Making art can be intimidating. Making art to display in your home? Even more so.
Until now. Today, I’m here to guide you step by step through the process of play to make a large, display-worthy work of art, in the unique style ONLY you can.
First. A permission slip. A pep talk. A you-got-this high-five from this self-taught artist, designer, and teacher.
You were born to create. Each of us was. If you doubt this, look to any small child lost in imaginary play, inventing invisible friends, painting with cake all over their tray. We were born knowing how to play, imagine, build, and dream. And somewhere along the way, life, rules, and self-doubt crept in and most of us have forgotten the simple fact that creating is what we were born to do.
There is no right or wrong way to create. No rules as to the best way to make art.
Today (and always, if you are open to it) there is only fun, and play, and joy, and taking risks.
You will make marks that are UNIQUE to you. Embrace this. They are your magic. Your superpower. Your creative soul seeping out in color and shape form.
And. At the end of the day, if you don’t love what you made, start again tomorrow.
I like a big, flat table surface to spread out all my materials and keep my paper flat.
I’m a fan of working neat, meaning identifying a place for each of your materials as you go. My standard setup includes watercolors to my far right, my brush and water to the top of my paints, the mixing surface to the left of the paints, and scrap paper below the mixing surface. This setup allows me to get into the flow of grabbing water, adding paint, mixing it on my surface, and testing it on my scrap paper before I ever make a mark on my large piece.
For a large-scale painting, I think it’s helpful to have some color inspiration as a starting point. It can be anything from the colors of a room you’re wanting to display your painting in, to an original piece of art you love, to a swoon-worthy image you’ve found on Pinterest or Instagram.
Once you’ve found a few points of reference for color, start to mix your colors to build your palette. Use your mixing surface to try out different hues from your paint set, and to even mix a few originals. Don’t forget to test each color on your scrap paper so you can see how it will look once applied to your original artwork.
Here, it’s helpful to work in about a 50% water/50% pigment mixture and mix more than you think you’ll need. Our canvas is quite large and will take a bit of paint to cover the entire area. While you can always mix more as you go, having enough on hand to start is a great way to ensure you stay in the zen of just painting.
Now, you’re ready to paint! When working on a large scale, I find it helpful to use some structure (more info below!) to get the painting started. At some point, you’ll start to see what you like and where you need to push your work and can veer off and do your OWN thing.
Yay YOU! You made art. You took risks. You made a mess. You made some happy marks, and also some space for calm and play and fun in your day.
That, my friends, is the TRUE masterpiece. Taking some time to express your creativity. Bravely and beautifully.
Jill Elliott is a creative consultant, strategist, and thinker constantly seeking inspiration and balance. As a writer, artist, and founder of The Color Kind she seeks to inspire others to live creatively every day. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her 8-year-old daughter and Goldendoodle puppy.
BY Jill Elliott - February 11, 2021
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.