How To Paint LOVE Canvas Art
I am so excited to present to you this next DIY painting project because it is sooo much fun!!! This painting really has a 100% success rate because of the Painters Tape!
You will get to do some splatter painting, some dry brushing and play around with mixing colors. In the end, you’ll have a nice Valentines Day decor piece to add to your wall or front door or bedroom!
Some Art History:
While you are doing this project, take a moment to read up on some history. You can thank American Pop Artist Robert Indiana for this famous design.
There’s a lot of significance and meaning in his original colors and typography. He had originally created it as a Christmas card that went “viral” in the 60’s.
It then turned into a Valentines Day postal stamp and also several commissioned Public Art Sculptures.
One of the sculptures can be found here in my state at the Scottsdale, AZ Civic Center! The original is at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The sculpture pictured below is in Manhattan, NY.
Tips For Doing This With Kids:
I’m not the first one to use this method of Painters Tape as a project! Back in my Art Teacher days, there were several sources floating around on Pinterest and I can’t remember which one I used.
Any how, I had my kids tape the letters to water color paper and then paint water color over the letters. They LOVE (no pun intended) to see the letters magically appear when the tape pulls off.
If you’re doing this with your kids, you can certainly try it with acrylic or tempera paint! I recommend using a smaller canvas or a sheet of water color paper to avoid frustration about having to paint such a big space.
Depending on the age of the child, you may need to help him or her with the taping part. Also, stress that the angle of the letters do not need to be perfect!
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- 16″ x 20″ Canvas (This design can work on any size because the paint tape will be adjusted accordingly! My original was done on a, 11″ x 14″ sheet of canvas paper)
- Acrylic Paint (I used Liquitex and Artist Loft. You can use any type and brand of paint you want! Craft paint is fine, even tempera paint! Whatever paint you have available will lend for a successful piece of art!)
- RED – Cadmium Red Deep Hue(Or any shade of bright red. I actually used Artist Loft Metallic Red for this)
- MEGENTA – Quin Magenta (Or any shade of magenta, purple-red color)
- TWO DIFFERENT SHADES OF PINK – Pink, Phthalo Red or Primary Red (Phthalo red or Primary red are almost a pinkish red and when you add white, it turns pinker. If you already have two pre-mixed pinks, use that!)
- BLACK – Mars Black
- WHITE – Titanium White
- Brushes1″ Flat Brush
- 3/4″ Flat Brush
- 1/4″ Flat Brush
- 1/8″ Flat Angle Brush
- Small Round Brush
- Old Tooth Brush (hehe, I won’t link Amazon on this one! But an old toothbrush is a great tool for splatter painting!)
- Painters Tape (I had great luck with this brand!)
- T-Square Ruler (It’s helpful to get your lines perpendicular and also with the tape letters!)
- Covered work space (Especially since we are splatter painting! Acrylic paint does stain)
Directions At A Glance:
Step By Step Pictures:
1. Divide Your Canvas In Fours
Use a ruler to measure and divide your canvas into four quadrants. In this case, my 16″ x 20″ canvas was divided at the 8″ mark and the 10″ mark.
2. Use Painters Tape For The Letters
Use Painters Tape to form the letters L, V & E. I tried to get my edges to be as straight as possible but, really, you don’t have to do this because we will be painting and fixing those “edges” later. If you want to get more precise edges, you can use scissors. I’m all about just “tearing things up” so I didn’t use scissors.
Also note that I did not make an “O” with the tape. You technically CAN make the “O” with the tape but it would take extra effort to get the tape to curve. I really wanted my “O” to go diagonal like the Robert Indiana original. There is some significance why he made that “O” go diagonal.
I had really good luck with this blue Painters tape! It went on easily and came off nice too without the paint seeping underneath! The brand was Duck Brand “Clean Release”.
3. Paint The Four Quadrants Gray
Next, you are going to need to mix two different shades of gray. I grabbed Titanium White and Mars Black (or in this case “Ivory Black” from Artists Loft but it’s “kind of” the same!). You will have to experiment with proportions here. For the lighter shade I used a lot of white and only a few drops of black. For the darker shade I used a lot of white and two or three extra drops of black.
It also helped to keep the two shades on separate palettes or paper plates!
Paint the lower right and upper left quadrants with one shade and the upper right and lower left quadrants with the other shade. Yes paint over that tape!
I used a 1″ flat brush to paint with! Also don’t forget to paint the sides too!
As for keeping the lines crisp on the quadrant edges, you can technically use painters tape or a straight edge. I wasn’t going for a perfect “crisp” look so I did not do this.
Now all four quadrants are painted! Lets add some patterns!
4. Add Some Patterns
Use the opposite gray colors to paint patterns on each quadrant. (Dark gray on light gray and visa versa). Also, I used a small round brush for the spirals and small dots.
Small pin dots for lower right. Of course you can always come up with your own patterns!
For the zig-zags, I actually used a 1/8″ angle brush.
I used a flat brush for the circles.
This doesn’t show up in the video, but I did some white splatter paint here! I used an old toothbrush dipped in white paint and flicked it with my finger.
The effect is subtle but still ads interest to all the patterns!
Wait for your canvas to dry before taking that tape off!
5. Pull Off The Tape
Carefully pull the tape off.
Your letters should look nice and sharp with no paint underneath!
I suppose you can do this without Painters Tape. You can paint your white letters over the gray. But this technique was more fun and less stressful! (I don’t know about you, but I always get frustrated when I try to paint letters)
For the “O”, I used a 3/4″ flat brush and white paint. I painted in a diagonal form. If you don’t feel confident here, you can always draw it out in chalk first then paint over it.
The letters are all ready for the pretty shades of pink and red!
6. Paint The Letters Pink & Red
As stated in the Materials section, you will need to get 4 different shades of red and pink. I use Quin Magenta, Primary Red, Metallic Red and Primary Red mixed with white (which made pink). Obviously you don’t need those EXACT shades! You can use all the same shade of red if that’s all you have or use only 2-3 shades, etc.
Use a flat brush to paint in the letters.
I wasn’t going for a sharp letter look, so to smooth them out and make them look a little more “artsy”, I did some dry brushing on the outsides. When you dry brush, load your brush with very little paint and no water. Hold it lightly and paint very light whispy lines. It looks almost like a marker running out of ink!
I added some white on the “O” and did some more dry brushing.
Then some magenta on the “O”. Really…you can have fun with these steps and venture off and do your own variations of colors and dry brush styles!
The “V” was a lighter pink. I mixed primary red with a lot of white to get this shade. Or…if you have some pink paint on hand, that omits the mixing!
Again, I added white and did some dry brushing!
The “E” was done with Artist Loft “Metallic Red”.
And, again, dry brush the outside to help soften the look!
If you’re not feeling venturous with the splatter paint, you can leave your LOVE like this!
7. Splatter Paint On Top
To get the black splatter paint effect, I used an old toothbrush dipped in black paint and splattered everywhere! I love the messy look it gives to this painting! So much personality, no perfection whatsoever!
This is my original done on 11″ x 14″ canvas paper.
Finished! Do share your versions of this fun LOVE painting!!! I can’t wait to see all the different variations of it.
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