Sunday, August 3, 2014



Step One: play tunes, always. if no tunes are available I’d recommend humming or whistling or seeing what kind of annoying noises you can make in general.


Step Two: Put on some SUPER-TRENDY, man-attracting, eye-protecting goggles and chop some 45’s with your miter. Plop some glue in there and nail her tight. You will need a clamp or these little handy corner holders. I got mine at k-mart for a buck a piece. I like to let it dry for at least a few hours (who-are-we kidding, I always rush things).

Step three: cut some canvas, be generous. Line up the grain and start by clamping one side and then pull and straighten and pull and straighten and pull and straighten, clamp some more, I think you get it…this part isnt fun, or easy. It’s even harder on the bigger canvases. Sometimes I sweet talk uncooperative fabric here. I swear it works. Or maybe you need to yell at it, whatever floats your boat.

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Step four: Cut any extra bulk away from the fabric and start stapling. I have a little hand held stapler from home depot that was 11 bucks and I feel like I could kill people with it. It’s strong and a little scary.  I have shot a staple through my fingernail before, not fun.

For the corners  you get extra points for making them need and tidy. I have no idea how to explain this to you. It involves a little bit of magic, the selling of ones left foot, all while blinking Morse code for a 17th century poem. I shall try to get a better picture-by-picture-corner-wrapping moment later.

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Step Five: Slap on some gesso. Gesso is basically chunky primer that pulls the fabric even tighter as it dries. It feels like a mixture of drywall plaster and paint. The goal is two or so layers of thin. I like to use a lot of brush strokes so it doesn’t have any visible  bumps or directional lines.

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Step six: Sand with light grit sand paper and admire the simple object that ate up quite a bit of time and effort so far. Ask yourself what you are doing in life and if this was indeed worth it?


Step seven: normally I’d start with some sketches or some sort of picture to reference but today I was in La-la land so I blocked on whatever I felt like. Instead of using a graphite pencil, which can be hard to cover up if you are doing lots of whites, today I just sketched with light tones. I like sketching in conte charcoal as well, it’s really easy to brush off if you make a mistake.

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Step eight: while I did the first layer in very bright primary tones I realized that I wanted earthier colors and a less winnie-the-pooh color scheme. I find that It’s easier to find these great in between colors if I give myself more time to mix. I add a medium  to slow down my dry time and keep a mist bottle of water to spray my tray every couple of minutes. It’s a simple thing but anyone who’s ever mixed their pallet and then realized it dried immediately knows the cruel punishment of having to mix it to match.

The middle stage is really a lot of blocking in your large sections of tones


Step nine:The final stage more or less working the highlights and contrasts in. I let it dry a while and gave it three coats of gloss varnish.


Step 10: Do a happy dance of your own design and sign the sucker .Woot!

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