Before and After: An A+ Answer to Generic HomeGoods Artwork

Before and After: An A+ Answer to Generic HomeGoods Artwork

Tess Wilson
Jul 12, 2018
(Image credit: 17 Apart)

If, like me, you were hoping that this art hack involved adding enormous sea monsters to this idyllic beach scene, you might be the teensiest bit disappointed, but if you want to see these discount pieces transformed into lovely original abstract paintings, read on!

Let's start with a little backstory:

When I came across these pre-framed mass reproduction art pieces at HomeGoods, they were the perfect size for our space but lacked the modern minimal look I was going for. I knew I could transform them into something more abstract to fit in with our style. You could likely find similar framed reproductions at Target, World Market, or a local thrift shop!

This is so pretty. I love the subtle, fascinating colors on the serene background. Mary and Tim Vidra of 17 Apart are responsible for this artistic upcycling—they call it an art makeunder—and they did a fantastic job.

(Image credit: 17 Apart)

I'd been wanting to make large scale paintings for our front sitting room, but felt intimidated by the framing process (not to mention the cost of doing so). While the beach scenes in these pieces of art are pretty, I didn't feel bad painting right over them to create something more personal since they're mass produced.

I can't imagine anyone having an issue with someone painting over mass-produced art. The canvas and stretcher bars are the real resources, and this project let them live up their full potential.

I love this close-up that reveals all the subtle textures and coloration. The background isn't merely white; there's a lot going on. The paintings' placement in the room is perfect for close examination and appreciation, as well as for natural illumination.

If you're interested in tackling a project like this, here are some tips from someone's who's been there:

The process was fun, simple and only took a full day to complete. Using a good quality Gesso to cover the original image over completely is key. From there, I let my creative side take over and play up the textures and layering in an abstract way. I even ended up spray painting the frames in a gold finish to match the base of our coffee table. Ultimately the entire project came in at under $150, which is a total steal compared to having large scale art professionally framed!

The secret to making this project a success is looking for quality heavy canvas that's stretched evenly and smooth to the touch. A floating style frame is also a bonus because it's easier to maneuver a paint brush around without getting messy. Finally, a heavy body acrylic paint is great for building up layers and textures in the very best of ways!

Mary and Tim used Liquitex Gesso and Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic if you're going for a similar look.

Here we can see how perfectly the paintings fit into this living room. The white squares form a triptych with the mirror; and the gray, black, purples, and beiges are beautiful with the black, grey, and wood elements in the room. As much as I liked how the frames originally looked, the newly gold frames do add a touch of glam and link the paintings with the middle of the room. I'm happy to hear that Mary and Tim are just as pleased with their handiwork:

I'd debated whether to buy or DIY art for our front sitting room and in the end I'm so glad I just went for it—I just love having personal pieces of art in our home and it's a wonderful reminder that I'm capable of what I set my mind to. It's hard to capture in photographs, but my favorite part of the finished pieces is the build up of textures that pops right off the canvases in person.

Thank you, Mary and Tim Vidra and 17 Apart!

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