Friday, February 28, 2014

Recycle Your Old Curtains And Disused Material Into Wall Art

How To Make Art Canvases From Old Curtains

this lens' photo
I have purchased rolls and rolls of canvas over the years, and in Spain canvas is expensive, still, when I'm creating work for others, I do use canvas, but for my personal use, I make my own with old material, dust sheets and curtains.

I first thought of making my own canvases when a friend, moving back to England, brought some thick curtains around to my home for me to use as dust sheets, they worked well on large Frames.

I have created wall art from painting abstracts, adding colour to a room, to small paintings for the kitchen. I have even made some large Pop Art for my daughters room (featuring her of course).

Below are a few sequences of what I do to save a few quid, and make creating canvases more bespoke - I hope they are helpful. 

DIY Canvas

I make frames from wood, either recycling old pallets or buy some lengths, cut them to size, glue and staple them together. I also use damaged picture frames.


1. Frame
2. Material/Curtains
3. PVA Glue
4. Staple Gun and Staples
5. White Acrylic
6. Water
7. Paint Brush and Tub
8. Flat Surface


This curtain was given to me, I didn't buy them with flowers on (Honest).

This material is thin, so I'm going to use it for two small frames. These paintings will be in Acrylic for the Kitchen.

Cut the material to size

Either, offer the frame up and cut around or use a tape measure - make sure you allow enough material to wrap around the frame.

Pva And Water

2 Parts Water 1 Part PVA Glue

If the material is thin, I lay it flat and give it a coat of Pva Glue water mix before attaching it to the frame
and then hang it to dry flat.

Position the cloth

Once you have done this, lay it on a flat surface and pull the material over the frame and push out all the creases.

It is now ready to be stapled.

Sequencing of Staples

Pull the material tight to remove any creases but not to much that it rips on the corners of the frames.

Stapling the corners

Fold the corners over and tuck them in flat and staple them - they should almost fold themselves, try to do them all the same way.

Sealing and strengthening

This also tightens up the material

Stapling finished - Coat it again both sides with the PVA water mix and stand to dry.


1 Part PVA 1 Part Water and a small amount of White Acrylic

Mix and brush over the material including the side and leave to stand.

The picture is the finished canvas tight strong and ready to be painted.
Photo Gallery

Canvases made from curtains

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hot Air Ballooning Spain

Floating Above The Scenic Baja Velope Elche Costa Blanca Spain

this lens' photo
People at certain stages in their lives, write bucket lists - things to do before they die. Taking part in a hot air balloon flight is a popular list item for many people.

In my opinion, hot air ballooning should be on lists way before people start thinking about kicking the bucket. I certainly regret waiting until I hit forty before I tried it. The next thing now is to take flights in other parts of the globe, and also a glass bottom basket flight.

Hot air balloonists, worldwide, keep to traditions and have their own subtle difference.

I definitely recommend Hot Air Ballooning Spanish style. 

This really is as close as it gets to being in a Hot Air Balloon

Alicante Spain 


 Is it Safe? - ¿Es seguro?


My Flight - Alicante

As soon as the van pulled up, the crew leapt out and dragged the basket from off of the chase vehicle. On that day, it was in the baja velope Elche. The weather was starting to show promise as we stood and watch the pilot release a small helium-filled black balloon, called a piball. This is to determine the wind direction at different heights and speeds.

The balloon or envelope was rolled out and a member of the crew pulled on a line at the top, two of us were asked to hold the mouth of the envelope open whilst the pilot directed heat from the burners into it with the help of a motor driven fan.

As the balloon starts to take shape and rise off the ground the balloon is balanced and equilibrium is achieved at this point we were asked to get into the basket. As soon as the last person climbed in - a young Spanish couple celebrating her birthday, the crew let go of the basket and the balloon shuttle launch shooting up to 4000 feet.

Positive self-talk at this time helps, but it's not long before you settle down. Looking at the dotted houses and landscape is superb but splash and dash is my favorite, skimming a cross the water and also fields of tall grass.

The low flying 500ft limit rule seemed to be bent a tad as we floated over a small housing estate, you could smell what they were cooking and I'm surprised how many people sunbath naked on their roof terraces - only joking - I'm not surprised.

Once we had landed, and the basket and balloon packed away, we drove up the road to a country house and out came the food and drink, finishing with a toast and a certificate.

What An Amazing Experience!

Cheers Aeroglobo! - gracias por un día fantástico

Champagne toast tradition is maintained from the early days of balloon flight in France using Cava

Above the Clouds


Mass Ascension

This is very beautiful! - Esto es muy hermoso!

Wish List

Places and flights on my list from the rocky mountains to the out-back Australia.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Big Eyes Keane Paintings

The Story of Margret Keane

this lens' photo
Sad Eyed Children, Big Eyed Art, Doe Eyed Orphans or Sorrowful, wide-eyed waifs, whatever name you used to describe them, there's one thing for sure, with no grey areas, you either loved them or you hated them.

