Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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How To Be An Artist in Umpteen Easy Steps

One day my brain, without consulting me, decided that the wall in our living room needed some Art.  No one else in the house cared one bit, but try telling that to my stupid, stubborn brain, which suddenly couldn't be convinced that the wall looked anything other than blank and depressing.

I looked on the interwebs, and was shocked to find out that most Art is pretty expensive.  You'd be hard pressed to pay less than 400 gajillion dollars for one of those paint-splattery Jackson Pollock things, and if you want something attractive,  the price just goes up from there.

No problem, though!  We can make our own art, and I'll show you how.

First you need to search for some old canvases that you painted years ago, hated, and threw unceremoniously down  the stairs into the basement.  Pair them with some pretty patterned cardstock and spray adhesive, and take a picture.

Slather the canvases with spray adhesive and, before you pass out from the fumes  (that part is important), cover your canvases with the paper.

It's time consuming, but at least it's ugly.

I'm gonna blaze through the next several steps, since they don't really matter.
  • Discover that spray adhesive doesn't stick to canvas.
  • Re-do the whole project, this time using Mod Podge.
  • Decide the papers need to "blend," whatever that means.  Paint over everything with a mixture of various craft paints diluted with more Mod Podge.
  • Smack forehead because you didn't fully adhere the paper to the canvas, so the moisture from all this paint and Mod Podge is making the paper bubble up and get lumpy.
  • Realize one of the craft paints you used was bronze and your entire project is now, in addition to being lumpy, also unintentionally metallic.
At this point you're so frustrated, the best thing to do is abandon the project for a period of six months or more.  Personally, I left two canvases hanging up crooked on the wall, one on top of the TV hutch, and another on the bench in our kitchen, but you can use whatever arrangement works for you.

If anyone asks, just tell them that this period of reflection is all part of the Creative Process, and/or advise them to cram it up their cram holes.

After you've cooled off and grown weary of visitors asking which one of your children made the art in your living room, it's time to gather your canvases and start over.  By now they're really dusty, but luckily the baby is finally old enough to help clean them up.

Allowing the baby to eat the dusty rag
while you take photos is optional.

This was from my artistic I Wonder If I Can Paint Circles period.
The answer was equal parts "Not really" and
"Why the hell did you want to paint circles, again?"

Under the dust and paper will be two quarts of dried Mod Podge.
Your baby is really going to have to put some elbow grease
into cleaning this mess up.

Note: I apologize that Maddie isn't wearing a shirt in these photos, but she was  wearing two pairs of pants, so I'm pretty sure it all evens out.
All those papers and bronzed lumps were too patterny (that's an official Art term - don't worry, you'll eventually catch on to the lingo), so this time you go for a more monochromatic look.  There are lots of gorgeous paint colors available; I selected something from my garage called "Kitchen and Basement Stairwell" because I thought it sounded homey and warm, and also because it was free and would blend in with my living room wall, thus making this horrifically stupid Art project almost completely invisible.

I get all my art supplies at Home Depot.

In your studio (aka breakfast nook) you no doubt have seventy other craft projects in various stages of half-completion.  DO NOT try to move them or put your supplies away.  An overturned wicker laundry basket on top of the already teetering stacks makes a perfect surface for painting.

Easels?  We don't need no stinkin' easels.

If you're an Artist like me, you were probably too busy thinking Artistic Thoughts to bother getting all the paper bits and clumps of dried adhesive off your canvas before you started painting.

As a result, at this stage your project looks like (to use another Art term) crap.

This is the point when most budding artists give up.  But don't despair!  The secret behind creating Real Art is not to make it look good,  but to make it appear as though it looks crappy on purpose.   We'll just call these bumps and rough patches Texture.

When the paint dries, hang your Art, which will require hammering approximately eleventy bajillion nail holes in your wall.  Then step back and admire your work.  You'll notice right away that your monochromatic canvases look less like Art and more like bump-outs to house oddly-shaped ductwork.

To correct the problem, grab some stamps and paint.  Slap some words onto your canvases - try to resist the urge to use any of the four-letter words running through your head right now.

Martha Stewart recommends cleaning your stamps
after you use them.
I am not Martha Stewart, in case you hadn't noticed.

