Original Art in the Outdoors

The sod had promptly died in our backyard six weeks after we moved into our new house and we had put mulch down as a temporary measure. Combined with the ubiquitous privacy fencing, the view in our backyard was a sea of brown. Delightful….

Now envision a landscaped backyard with ivy and plants slightly obscuring outdoor paintings that would be attached to the fence and could be taken down in the winter or left outside all year round. I researched the different types of wood I could use and settled on birch. I used regular artist acrylic paints and then finished with 4 coats of urethane that was UV and rain repellent.

After finishing my first painting which went on the gate door I decided to do a much larger 6′ x 8′ outdoor painting. After bringing home two panels from Home Depot I “supervised” (and I use the term loosely) the joining of them together with wood glue and metal braces and framed the piece with regular wood molding. I then gave the wood at least three coats of primer and worked on the painting inside my studio during the winter. Taking it outside proved challenging and once it was up it was not going anywhere. It has lasted five years through rain, snow, hail and sleet. People appear to like the concept because I cannot keep the outdoor paintings on my fence for very long, especially after my annual studio tours.

I was just at a Home Sense store last week and saw a blue bistro table set with an large abstract painting behind it that picked up on the exact shade of blue on the table. The trend of bringing the indoors to the outdoors has been around for a few years and I really think people want to enjoy their gardens as much as possible while they can in the summer. Adding an outdoor painting to the environment creates a unique and intimate feeling. Art personalizes the space and invites people to linger in the garden.

I now have two wood panels primed and ready to paint—I feel the urge to go abstract which is my first instinct and I haven’t done any outdoor paintings in the abstract. I have done poppies, wisteria, sunflowers, spring planters on wood but today abstract rules…maybe a palette of yellows and oranges.  You can view my other outdoor murals on my website.

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