Artist Margaret Keane was born in 1927, by the 60's she was a pop art sensation. Margaret was married to Walter Keane for ten years, from 1955 to 1965. A film about her life is being made called "BIG EYES". Tim Burton, a fan of Margaret's work, will co-produce the film. Early rumours had Ryan Reynolds and Reese Witherspoon in the staring rolls. The latest to be put up for the lead roles are Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams.

The script was penned by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander and Tim Burton will direct the movie said to be released in August 2014.

The film will start just before Margaret and Walter meet up, and ends in a spectacular court scene where Margaret gets her day in court.

Margaret now lives in Napa County, California.

Personally I can't wait until the film comes out. Now I have to go and find all those paintings my sister had hanging up on her anaglypta-wallpapered bedroom walls in the seventies, as they should skyrocket in price after the film.

The script

BIG EYES by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski

At the beginning of the script the year is 1955 and Margaret with her eight-year old daughter Jane, leaves her first husband, and lands in the wild and cool beatnik epicenter of San Francisco. The place is foreign and strange, yet she gets a sense that this would be a great place to settle as an artist.

Margaret runs into Walter Keane whilst sketching tourists for a few dollars at Fisherman's Wharf. Walter made an impression on her dressed like a Parisian Artist in a turtle neck and black beret flogging his Paris street scenes with the gusto of a fairground sideshow boss. As soon as Walter meets Margaret he foreshadows his future actions by criticizing her for selling herself and her artwork too short.

It's not long before they pitch their easels next to each other in the park and start a courtship. Jane, Margaret's daughter notices that Walter's canvas is always blank. We learn that Walter is really a commercial realtor. They soon get married and honeymoon in Hawaii. in this script version, they decide not to delve in length into the reason why they get married so hastily, just a letter from Margaret's ex-husband accusing her of being an unfit mother.

Walter's artwork is shunned by a Gallery owner which motivates him to rent wall-space in the hungry I, a hugely popular and hip jazz club, and he exhibits his and wife Margaret's work. At this time they both sign their works as Keane and Walter is soon credited with the sad-eyed-girls, hungry for sales he takes credit for the works. The Jazz club is further instrumental in their success when the club owner and Walter come to blows and are caught on camera; this catapults both the club and the paintings to overnight popularity and Walter deeper and deeper into his lie, a lie that eventually becomes real to him.

The paintings start shifting even though art critics snubbed them, one critic suggested they were "the very definition of tasteless hack work". The layman loved them, and Walter found they had to start printing off posters and framed prints to keep up with demand.

There's not doubt Walter had a flair for marketing, he opens up a gallery across from the first gallery that shunned him and started giving paintings away to famous and influential people including, Natalie wood, Jerry Lewis and Kim Novak also sending one of John Jr. and Caroline Kennedy to the White House.

Walter Keane churned out work, sausage factory style, well before Warhol and his helpers. Walter's sweat shop consisted of Margaret only, whilst she grafted he wallowed in his self-promotion, and the secret was kept even from Margaret's daughter.

Margaret becomes more and more depressed, which reflects in her artwork, almost self-portraits, which makes it more difficult for Walter to explain his inspiration.

The script heads towards the climax, where Margaret gets her day in court after remaining silent for years. A radio interview in 1970 prompted Margaret to admit she and she alone painted the wide-eyed waifs, and at this time challenged Walter to a public painting contest, Walter was a no show.

A couple of years go by and Walter surfaces suggesting to USA Today that Margaret thought that he was dead and that's why she was making her claims. This led to a slander suit from Margaret.

When they both walked into the Honolulu federal court, 20 years had passed since either one had seen each other. Walter was 70 and Margaret 58, the whole trial lasted for 3½-week with plenty of sparks. According to Margaret the only reason she was obsequies and gave into Walter's wishes was because she feared for her and her daughter's lives.

Margaret brought into court paintings from her childhood, and clinched it when she painted a boy's face in fifty three minutes, showing obviously that she is in fact the creator of Big Eyes. Walter was challenged to pick up a paint brush but declined clutching his should, saying he was taking medication and declined the challenge. The court awarded Margaret $4 million for damaged reputation and emotional distress at the hand of Walter's false statements.

At the end of the Script a reporter asks Margaret if she feels vindicated by the high award, she replies that it was never about the money and anyway she doesn't think that Walter would pay up. Margaret adds that she just wanted rightful credit for her work and to get her art back, my prayers are answered.

This was an early draft of the script and there will be many changes to the finished film.

Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams to Star in Big Eyes

The eyes were asking

'Why are we here, why is there suffering? What is the purpose of life?'

Girl with abstract lines

 ''I think what Keane has done is just terrific. It has to be good. If it were bad, so many people wouldn't like it.'' -- Andy Warhol on Keane in 1965

Hibiscus Miss


No Dogs Allowed

The Gypsies

Child with Gauguin 1964 Keane

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Margaret Keane

Walter Keane
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