Thursday, September 5, 2013

Birch Trees Canvas Cutout

               One of my favorite pastimes (or I could say research and education routines) is to visit craft blogs, DIY websites, related magazine pages, global product sites, artisanal initiatives, and other craft resources pages. It is an amazing feeling looking at DIY and craft projects done by other crafters and artists from all over the world. It stimulates my creative thoughts firing up ideas for projects, offers a fresh perspective, and provides valuable information on skills and new materials. Though I must say sometimes so much that it becomes difficult to focus and streamline ideas into doable projects.

               Recently I came across a relatively simple idea but with big possibilities. A canvas cutout project ….it involved few easily available supplies, an easy skill level, and could be done in little time. I wanted to try this idea out on a small scale first, so this one is to be part of a five canvas wall art composition that will go up in my daughter’s room.
I do have big plans for repeating this on a large scale probably something very elaborate with intricate details reminiscent of grill work and large carved windows and doors from the old world.

So here's my trial project of a canvas cutout:

I began with a 12x12 canvas, laid it on a thick mat so it would stay steady and also not damage the table I was working at.

Referencing birch trees on the internet, I drew lightly with a pencil what I wanted the final picture to be.
Tip: Ideally, the image for cutout should be drawn on the backside or if using a printed picture should be taped to the backside and cut from the underside. But I like to work frontside up, so while drawing my picture I had to be sure to leave the width of the frame all around on which the canvas was wrapped. You won’t have to worry about this if working from the underside.

Using a sharp exacto knife cut on the lines. I found out an up and down sawing motion works better that scoring. Since I was working top down, the canvas is raised on the frame and it will slack. You have to be careful on the thinner parts, I guess this is why it might be better working from the underside so the canvas can lay flat while cutting.  Since this is an image of trees, it was not so important to get precise cuts, I had a bit more flexibility on where I wanted to cut. I also used a small scissors as needed for more control in some of the tight spaces.

Once all the negative spaces were cut away, the cutout was complete. To highlight the ever peeling nature of the bark of birch trees, I brushed on a metallic pale pearl color acrylic craft paint in a random manner. I did not want any other color on this piece, the cutout should speak for itself.

A final cleanup of the faint pencil lines was done with an eraser. Since the edges and wood framing was visible through the frontside, I painted the frame with white paint.

Here it is in place…I think once the other canvases are in place the composition will come together nicely. 

                 Now my son wants me to do a large possibly 4ftX4ft tribal art of a tiger similarly as a canvas cutout but on a black canvas so that the orangish yellow wall color in his room can show through. That would be an impressive complement to the phoenix. As I said, possibilities are many with this canvas cutout idea!

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