Category: Paintings

American Flag

American Flag from a mini pallet

We celebrated my sister’s birthday last night.  It was a super fun get together out in the country, which was the perfect setting for giving Tina her gift!

A little bit ago Tina sent me a picture from Dishfunctional Designs of an American Flag made out of a pallet saying she would love something like it.

The link to the original post was broken, so I decided I would wing it and make it my own way.

I made a bit of a smaller version, using a miniature pallet which my local grocery store was nice enough to give to me (the bigger pallets have to go back to the vendor I guess, but the smaller ones they are happy to give away).


  • Mini pallet
  • Hammer
  • Sand paper
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes (bristle and foam)
  • Wood sealer
  • Short nails (1/4 in in length should be good)
  • Mending plates (Example here)
  • Thick string or wire to hang

I tore up the pallet gathering 5 of the boards, doing a light sanding just to get the biggest rough spots out.  I probably looked like a crazy person spreading all of this out on the sidewalk in front of our house.  We live on a really busy street, and don’t have a yard at all (one of the downfalls to renting a townhouse).  It’s really fun to take a hammer and go to town, though.  Just HULK OUT and pry those boards apart with your hammer (wait a second… Thor’s the one with the hammer)!  I brought my phone out with me and was listening to the show “Once Upon a Time” on Netflix while I was working.  Wearing ear phones makes it easier to ignore people walking by 🙂

Tear pallet apart

Line up the boards how you would want them to look.  I particularly went for the boards with character because I wanted a rustic and weathered look.

Align boards in prep for painting

You really only need the three paint colors.   (Ignore the white, I decided not to use it).  I used a light beige color instead of the white so it wouldn’t look so new.

Paint stripes

I watered down my brush quite a bit and did one layer of really watered down paint to sort of act as a stain.  Then I dry brushed on top of it.

Tape off corner for blue square

Make sure to tape off the blue square.

Blue square painted

I created my own stencil of a star using a note card and used a foam brush to apply the paint.

Star stencil

Almost there!

Hold your horses, I know you’re excited, but you are not done yet!  You’ll reallllly want to make sure you put some kind of finish on your wood, especially since we used a pallet.  That pallet has probably gone through all sorts of nasty stuff, and you want to protect your home from it.  I used a spray-on finish.  Next time, I would use a paint-on one instead, just because I inhaled way too much of that crap and I want to be able to control where it’s going better.  Use whatever method you are comfortable with.

Here’s where you’ll have to use a bit of your imagination.  I realized after finishing all of this, I had no way to hold the boards together.  Basically, I used thumb tacks and some finagled metal pieces and a huge dose of luck to hold it together.  I will fix it for Tina as soon as I get the right supplies.

What you will want to do is, on the backside of the boards, connect them together using mending plates and nails.  I bet you could find one long mending plate… ?  You will also want to attach a string to the back with nails to hang the flag with.  Here’s my fancy diagram.

American Flag back diagram


Bridal Party Painting 2 of 4

I will be the first to admit that I have almost no experience in doing landscapes.  My friend Chris requested Mt. Hood with a Japanese style sun in the background, however, and I attempted to tackle a landscape despite my reservations.  I was totally behind the idea and love how it incorporates Chris’s love for his homeplace (Portland) and where he wants to end up (Japan).

I finished just in time to hand it to him at his going away party.  Landscapes have definitely not taken away my love of portraits, but it was good practice, and, most importantly, Chris liked it.  It makes me happy to know it’s small enough that when my friend travels the world, he’ll be able to take a piece of home with him.  I hope that he’ll hang it up when he gets a place in Japan (which I know he will), and thinks of me.

Chris, when the time is right, I know you will conquer the world and find your place in it.

Bridal Party Painting 1 of 4 and Sketch

I decided I was going to be crazy and do paintings for my bridal party.  So what if they won’t be getting them until months after the wedding?  I still have a couple deadlines though, because my friends refuse to stay in one place.  My bridesman Chris is moving to Japan in about two weeks, and Jamie is leaving in about two months.  This painting is for Jamie.  Hers was probably the easiest concept because I already knew I wanted to do something Batman related for her.  I should have done Chris’s first, since he’s going to be gone sooner, but I have no idea what to do for him yet.

10×10 acrylic on canvas

I have some silly placed pride on the way the edges turned out.

And just because I’m sharing some artwork, here’s something from my sketchbook that I liked.  Done with marker, pen, and pencil.

Sugar Skull Girl

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, you don’t get enough credit for what you do!

Totally unrelated, I finished another painting.  Tawnya and I asked a friend of ours to be the photographer at the wedding for us, and she graciously accepted.  At first we were just going to pay her in beer, but after seeing a painting I had posted on here, she requested a painting as payment instead.  She hasn’t seen it yet, and I really hope she likes it.

I sketched out in pencil a picture of a girl first, then used pen to cross-hatch all the shadows.  The “Makeup” is just paint applied directly on top of the pen sketch.  I may use spray fixative next time on the ink drawing before putting paint on.  The ink got a little smeary, which was fine, just required more work being careful.  I’m a little sad the cross hatching under the paint smudged to just regular shading.


It’s pretty small, only 8 x 8, and I’m kind of considering doing paintings for my wedding party as their presents.  But then I think that it’s a totally insane idea with the wedding just barely over 2 weeks away… I don’t know how insane I am yet.

Picture of the picture and the picture

A picture of the painting and picture of a picture of the painting!  Was trying to match up the colors in Picasa.

Finished Painting and More Ink Sketches

I finished the painting!  I’m going to try really hard to do a whole series of similar paintings.  It’s fun to use pen directly on the canvas and I love the drips of color off the bottom.  Simple and fairly fast to do, instant gratification.  Also, it’s fun to be a little messy.

My boys helping me take a picture of it.

I discovered an angry birds game to play directly off of chrome, and may or may not be playing that all day at work while taking calls instead of sketching, but I do have some more ink sketches from last week that are new.

Painting in Process

I was really liking one of the pictures I was working off of for the sketches I posted a couple of days ago.  I thought it deserved to be a painting!  I’m still working on it but I wanted to share it just in case I end up ruining it by trying to do too much.

I did it a little bit differently than what I normally do, and I really like the immediacy of doing it this way.  I actually just did a pen sketch right on the canvas, and then went over some of the shadows and whites with acrylic.  The colors are also acrylic.

A Finished Painting (Finally!)

Alright, finally I have a finished painting to show you.  This is the picture I was working off of.

I wish I had taken a picture of the finished product in natural lighting, but I barely finished in time for Mother’s Day.  I finally declared it done at a little past 11 last night, which may not seem that late, but when you get up at 4 for work you start getting a little bit loopy.

I’m pretty excited because the co-worker that asked for me to do this picture for her also asked me to do some pictures of her kids as well.  Not only that, but another co-worker asked me to do a painting for her as well.  I am honestly just so happy that she liked it, and it’ll be pretty exciting to get just a little bit of spending cash!

Water color on water color paper.  Super excited about finishing it, and I’m happy I decided to do it in water color since it’s not usually my medium of choice (Acrylics for the win!!!!)