Monday, April 9, 2012

Silhouette Painting

As promised, here is what I did with the 2 canvases left out of my 7-pack from my Name Plaque.  These are Silhouette Paintings of my dogs Serge and Tasha.  You don't have to have any artistic ability to handle this project either.  The 12x12 canvas size made it easy to print the photos off on my printer without having to manipulate the size beyond what an 8.5x11 piece of paper can handle.  You can of course make these any size you like.
Choose your canvas - these are 12x12"
Prepare your supplies.
When you choose your photo, you are looking for a good profile, not detail.  If you are doing a pet, a side shot is best.  A straight on shot will not show well.  The good news is, you can print out pictures on plain paper, turn them backwards, hold them up to the light and get a good idea of how the shape will translate.  You can trace the outline with a sharpie marker to make it easier to see, as well.

When you figure out which picture to use, cut it out with an Exacto knife if you have one.  You want to preserve as much detail of the outline as possible.  Then place your cut-out on your canvas and trace lightly around with pencil.  Do not make dark lines because they will show through your paint.  If you want your subject to face the other direction, flip your picture over before tracing.

I find it's easier to paint in the background first, but in this case I wanted to do one color at a time.  I did only two colors for both paintings and wanted to flip the background and subject colors from one to the other.

I worked with acrylic paint because it is water soluble and dries fast.  You only really need three brush sizes for most any project of this nature - one flat about 3/4 of an inch wide, another flat about 1/4 of an inch wide, and a small pointed round brush for detail.  I used the flat brushes only for these paintings.  Don't worry about full coverage, because you will put on a second coat after the first one dries.
Do the background first and get right up to your lines.  As you can see, I did one background first and one dog first because I wanted to use one color at a time.
Let your picture dry before starting the second color, so you don't get any mixing and blurring of your lines.                  This is after the first coat with both colors.
This is after the second coat of both colors.  See that light spot in the top left corner?  That area didn't want to take the paint very well, so I waited a couple of days for it to dry really really well, and then went over it again.
And here they are finished!
Don't worry about being perfect, just have fun.  Be sure to paint around the edges unless you are going to frame your picture.  This is called a Gallery Wrap.  Bet you didn't know how chic it was to be too cheap to buy a frame, did you?  I hope you have fun doing your very own Silhouette Painting!

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