Friday, March 8, 2013

A week ago I thought I'd pick up a couple of canvases and some brushes and see what happened.  I often refer to myself as a crafter, but not an artist, so I don't know what I was thinking.  Well, I guess I can't say that anymore because I've painted three more and I think they turned out great.

I painted the big canvas for over my bed last weekend.
While I was between steps on that canvas, I was working on these three paintings and they got their finishing touches this week!
Sugar skulls are something most people either love or hate.  
There isn't really a middle ground.  
I happen to love them.
I think they bring an air of lightness and beauty to an often grim or dark subject matter. I also love how colorful they can be.

((Keep reading because I need a little help choosing a color for the frames.
You can give me your two cents in the poll at the bottom of this post.))

These paintings will be the perfect colorful addition to my colorful Junk Gypsy inspired bedroom.  (You can get a little back story on what my over all 
plan is for the room here and here and here.)

I cheated again, of course.
That's how I roll.
You should know this by now.
Paint the canvas black, dry brush the color over top in several light coats so the black shows through and the canvas looks warn, and then came the skulls.
You can find all kinds of sugar skull templates online by googling "sugar skull coloring page" or "sugar skull outlines."  

Next, print them large enough to fill your 11" x 14" canvas.  I cut out the skull, traces the outline on the canvas, and used white to get the base of the skull done.  I painted the white fairly heavily so it would contrast with the distressed background.  

Once that was done, I used used carbon paper and traced the decorative elements from the original template onto the white skull.
Then it was like a coloring book!  
Let your mind go wild.
Use any colors you like.
I used a tiny brush to make sure I got the detail I wanted in some of the tighter spaces.  I also used the wood tip of the brush dipped in paint for all of the dots.  It's a great way to get even circles.

Here are the canvases before I did any outlining on them.
Of course, Luna had to supervise.
Not only did I cheat by tracing all the patterns, I used paint pens to do all of my outlining.  I figured I would have more control that way and I was right!

Here are close ups of the finished canvases.

Now is the part where I need your help!
Part of the inspiration for these is the ornate unfinished laser cut frames I picked up to frame them with.  
This is what the paintings look like on the frames.
When done, the frames will actually be on top of the canvases and will look like they're floating on the wall.  Cool, right?
I'm stumped on what color to paint the frames.
Too many options.
Please click on the poll below and give me your thoughts on what color they should be painted.  
What color should I paint the frames for my skull paintings? free polls 

Thank you for stopping in and for taking my little ol' poll.
I hope you have a delightful weekend!

This project was shared on some of these lovely blogs.

Tagged: ,


  1. Hi Jen! Just found you through the blog hop and I'm your newest GFC and G+ follower :) Happy Co-hosting and have a great weekend!


  2. Absolutely white. They look perfect just the way they are now. You did a perfect job.
    Now what the hell is a paint pen so I can make my lines neat and please my OCD brain.

  3. Jen you did an AMAZING job with these!! Etsy?! I'd totally be interested in a cat one if you care to make another!


    that is all.

    1. I meant that in a funny way, btw, even if it sounded more like a BITCH, YOU PAINT THOSE FRAMES WHITE OR I WILL CUT YOU.

      you know.

      yeah, you know.

  5. I love them! I bet they will look really cute all hung up!

  6. RED!!! There seems to be strong opinions here. I think you need to look at your beautifully distressed RED sidebars as an inspiration. I love those sugar skulls. Thanks for the great tutorial! Remember - RED!

  7. I love sugar skulls as well and tracing the outlines is not cheating in my book. I do it all the time! Visiting from the DIY Dreamer link party.

  8. I love your sugar skulls! Especially the cat. It's from Beth Wilson originally, isn't it?
    I think black frames will look beautiful!

    My own sugar skull projects:


  9. These are just great! I made a quilt for my daughter using fabric that had skulls on it.

    I voted (I said white)

    Cynthia at

  10. Hi! I found you on the Too cute tuesday at Funky Polkadowt Giraffe. I am your newest follower. I love this. Although I am not a huge fan, but I see that this idea would make an awesome gift for a friend of mine who is a fan of this. Thanks for sharing!

    Feel free to stop by at

    joanne @ Creative Mess

  11. These are great! I love sugar skulls and the vibrant colors of de los muertos, so you had me at hello! Hope you can stop by the enchanted oven.

  12. I just LOVE THEM!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality! I can't wait to see what you link up tomorrow evening!


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