Put your canvases back in place.  If your husband comes downstairs and says something like, "Why are there words on the wall?  Did I authorize this?" you might need to explain to him what you've been through to create these gorgeous masterpieces.  Feel free to make your language as Artistic as you like.

You can also offer, as I did, to change the words on the canvases to read "snark," "dorks," "wine-o-clock," and "shut the hell up."  He'll really appreciate having his opinion taken into consideration.

Now all you have to do is leave your Art up long enough that you don't notice it anymore, just like that giant purple crayon streak on your daughter's closet door that you keep meaning to clean, or any of the 12,000 things hanging on the fridge.  Ta-da - you're an artist!
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TNMom said...

LOL!! Hilarious and....uh crappy. It makes my day when I see a new post from you in the morning! Have a good day love!

EMily said...

You really can do it all, can't you?

Cat said...

Thanks. I kinda needed to laugh my butt off a little this morning. I decided that I needed to make art for the boys' rooms. Mostly because I wanted things with bugs for G2 and anything with bugs on it was pink and purple and I'm just not that progressive. So I bought about $40 worth of paint and canvas and wooden things that already had pink and purple bugs on them that I was planning on painting over in BOY colors. I put it all in one box to keep it all together and promptly left it on a shelf in the basement for 9 months. Now we are about to move out. Maybe I'll get it done for the new house? Nah. Probably not!

So the moral of all of this is that you are THAT much better than me because even though your art is just as crappy as my art would have been, had I done it, you at least did it. So that sort of makes you my one upper hero or something. Rock on Sister!

RobynHTV said...

Thanks so much! And yes, they are magnificently crappy, but I've already gotten to the point where I don't notice them, which is the best I could've hoped for, really. ;)

RobynHTV said...

The secret is to not care about the results - then, yes I can.

RobynHTV said...

Ha! Trust me, I have a lot more projects that aren't finished than are. Hell, I've been cleaning off the kitchen table for a year and I'm still only half done. ;) Hope you're feeling better soon!

Weavesgal said...

Thank you!! I can't wait to try this!! Snark! (Love your blog, btw!)

Kimberly said...

Could I use the word vagina?
I'd only keep it there until the boy child could read.

Marian said...

My husband doesn't even let me start doing art because he wants to eat off the kitchen table and he already lives in "my whole house is half-finished" hell in every other room. He's so demanding! To my credit, we ARE still able to sit on the couches at night and watch TV. (Well, at least one of them.)

RobynHTV said...

Thank you so much! But please, when people ask you about your Art, don't mention my name. ;)

RobynHTV said...

I very, very strongly urge you to use the word vagina. Send pictures. Of the Art. Not the other thing.

RobynHTV said...

I'm pretty lucky - not only can we not eat at the kitchen table, but he even added another "work station" table in the kitchen which I swore I'd move all my stuff onto so we could use the table for eating, even though he knew I'd end up using both tables. The clutter drives us both insane, but my oh my is it ever convenient. ;)

Unknown said...

I can't stop laughing or crying. This is so funny. I've had so many projects go this way. Your blog is a blast!

Anonymous said...

This is from my very first post. I think it fits here perfectly!:

A man comes to a woman’s house a little early to pick her up for their blind date. She lets him in & asks him to wait in the living room while she finishes getting ready. He notices several paintings (by an obviously untalented artist) & is intently studying them when she walks in. She sees him looking at the “art” & says, “Do you like them? I painted all of them myself.” He blurts out, “Oh, thank heaven! I was afraid you’d bought them!”

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms said...

I had someone knock on my window at car line asking me if I was okay because I was ugly laughing. SO Funny. And we are cut from the same cloth. Except my canvases had cubes. For real.

You have inspired me to chronicle the finishing of the chests of drawers in my garage. Good thing you caught me. They've only been sitting there for 4 months waiting for me to take action. Maybe knowing I can get a blog post out of it will get my fanny in gear. Yeah. Ellen

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

People often tell me that my house feels like an art gallery. I'm guessing it's either because I have exquisite taste in art or it's because I put exorbitant price tags under everything I have hanging in my living room. Including family pictures.

RobynHTV said...

