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Abstract Painting How-to + New Kitchen Photos

The painting I made for the kitchen really breaks a lot of “rules” about art.  I wanted something pretty, something vintage-y but modern, something that “went” with the kitchen & I set to work with these goals in mind, which is a big no-no for many professional artists and I respect that.  Art is about more than decorating.  So, I want it to be clear that what I’ve made is really more “craft” than art.  A fun project, a hobby I enjoy, and not an artistic statement.

Finally – a slightly sunnier day for a fresh new photo
P.S. Ignore the bananas, we’re on a fruit smoothie kick


First I bought a large square canvas on sale (I have been stockpiling them whenever I find a good price).  I tend to just move paint around as the mood strikes (see here & here for examples of other paintings I have made), but this time I challenged myself by doing something a bit more controlled: circles.  I cheated and sketched them out first:

Then, with a variety of paintbrushes (one big, a couple small – all with shorter bristles for more precision), I worked the circles and background alternately so that there would be “movement” – I didn’t want the painting to look like a flat wallpaper pattern (although that would look nifty too).  I used my brushes to create subtle texture and followed the perimeter of the circle with paint, instead of painting across the circle.  I used acrylic paint because I like the fast drying time and easy clean up – plus you can easily paint over areas you don’t like!  That is something I definitely did once or twice.

Mmmmm . . . textured.

My tip: to make a crisp, clean pastel (think Easter & nurseries) use a white like titanium white.  For the vintage-y pastels (you can really see the difference in the pink circles) use titanium buff.  You’d be surprised how little of the coloured paint (red + white for pink, etc) you need.


Although I was initially inspired by the pattern on a vintage lunch set I have (first photo), I used the painting to unify elements in the kitchen: the red accents, black & white floor, black & white houndstooth chairs, and (of course) the pale green and turquoise that I love.

My original inspiration: my vintage luncheon set
 (there’s two more with the set!)

Black & white floor we’ve chosen to work with
(as opposed to replace)


Black & white houndstooth print I chose to recover the chairs with,
to go with the floor

Colourful kitchen accents

I also tried not to compete with the artwork in or near the kitchen, like Hubby’s grandpa’s painting (below) or my mom’s print (above the kitchen sink).

And that is it!
To see more kitchen pictures (or to read about the “before,” the backsplash tiling process or how we re-varnished the cabinets, click on the links). 



  1. Beatrice @
    April 18, 2011 / 4:57 pm

    Wow, first to comment. I love the painting. I think it is the perfect little touch of colour that the nook needed. And the cost was close to nothing. I have an art kitchen dilemma. Yours looks great.

  2. Naomi@DesignManifest
    April 18, 2011 / 5:41 pm

    I've never tried to paint anything (art-wise) but I've always been tempted to get a big ole canvas and splatter paint across it.Yours really brightens up that corner!

  3. Dana@Mid2Mod
    April 18, 2011 / 6:43 pm

    The painting looks wonderful! I love the colors you used.

  4. Amy
    April 18, 2011 / 8:52 pm

    Love the texture and movement that your canvas has. Having family art really makes a home feel special.

  5. Midcenturymadam
    April 19, 2011 / 12:35 am

    I love it and I'd have to argue with you on one point…that is more art than craft! You are so talented! Your kitchen looks amazing. Well done!

  6. Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims
    April 30, 2011 / 3:36 pm

    i love this painting! beautiful! 🙂

  7. Marge
    May 11, 2011 / 5:59 pm

    Followed your link from AT–loving the herringbone pattern for the subway tile. What did you use to finish it off as the thin top border? (in the photo with the KT sink) Is it tile or something else? Thanks!!

  8. Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse
    May 11, 2011 / 9:10 pm

    Hi Marge, good question! We couldn't find the right shade of white tile to act as a trim and our subway tiles were unfinished on the edge so we used metal stripping called a "schluter strip". It is a metal strip screwed in place before the tile is installed. I am going to do a post next week to better answer your question, but in the meantime you can check out this website:

  9. Sky
    May 25, 2011 / 2:08 pm

    I have that luncheon set, yes I do. Isn't it the cutest thing in the world? I found mine at a thrift store and they only had three instead of four.

  10. Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse
    May 25, 2011 / 3:15 pm

    Really? That is awesome, Sky! You know, I've spotted some on Etsy in the past – if you're looking to round out the set.

  11. Emreen
    June 30, 2011 / 3:02 am

    Love the fruit art print – so simple and beautiful…!! Love the circle painting as well…!!

  12. Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse
    June 30, 2011 / 3:26 am

    Thanks Emreen, for leaving such lovely comments. The fruit print was made by my mom, so I will be sure to pass on your kind words.

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