Filling a bare wall can be fraught with second guesses and quite costly. Even if you want to buy wall art at one of the more reasonably priced online marketplaces you can easily drop three or four figures. Why not try your hand at a few minimalist techniques? Jorge Gomez offers up three ideas for creating wall art with a combination of paint and joint compound. You can either buy a low cost frame from a site such as EasyFrame or find one at a thrift store. If you make a mistake with your masterpiece, you can just start over. If you get bored with your work, you won't be out a lot of money.
Upcycle a Thrift Store Painting
To create a simple, geometric painting, Jorge Gomez recommends painting over with a thrift store piece of art or purchasing a low-cost frame and canvas. If you’re unsure which colors to use, consider borrowing colors from the room so it will naturally complement the decor. You can also opt for colors to that naturally complement those tones.
Want to follow Jorge Gomez’s approach? Mentally divide the canvas into threes. If you’re unfamiliar with the visual “Rule of Thirds,” this classic approach recommends dividing a canvas in nine with three vertical and horizontal lines and then placing important compositional elements on those lines.
To create a simple, aesthetically pleasing design, Jorge paints “sloppy rectangles” that align with the “Rule of Thirds" guideline. There are a lot of possibilities with this approach, including making a boxy study in similar tones or a multicolor minimalist geometric display akin to Piet Mondrian’s famous works. If you have trouble making straight lines, you may want to apply tape to sections of the canvas to help create a deign.
Once you’re done, spray a finisher on top of the work to keep the art in good shape with a layer of “Crystal Clear” coating. These finishes are made by both Krylon and Rust-o-leum.
Textured Wall Art
The next piece of wall art uses joint compound to create a textured surface. Of course, you can create any design you want with the compound and trowel on the canvas. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, you can follow Jorge’s layout.
To start, get a new canvas, joint compound, putty knife and a notched trowel. (Of course if you already have any of these things, all the better.)
Spread about 1/4 layer of joint compound with a putty knife to cover a corner of the canvas. Rake the trowel over the corner of the canvas to create a swirl on the quarter circle. Trim off the edges with the putty knife and paper towels.
To continue the design, spread a wide diagonal stripe of compound on the canvas opposite the circular design. Then use the trowel to add texture to the stripe. Leave the joint compound to dry overnight — check that it’s dry before before adding a layer of paint. The color of the top layer can be very light or slightly off-white, with a little extra color mixed in.
The result is minimalist and stylish. After you’re done, cover with a layer of “Crystal Clear” coating. Adding a dark-shade floating frame encourages the viewer to focus on the work since much of the piece is just off-white.
Refashion a Used or New Frame
This project starts with a low-cost frame or one taken from a thrift store find. Paint the frame with a light brown. Depending on the finish of the existing frame, you may need to prep it with primer or sanding.
Paint two coats of the light brown. To add a wood-grain effect, put one drop of black paint into a cup of water. Brush on the light black coat, making sure not to add too much. If a coat or section appears too dark, you can brush if off with a paper towel. Top it with a spray later over protective acrylic.
Next, grab the foam core that came with the frame (or the existing painting) as a canvas. Spread a layer of joint compound in the center of the painting, using the layers to create an artistic texture.
Once the joint compound is dry, paint it with colors that will make the texture pop. You may want to take inspiration from the abstract expressionist works of Mark Rothko, who used textures and large rectangular shapes to create some of the most famous paintings in American art. With the faux wood frame, the resulting style is very mid-century modern.