How to Make a Fake Mondrian Painting (tutorial)
I’ve always enjoyed art, I think because of my fairly creative upbringing. When I was in school, while other girls had posters of the Backstreet Boys on their walls, I had my parents desperately searching out a print of Edgar Degas ‘Song of the Dog’ for my birthday present. Back then I was a huge fan of Impressionism. But in college I started to appreciate abstract art more and more.
Looking around my adult home, I realized a few things. I still really dig abstract art and of the decor hanging on my walls I have a ton of framed black and white family photos. But as far as art goes, I’m still an abstract girl at heart with original abstract paintings on my walls. And while I love these paintings with all of my heart, if I could have any painting in the whole word by a master, it would be either Pablo Picasso or Piet Mondrian…
While not everybody recognizes the name, Piet Mondrian, everybody recognizes his more popular works of art. Influenced by the Cubist movement while living and working in Paris, France, his work began to evolve into the style that we most recognize with the artist today. And today he is considered a pioneer of abstract art and coined a term for his own art, Neo-Plasticism, which restricted his palette to only primary colors on a background of white with grids of black.
Mondrian named his paintings in a very simple way to go along with the very simple style. We have Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red and Compositon B ((No.11) with Red to name a few (links head to Tate). In modern culture, Mondrian’s Neo-Plasticism style has been often imitated: on popular beauty products, on famous brand sneakers, in the design of a cake, a Mondrian inspired art car and of course, the Yves Saint Laurent dresses from the 60s.
So, while I can’t loan you 40 million dollars to purchase your very own Mondrian, I can lend you the skills to create your own, fake one.
For this project you will need:
- canvas (any size you choose, any style)
- acrylic paints in red, yellow, blue, black and white
- 1 inch masking tape
- scrap paper
- inspirational Mondrian images (a Google image search works nicely)
Take your canvas and run tape in a strip both horizontally and vertically to begin, eyeing a famous Mondrian on your computer screen or a print out as you go. Take smaller pieces of tape and take the four sections of the canvas and turn them into smaller squares and rectangles, keeping the look similar to a grid.
Paint sections of your canvas red, yellow and blue, but most of your squares you’ll paint white. I used craft section acrylic paints in these colors: Folk Art Lipstick Red, Folk Art Medium Yellow and Americana True Blue. This paints are much thinner than artist quality, so you’ll need at least 2 coats of each color for good coverage, and in the case of the red 3-4.
Remove the tape from the canvas and allow the paint to fully dry, at least a couple of hours.
Next you’ll need to tape off each of the colored sections as seen above. Make the lines and corners as sharp as you can, but bring the tape in a bit so that you have the edges of color for each shape peeking out. Some of this you see is bleed from the first time we painted and we need to cover that up to sharpen those lines up.
If you’re not a messy person, you may not need to do this, but I am. Take pieces of paper and cover the expanse of paint that needs to stay red, white, yellow or blue and tape the pieces down. This is a great idea because if you get black paint on one of your already painted sections (a misplaced thumb perhaps?) and it’s a nightmare to cover up black paint!
First take the color that you painted each square and go around the tape for that shape. See how the tape around the big, red shape from the corner has a red painted line over the tape and the area that we’ll be painting black? Doing this for every shape is going to fill any gaps or bubbles in our tape so that the paint that bleeds is the paint that matches. This step is CRUCIAL to getting sharp, crisp lines. Otherwise you’re going to have fuzzy edges with bleeding very evident.
When the base colors are dry, go over the area between the tape with your black paint. To get a nice, even black tone I used 3 coats. Allow the paint to fully dry before proceeding.
When dry, slowly peel the take off of the canvas. And look at that insanely sharp line!
When peeling up the tape you might on occasion nick the paint with your fingernails. It’s not the end of the world and only requires a quick touch up.
And here is my faux Mondrian all painted, dried and gorgeous! We do have a few imperfect edges but they’re a lot more noticeable in the photograph of the painting than in the actual painting itself. All in all, I am in love with my new wall decor and have already started making a second for a pair! The first looks so amazing in my dining room that two together will probably just blow my mind!
Happy Tuesday and I’ll see you again soon!