Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ode to my two loves: Paris and spray paint.

During my semester abroad a few years back, I purchased a painting while visiting Paris' premiere art district, Montmartre. It is the first real piece of art I've ever owned. And when I say real, I mean you can actually feel the brush strokes on the canvas. This wasn't another copy of Starry Night from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It remained unframed for a year or so, and to make a long story short, I was eventually able to have it matted and framed for free, but had few frame options as a result. So I went with what you see below... didn't love it... didn't hate it. It was framed and that was good enough for me.


In planning for my new apartment, I've been eager to think up a spot for my beloved Paris painting. Buuuut I couldn't see it fitting in anywhere with the frame I've since grown to hate. Ew fake silvery finish. Ew. Ew. No thank you.

I debated having it reframed, which in my experience, normally costs over $100. Not cool, but I was willing to bite the bullet. As I was on my way to the framing shop, a thought occurred to me. What do I read day in and day out on various design blogs? Do-it-yourself projects!

I stopped the car, hopped into the hardware store, and purchased a can of black, satin-finish spray paint. I didn't really know what I was doing, so yes, I read the directions on the can. I CAREFULLY covered the art itself (and I'm talking layers of magazines), taped the edges of the matting, took the painting outside and went to town. An hour later, it was dry and ready to be hung. Voila! A whole new look for $4.95 - the cost of the spray paint!

I love how much more vibrant the colors are!
The frame's carved details stand out much more with the solid color.
I spotted the painting while I sat at one of the outdoor cafes (enjoying a bowl of onion soup au gratin and a glass of wine). I had a clear view of this particular artist while he worked. I fell in love with the painting, and after I tipped my server, I went over to make him an offer.
Below is a shot of the actual view he was painting... ignore the vendors set up along the sides. You can see the red awning on the left and the blue awning on the right, and of course, the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur in the background.

And just to get my $4.95 worth out of that can of paint... I've spray-painted just about everything else in the house. Like this picture frame. The black one used to look more like the silvery one on its left. Coincidentally, this is a water color my mom bought in Paris, and the photograph is a shot of the artist signing it.
And this gold-framed mirror I bought for $4 at a resale shop got a makeover, as well!
Oh, how I love you, spray paint!

*all personal photos*


  1. From the title I thought this was going to be a post about your graffitti adventures in Paris...

    The painting looks AMAZING in the black frame! And I love the story behind the painting- I long to get a "real" work of art, but have yet to find anything that truly speaks to me. Your story makes me want to hold out for a piece with memories like this.

  2. I like the black much better. really cool

  3. Ahhh, this made me very nostalgic for my own Paris study abroad experience. LOVE the DIY projects! You are so crafty.

  4. I like the new look, too. It does make the colors "pop." There's kind of an overall, busy sort of look in the first pic...much more punch with the black paint. Nice job!

  5. Hey there and Merry Christmas! I am Donna's neice and tonight at Christmas Eve celebration your dad was bragging about your blog! I told him I am a blog fanatic and I love everything he was saying you blog about! Love your blog and your before's and afters. Keep it up! ~Rachael



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