Artwalk, Keyed Up Kenosha
Updated: Jan 11, 2019
This abstract piece, Summer Breeze, was inspired by motion and expression. Made as a surface pattern design to be clean, simple and fun. The thought of artistic freedom through varieties of art. The loose brush strokes create movement to each floral piece, up to the movement of the keys when being played. Vibrant colors celebrate the town and season. I wanted to honor the beautiful work of the original piano. With that in mind, I left the raw wood by the keys, various raw wood panels under the belly, gold pedals and knobs and the Smiley Brothers logo featured on the front of the piano. This was a way to say thank you to the hard work of the first artist. Truly a spread of the arts through time.
Downtown Kenosha Inc Invited me to participate in a music friendly artwalk, this summer. They displayed 12 hand painted pianos by local artists downtown, from June 9th through mid August, allowing people to play their favorite tunes for the summer. As a grand art walk on June 9th, local pianists went around and filled downtown with music, for a couple hours. Its safe to say artistic ambiance filled the city that night. It was such an honor to participate in this event. Kenosha News opened their industrious space as an open studio for all the artists to paint their pianos in April and May. It was a wonderful experience. I was able to meet some awesome artists and indulge in a studio full of like minded individuals. They also featured the pianos as a "work in progress" pop up studio during the event Get Behind the Arts. Every year around the end of April, Kenosha and Racine create a self guided tour, for one weekend, to local Art studios and shops. Along with a pop up studio, open on the Friday evening before, where they feature works of art, booths filled with artists teaching activities, raffles, local musicians, poets and a few artisanal goods from popular restaurants around the area. It's a great way to truly Get Behind the Arts, learn, experience and support your local artists and small business owners. Definitely something to check out next year and celebrate the arts.
Paint Brushes of all sizes. Water glass (I used a giant mason jar I had around). Exterior House Paint in White. Exterior Door Paints. Professional heavy body acrylic paints. Uni acrylic paint markers. Liquitex Varnish. Frog paint tape. Sand paper.
Sand the piano. I used an electric hand sander for most of the piano, then took a sheet of sand paper for the small spots the machine couldn't fit into. This process helps adhere the paints to the actual wood. They glaze pianos to protect the wood before they are sold. This is an important step for the longevity of your personal work.
Add base layers of paint. This was going to be a piano where the painting needed to be exterior proof, so I used exterior house paint. It also helped the budget, since heavy bodies are quite expensive. I recommend getting acrylic paints that are thick and/or a type of mural paint. Make sure any paint used will be acrylic based. This will also help the longevity of the art work. Oil paints will turn yellow over time in sunlight. I personally recommend higher quality paints, this allows the paint to be thick, lush and non translucent. You will have an easier time painting with heavy bodies and it will last through time and weather.
Create a proposal. In other words, map out your drawing. I had a mock up drawing that I created first, this helped map during the beginning idea stages. A loose sketch on your piano is an additional route to alleviate guess work before putting paint to piano. Buying a heavy quality paint will also alleviate any issues with covering your pencil marks.
Touch up, outline and sign. Uni markers to outline and make the abstract floral pattern pop out. Also this is a great place to touch up your work. Maybe there is a spot you are unsure about, paint over it. Fix it til you love it. Finally, sign your work and date it.
Varnish. Allow drying time before adding your varnish. I personally waited at least 24 hours because Uni markers like to bleed if they are not set. Varnish can be tricky for beginners. Make sure you follow the directions and don't over brush it on application. Over brushing will create small clear bubbles in your work. Take your time, be gentle to your art and do one layer at a time. Allow dry time before each layer of varnish. It should be smooth to the touch. I personally used 3 coats of varnish to really seal the work.
If you see pencil marks or undesired paint, touch it up with your base color. Remember the great thing about painting is you can keep layering different colors til you love it. Keep the paint and varnish layers low if your piano has a fold in fall board, so you won't have any issues with sliding it in and out. Varnish slowly, do not over brush and varnish areas through out time. Do not varnish and slide your fall board in while wet, it will get stuck. The key block will be very hard to get close to with the keys there. Take your time with it, or think of other options. Also, think about the original piano and its era. This is always a good exercise to remember for any art piece. For instance, the pedals, hinges, signature, wheels, body etc. Your extra thought will help showcase the piano, along with blending your work. Remember, when pertaining to pianos, most likely another artist put their personal touch and love during construction, too.
Show off your work. Dance away. DM me pictures ;)
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