Folk art painting techniques
Cynthia White

Folk painting has its origins in 13th Century Europe, where furniture was highly-priced when decorated with beautiful folk painting. In some castles in Europe, that kind of furniture is on display, worth thousands of dollars.

Today people are starting to like beautiful things like that again, and pay a lot for painted wooden objects such as decorative cutting boards, cabinets, and plates. To use this art technique, antique wooden objects are often restored and then painted to make them even more decorative.

These objects don’t have to be expensive, often garage sales and secondhand stores have some wooden objects. They can be restored by first stripping the original varnish and paint off with a solution for that purpose which can be purchased at any store with a home hardware section. Then the object should be sanded with fine sandpaper until there are no traces of paint left.

Usually, folk paintings are found on dark wooden background according to a German tradition which looks beautiful since the traditional colors for the designs are rich reds, browns, yellows, greens, and sometimes blue, with highlights of white. To get a rich dark background a quick-drying wood stain can be used. Pick one that has a bit of a shine to it since that makes the wood even more exquisite.

After the wood stain is dry, the painting process can be begun. Some people prefer to use oil-based paint, but water-based works just as well. Try to get paint that won’t dry too quickly because one of the techniques, which make folk painting special, is the blending of the colors. The paintbrush should be of high quality and you should have one medium-sized and one small-sized brush.

To start off with the painting, you should probably try to follow some sort of pattern. Even experienced folk artists make a pattern at the beginning and then transfer the pattern to the wood with the help of carbon paper. Then the colors can be painted on. It would help to buy a book on folk painting with some color illustrations since most of the technique can only be learned by looking at the finished product and copying it.

As you practice more and more, you should become more efficient at producing your own paintings. The wooden objects that are traditionally painted are things like plates, furniture, trays, newspaper crates, umbrella baskets, boxes, and many more. These make wonderful, personal gifts you can give to people getting engaged, or married, or just for Christmas and for birthdays. After you are finished painting let the object dry thoroughly.

If you want to archive an antique look mix a small amount of the dark wood stain into the varnish so it has a bit of a brown tinge to it. The varnish should be matte or semi-gloss. Apply at least two coats of the varnish to the object and note how it is transformed into beautiful, ancient art.

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