Ugly art re-do for less than $10

I got an OK mark in School C art, but I am by no means an artist. My sister totally snapped up those genes. That’s probably why I’m proud as punch of this re-do. It’s got a lop-sided smile and is hardly earth-shattering for originality, but my daughter thought she was pretty special getting her own painting in a gold frame. The cheap frame, left-over paint and the sharpie brings this project in at less than ten bucks according to my scientific calculations. That’s my main message here, don’t be scared to try. If it all turns to custard, you’ve lost ten bucks. If it works, you get a large scale art piece and your kid will think you are super-clever.

Lesson one: Frame First

I wanted something large-scale, but all the prints I loved were rather expensey, even before the framing cost got factored in. So I decided to approach it frame-first, art second. I scoured Trade Me (again), and scored this rather “interesting” looking piece for $4:


Art is in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure some-one may find this charming but I found her expression really smug and I’m not a fan of this style. Plus, with a $4 price-tag I didn’t feel like I was trashing a family heirloom or anything.

First I painted over the entire image (which was just a print by the way) with house paint. I wasn’t after a perfect finish, which is lucky because I was obviously sleep-deprived when doing this one. The white background is ‘rustic’ shall we say. I then painted an apple image on it. I was inspired by this one. It hung on the lounge wall for a year or two happy enough.


I used house paint, and I must have broken an artist rule because it crackled, but I actually really loved that finish.


Me being me, I got bored of it after a while. I mentioned it to a clever design friend who was over. She advised moving it into my daughter’s room and borrowing some of her art instead (ummm, yes please!).  The colours were a bit dark for a little girl’s room though, and I wanted to make it friendlier too. A face was in order, and a colour swap too. So, I googled “apple face” and got some scary results. Do it for a laugh.

Lesson 2: Interweb inspiration

I knew I’d seen a cute cloud pillow on Land of Nod (so grateful I’d have to pay international shipping fee for that shop, it’s way too tempting), so I checked back. This was my starting point, then interweb land found me further inspiration, mostly pillows: this cloud and this raindrop and this apple.

First-up, I painted over the red with a nice coral pink, which was left over from a chair re-do. The leaf survived the make-over process, but I re-painted the apple stalk, swapping the brown for a bit of blingy gold, and then it was time for the face.

Lesson 3: Be Confident

The designs  on all of my inspiration pieces were simple, and that’s what drew me to them. I could do this! I practiced drawing the face a few times on a piece of paper, and then on our blackboard to make sure I felt confident drawing larger scale.  I finally drew in a nice friendly face using a black sharpie on top of the dry paint. The perfectionist in me wanted to correct the lopsided mouth, but I decided it added character. The nose I initially drew in didn’t survive though. I gave it 5 minutes, knew I hated it and swiftly painted over it. Here is the nose-job drying (you can still kind of see it):


And here’s the happy apple in it’s final happy home. Like it was always meant to be.


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