I wish I was artistic.  Not “crafty,” not “clever”  because I can use graphic design software, but truly artistic.  I just want to grab a sketch pad and a stack of colored pencils or pastels and let all the ideas swirling in my brain flow out onto paper. Sadly though, I’ve never been artistic.  Heck, every Thanksgiving I still get heckled for the “turkey fish” I made when I was 10. (So aptly named because my art looks more like a fish than a turkey and something that looks like a 5-year-old created, not a 10-year-old. And yes, my Mom still hangs it proudly in her kitchen every Autumn.)

I think this is one of the reasons I’m so attracted to abstract art.  Every time I look at an abstract piece I see individuality and inventiveness.  Much like my life, abstract art is messy but with purpose -a  kaleidoscope of colors, textures, patterns, and forms come together to create works that are masterful, yet allow one the freedom to explore the meaning behind each piece.   Plus, they’re just plain fun to look at and display!

With that being said, I thought it was time to take my non-artistic brush skills to canvas to create a playful holiday piece.  The inspiration for our “Noel” artwork was my family’s Christmas card photo.  Taking a cue from all of the incredibly adorable families in Hanna Anderson’s matching #hannajams holiday campaign, we decided to set up the tripod, don the Gnome Sweet Gnome pj’s, and snap a few silly photos.  And what better spot for a fun and colorful piece of holiday art than in the background!

The best rule when creating abstract art is there are no rules!   Select a few coordinating paint colors and let your imagination run wild!

Here are a few tips, courtesy of Style Me Pretty’s DIY abstract art tutorial, that I like to follow:

  •  Don’t worry about your brushstrokes! Paint sideways, vertical, swirled- whatever. The more relaxed you feel, the looser and more effortless the painting will come out.
  • Step back frequently, take a look at the picture as a whole, and see if you like where it’s going. This is why I had you set up the canvas vertically and not laying down- because it helps you get a perspective of what you’re making, as you’re making it.
  • If you are hanging the canvas without a frame, definitely splurge on the canvas that wraps all the way around the sides (you’ll know because you won’t see staples running down the sides) and be sure to paint the sides as well. This feels more luxurious and will look great when hung.

Supplies Needed:

  • 30x40″ canvas
  • Variety of acrylic paints in your favorite colors
  • Variety of acrylic paintbrushes
  • 2.5″ paintbrush
  • several sheets of printable sticker paper
  • Painter’s drop cloth
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
To remove the stark white look and feel of the canvas, I started out by painting the entire canvas (including the sides) with a creamy off-white/beige acrylic.  I used a regular ol’ 2.5″ paintbrush with broad strokes and achieved a really cool textured effect.  Of course, you could leave the background white or use white paint to still get a textured background.
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
For the letters, I used 8.5x11″ pieces of printable sticker paper.  With the help of my husband, we arranged eight pieces of this paper on top of the canvas (about 18 hours later, after the background color had dried) taped them together so they wouldn’t move, then drew out “Noel” to the desired size and shape.  Then we cut out the letters, removed the adhesive backing, and attached them to the canvas.
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
Now came the fun part!  I chose a variety of holiday hues – mainly in the red and pink color spectrum – and painted broad vertical brushstrokes.  I let that dry just a bit, then went back in with a few strokes of evergreen and even a blob or two of silver!
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail

We let the piece dry overnight, then hung it up behind our bed.  Our bedroom is rather large and is lacking artwork.  This was another reason I chose the bright red and pink palette – I knew it would look amazing against the moody dark blue Sherwin Williams Peppercorn wall color!

Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
Never one to miss a photo-op (or give up his comfy spot on our bed) our cat, Hermie, was the first to enjoy the new art…
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
And sniff out the props we brought in for the Christmas card photo shoot!
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
Life’s too short for stuffy, formal Christmas card photos!!
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail

Pretty cute, right? (The art, not my boys.)  Besides whimsical holiday sayings, I think this type of abstract art would be so much fun with kid’s names and hung above a crib in a nursery, child’s bedroom, or even in a playroom.  If you’re interested in a custom piece for your home, please contact me.

Happy Holidays!