiculously worth the old people smell. Now, as a writer I may be biased, but one of my favorite things in the whole house is on top of this sewing table—a vintage Underwood typewriter that belonged to our great-grandfather in the early 1900s. This was also one of the great finds from my parents’ attic that was dusted off and given new life. I used it to type all 124,000 words of Jaded (no I didn’t).

Our house is technically a four bedroom house, though we consider it a three. We repurposed one of the bedrooms as a media/TV room since we didn’t need two extra bedrooms. Plus, it has french doors. Who wants see-thru doors in their bedroom? Weirdos. As you can see on the wall to the left of the room, I love that we finally had a place to hang our masks that we bought from Maui last year. They’re hung right above where Maddie’s face is photo bombing the top image. Our house also features a ton of my art. A friend who stayed in our guest room recently referred to the house as an art gallery. The Memphis Bridge painting above my mother’s antique desk in the right picture is one of the first paintings I made for my sister while she lived in Nashville. Sort of so she could have a piece of Memphis while she was there. As for our furniture, my sister and I redid a lot of the pieces in our house. In the media room, for the side and coffee tables, we bought some teal paint and distressed each piece (our dad’s favorite word) and added two decorative knobs from Anthropologie to the side table since the handle we bought didn’t fit the weird size of the two holes in the drawer. We improvised. The two tables were rendered unrecognizable. It’s amazing what a little paint and sanding can do.

The trolley painting in the media/TV room practically took me as long to paint as Jaded did to write. Unlike most of the paintings I do (in one sitting), I painted the trolley in bits and pieces. It took me forever. My friends made fun of me a lot, wondering when—if ever—it would be completed. I can’t remember how long it sat on my easel with the background finished and a big white space looming in the middle, waiting for me to fill in the trolley. Because of that long, grueling process, it gets a prominent spot in the house.

Here’s my cedar chest that desperately needs refinishing (hence why it’s covered with pillows). As you can see, this cityscape is substantially larger than the trolley painting, yet took me less than a day to paint. I surprised my sister one of the first weekends she traveled out of town by having this hanging up when she got back home. It’s a mash-up of the Memphis and Nashville skylines (since she lived there for about 7ish years before moving back with me in Memphis). Another aspect I love about this house is the lighting. It has recessed lighting coming out its a…you get the point. It’s wonderful. The black grate in the floor is the dungeon where I trap my sister when she pisses me off or parks behind me in our narrow driveway. Don’t judge. There are holes for air.

Can you tell we’ve recently become obsessed with lanterns? I can’t get enough of them. Every time I see one in a store, I feel like I have to have it. Plus, I sometimes let my sister use them when I banish her to the dungeon. Sometimes.

More lanterns. Another magic mirror. After moving home from college, I found this mirror wrapped in a blanket in my parents’ attic. They didn’t even know it was there. They couldn’t remember where it had come from—like a magic mirror stork had dropped it down into their attic. I took it upon myself to paint it black (the stork dropped it off in an ugly, chipped gold color). It’s really heavy, in case you were wondering. The faux buffet below it is actually my antique, cherry wood dresser I had growing up, handed down to me from my grandmother. Sitting in a dusty attic for four years (while I was away at college) had it in pretty bad shape. Pealing sections of stain, scratches up and down every surface. We applied a fresh coat of black paint to match the mirror and distressed it with some sand paper (can you tell we like distressing furniture?). Instead of forking over a fortune on new handles, we painted the original ones to match the walls of the dining room. My mom didn’t recognize the dresser the first time she saw it after we transformed it. Seriously. Re-doing furniture is way easier than most people think.

Here are some of the random knick-knacks & knooks in the dining/kitchen area. We found the brown shutter discarded in a corner of our creepy midtown basement, added a teal Anthropologie knob and Voila! Instant art piece. The black wine rack is on loan from my mother’s best friend. Maddie loves to poke at the wine glasses with her puppy nose in her sad attempt at playing the bells. She’s not very good at it. I told her to keep practicing. And I’m not sure our parents agree, but we find the wooden word block hilarious.

I. Love. This. Kitchen. It has everything my old kitchen didn’t. Tons of counterspace. Pendant lights. A bar. TONS of cabinet/drawer space. Outlets everywhere. Huge double-door pantry. Wide open to the rest of the house. Recessed lighting galore. I love cooking in here, even though I don’t really cook that much. I keep saying I’m going to cook more. Then I remember that I’m lazy.

I love my house. I love most of the rooms in my house. This is—by far—my favorite. I’ve spoken about it before. It’s what my sister refers to as our Beauty and the Beast Library. Totally identical, right? One full wall of bookshelves, complete with a winged-back reading chair I found at a local antique warehouse for about $30. It’s like heaven—bottled up into a room. Though, my cat gets more use out of the room than I do, considering I’ve only actually sat and read one book here. Mulligan uses the chair as a scratching post and the bookshelves to play his own game of keep away from Maddie. Screaming at him to stop doesn’t deter him.

This is one of two side tables we redid (the first was in the front room). We merely painted them white and sanded down the edges/grooves. I wish I had a before and after for you. They went from drab/cheap looking to shabby chic. I only lost a few layers of skin to sand paper in the process.

I own a lot of books. Physical, hard-cover books. None of that e-reader crap. I buy all of my books because I don’t know the meaning of due dates at the Library and am always surprised when I go there and all of a sudden owe $70. I thought libraries were supposed to be free? In the long run, it’s cheaper and better for my stress level to pay for the books up front instead of taking them out on loan with no intention of ever remembering to return them. Speaking of, I just recently purchased three DVDs from Redbox.

While I’m sitting in my reading chair, reading life-changing, challenging, literary masterpieces like Twilight, this is my straight on view (when I’m not distracted by my dog tapping out SOS messages with her body against the glass back door). We found this mantle down the street at Gary’s Antiques for $40. It was dirty, white and beat-up. I added a light coat of teal paint and then we broke our backs sanding it down by hand on our back deck. Attach a piece of plywood covered in chalkboard paint to the back of the opening and you have yourself a new, large writing surface for guests to leave messages. For accents, we used empty wine bottles as vases and a set of mason jars we found somewhere for $7, full of fake apples from Target. The print in the frame is an original photograph taken by my sister.

And, next to our mantle chalkboard, we have the illustrious easel. It’s where the magic happens. It’s where I turn blank canvases into works of art. Except those two. They’ve been sitting there since I moved in last October. I have no idea what in the Hell to put on them. Until then, they’ll sit there all crisp and clean and waiting for inspiration. Maybe I can incorporate the thin layer of dust that has settled on them into some sort of mixed media piece. Only time will tell.

And, that’s part one of my new house. Are you in love, yet? What’s your favorite room? I’m sorry. You can’t have it. We have a state of the art security system, so don’t think about breaking in and stealing anything. That alarm will seriously break your eardrums before the police show up and break your face.

All the photographs you see here were taken by my lovely and talented sister and roommate, Kristen. She just started her own photography blog HERE. Sometime today, you’ll be able to see images of her room there, too. She’s about ten times funnier than me, so it’s worth a look or two. Or ten.

I have more pictures to show you. Next up…you get to see where I sleep. That sounded much creepier written out than it did in my head. My bad. Stay tuned!

– lindsey archer

UPDATE: Kristen’s blog is now up with more pictures of the house. See it HERE.

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