13 February 2014

DIY: faux watercolor art

A few weeks ago, when Mr. P and I tried to go grocery shopping, our senses were assaulted by a grotesquely excessive Valentine’s Day display. There were flowers. There were chocolates. There was, infantilizingly, a large display of stuffed animals for girlfriends. And there were so many balloons drifting along the ceiling by the store entrance that, to get to the produce beyond, I had to beat aside their dangling ribbons like I was wielding a machete in a jungle. I am absolutely not exaggerating.

I guess that’s how some people (cough RETAILERS) celebrate Valentine’s Day, but not me. I’m not even really into Valentine’s Day much at all – if we’re going to celebrate our relationship, I’m way more into our wedding anniversary. Plus, a childhood of birthday parties that included clearance Valentine’s candy might have something to do with my indifference.

Rather than be a complete Valentine’s scrooge, though. I did come up with a romance-related craft to share with you today. And if you’re not partnered-up or particularly romantic, you can do this any time of the year!

You just need this app called Waterlogue. It’s not free, but $3 isn’t a lot to pay for this much art and entertainment! It’s been getting quite a bit of buzz, so I had to check it out. Maybe you saw this Waterlogue photo on my Instagram?

The original photo was nothing special – just a quick snap to document the record-breaking snowfall. Here it is straight-out-of-camera:

The app turns that basic photo into a work of art! Here’s a tip about picking photos to Waterlogue: you don’t necessarily want to focus on the elements that make it a good photo. It doesn’t matter if it’s in focus, white-balanced, or properly exposed. High contrast shadows are actually a good thing, and snaps of random landscapes or streetscapes turn out better than those with people (faces are one thing the app doesn’t do well). It takes a bit of trial and error to figure this out, until I finally learned how to look past good photography elements toward what would make it a good faux painting!

Another example: our brunch from a few weeks ago...

... becomes the sort of illustration you’d see in a magazine next to a restaurant review.

And even though this photo was pretty to start with...

... it becomes an entirely different thing of beauty after passing through Waterlogue’s filters.

I’m definitely a fan!

So I decided to use it to try my hand at a lovey-dovey craft: once again, creating some personal art based around our honeymoon. Although we went all over Italy, a few places in particular stand out as some of my favorite: hiking in Manarola in the Cinque Terre, our evening at the Vatican Museum, and strolling around the lagoon in Venice.

I ended up using these three photos, shown here straight-out-of-camera again:

Note that the boat is blurry in the Venice photo as it speeds past. In Waterlogue, that won’t matter at all!

I sent them to my iPod – which is another downside of the app, if you often use a camera that isn’t your phone – and added a Waterlogue filter:

GORGEOUS! Time to print out on cotton paper (not necessary, but it seemed nice):

The app saves them at SUPER high quality – I actually had to shrink it to 8x10 size. So you can totally make large prints of these!

The Venice lagoon print got a trial run in our guest room:

Ultimately I decided I preferred the mirror there, so it’s currently looking for a home elsewhere. The other two, though, I decided to keep as a pair in our eat-in kitchen!

Sorry for all the shadows... they were just unavoidable!

I secured wire to the back of the frame, then used the ol’ hang-packaging-on-the-wall trick for spacing and the nifty-frame-hanger to mark where the bottom edge of a picture hanger should go:

And finally, this wall was nekkid no more!

(Sorry, sorry for the shadows!)

I worried a bit about the scale in this space, but I figure the giant white mats with smaller watercolors will draw people in to see what’s there. And anyway, the prints turned out fantastic! The jumble of houses in Manarola is just so charming, and I love the prominence of the rock jetty in the picture as it was right below our hotel window.

(Sorry ALSO for all the reflections in the glass – I can’t complain that the room gets so much light, but it did make taking these photos challenging with the light and shadows!)

As for the other print, I like how it just looks like a painting of a garden... except for that roof peeking out in the upper-left corner. Why hello, St. Peter’s Basilica!

I’d been struggling for what to put on this wall for a while, honestly. Mr. P and I eat dinner here together every single night – with Sinatra playing in the background and no phones or TV to distract us. It’s really lovely to have that time together each night, either to chat about our days or just to quietly enjoy each other’s company. So, it’s appropriate to have some art that represents special places in this space where we spend this important time together!

So there you have it! For just the cost of the app (I had the frames on hand), I made more meaningful art for our Valentine’s Day – or any day of the year. Because why choose just one day to adore and celebrate your beloved?!


Tina said...

Now THAT is meaningful art... And I love it! I have gads of scenery pix that no one I was traveling with are included in the picture - the scenery alone was picture worthy or so I thought until I got them developed. Then I wished someone's head had photobombed it to prove we had really been there. This is just really neat. The next time I come across pretty scenery, I'm going to snap away with this app in mind! Definitely!

Janice said...

What a great app and I love how you used meaningful pictures too. They turned out great.

Loved to see them individually and then on the way. But oh, on the wall and all those nasty shadows, really a huge disappointment with the shadows......hahahahahahahahahahahah, I'm just joshing with you! I didn't even SEEEE the shadows until you mentioned them!!! I was so focused on the art placement and all, I didn't notice the shadows you kept referencing :) It looks great! Just may have to investigate that app myself! Thanks once again for sharing with us!