How to tone down artwork

chayMay 22, 2010

Our walls have been bare with hopes that we would win the lottery (oh - I guess we would actually have to buy lottery tickets?) and be able to buy a nice piece of original art. Finally, I got sick of all the bare space and bought an inexpensive gallery wrapped canvas art piece, the kind where they print the picture on canvas:

I actually like the print but the colors are waaaayyyyy brighter than I thought they would be. Is there any way to tone down the colors by applying something on top of the canvas?

Any advice appreciated. I know less than zero about art. If you have any quilting questions, though, I can answer in kind. Thanks!

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Chay, thank you for dropping in and please come back often.

Is the picture in the link the one you purchased? It is a lovely picture and online it doesn't seem so bright. Reminds me of a Bev Doolittle painting, but no hidden objects.

Have you hung the picture? If not, it might be an idea to place it where you want to center one's attention and leave it there for several weeks and then see if it is still to bright. If you are used to looking at a blank space most anything will seem to bright.

I don't know of anything you can put on top of the print that would tone down the colors except a stain and not knowing what kind of material was used for the print, it might ruin the print. In the description did it say it was sealed for easy cleaning? If it is sealed then you might get by with a gel stain. Gels allow you to move the stain around with a cloth, hitting the areas you want.

My other thought is to place other things in a grouping either around the print or on one side, taking the eye away from just the print.

Is there any way the print can be framed? Framing would make it easier to add other prints into the mix, where as a non framed picture is usually used by it's self because you want it to stand out.

Hope this help, anyone else have any ideas?


    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 11:38AM
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Hi. I agree with Belle that you might want to hang it for a while and then decide if it's still too bright.

You can tone anything down with a stain wash of acrylic paint that has been thinned to an ink consistency and applied with a soft rag (I usually use Burnt Umber) or as already suggested a Gel stain. An acrylic wash is easily moved around and controlled like a Gel if the piece has had some kind of finish applied. According to the information given the piece does have a UV coating to prevent fading.

Another option might be to use Plaid's Royal Coat Antique Decoupage Finish.

I have used this product for years. It is a soft satin finish, very subtle, and is applied like any other decoupage medium. Unlike their Mod Podge products their Royal Coat line dries to a much harder finish, which is why I like them.

I also like the idea of a grouping. Keep in touch and let us know what you decide.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:32PM
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I too have the same problem with my print. It's way too glossy for my other art work and don't want it to take ALL the attention in the room. I thought about using my Mod Podge Matte finish on my pictures. Hoping it won't bubble the picture or cause a reaction to whatever they sealed the picture with. I got my pictures, also, from Overstock.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 7:11PM
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