Thank you so much! I'm relieved I'm not the only one. :)

RobynHTV said...

That IS perfect - I love it! What a great story; I'd sure like to be a fly on the wall during that conversation. ;)

RobynHTV said...

Cubes, really? We're some kind of artistic soul sisters!

Can't wait for your project post; knowing it's blog fodder is just about the only thing that inspires me to do anything. True story.

RobynHTV said...

People say that about my house, too, but it's probably because of the marble floors and numerous sculptures. Oh no wait, I'm thinking of the Louvre. I get those two places confused.

The Third Partier said...

Here is where I'm tempted to post pictures of the actual art we have hanging on our walls. Unfortunately, I don't think I can post pictures in your "Comments" section.

I love that the blog post gives you an opportunity to condense the whole story of the words on our living room wall into one five-minute read, thereby cramming months worth of gradual funny into one bite-size nugget of yuks. What I love even more is that you have the talent to do that.

Incidentally, I've also stopped noticing them. They really look much better in person than in the photos. Kind of looks like you took those with a wide-angle or fish-eye lens. Either that or our curtains are getting chubby.

Sorry kid, your mom doesn't play well with others said...

I screw so many things up its not even funny! I enjoyed knowing others do too, the laugh was a sweet surprise!

TNMom said...

I have a craft table against the wall in my dining room, so now...? TWO tables full of shit instead of just the kitchen table. Clutter FTW!

TNMom said...

Good thing you are freaking awesome at blogging it all. :) (Ok, I will shut up now.)

Stacie @ Snaps and Bits said...

Who knew you were so artistic? You can make anything hilarious Robyn! I might be partial to the whole wine o'clock idea, just so you know ;)

Anonymous said...

You make it sound so easy!

Thx for letting us know that allowing the baby to suck on the dusty rag is optional. So many people make that mistake.

Also where can I get a baby to remove all the chemical adhesives?

RobynHTV said...

That's my specialty - easy to ignore art. You're right though, it would be even funnier to show them in contrast to the rest of the art on our walls, most of which was done by Real Professional Artists in your fam, using Real Art Supplies not obtained at Home Depot, featuring things like Brush Strokes and Talent. ;)

RobynHTV said...

But we neeeeeeed two tables. How can I be expected to be creative with only one horizontal surface? That's sheer madness.

RobynHTV said...

Aw, go on now . . . I mean it - go on! ;)

RobynHTV said...

I'm just glad that in some small way I can use my ineptitude to help others. :)

RobynHTV said...

Thanks! I'm definitely doing wine-o-clock next time.

RobynHTV said...

People get so hung up on the details, like who has to eat the dusty rags and whatnot. I can send my baby over to help with your chemical adhesive removal, as soon as she recovers from her spray adhesive exposure.

Anonymous said...

My children are too old to eat dusty rags. And they simply refuse to peel off adhesive for me. Would it be acceptable to farm this step out to the local preschool? I really really need some new words on my walls. I was thinking "help me!" might be a nice homey phrase.

RobynHTV said...

I actually laughed out loud at that - "help me" is perfect! And surely there are some local schools you could force into child labor for your crafting - sell it as Community Outreach. They love that stuff.

Paige Kellerman said...

Cram hole! Did that need an exclamation point?....yes, yes it did! Because it's that awesome. I already stole "talk hole" from you and use it liberally in my daily life.

Marianne said...

Oh my gosh, I'm wiping away tears. I read all these blogs by women who make this amazing stuff and I feel all inadequate. Then I come here, and I find out how my stuff would like if I tried it. It's crappily beautiful. Love it!!

RobynHTV said...

I love that you use that! I thoroughly enjoy the fact that you can add "hole" to almost anything and make it sound like a bad word, though technically it isn't - I take full advantage of any loopholes I can find. :)

RobynHTV said...

You have no idea how much that made me smile. That's *exactly* what I was hoping for - it's WAY more fun to publicly display what an arse I am when it's making other people feel better. :D

BTW, "It's crappily beautiful" might be my future blog slogan.

Unknown said...

What a great idea: take a REAL craft project and make an absolutely hilarious post out of it!

RobynHTV said...

At least all that effort was good for SOMETHING, eh?

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