George and I had a really tough time figuring out what to do with Baby H’s bedroom (George wanted to do a Batman theme, and I was very much not on board.) One day, we started talking about a space-themed nursery. I had this picture in my head of a grey and blue room with stars all over the place, and George was imagining the Enterprise (that’s the Star Trek ship, right?) on a mobile and stuffed Yodas and all things “space nerd”. So we compromised.
Baby H’s nursery has grey walls and blue accents. There are stars on his crib sheets and his blanket is an amazing crocheted replica of the TARDIS from Doctor Who. George and I both made artwork to adorn the walls – George did a medium-sized acrylic painting of a cartoon Doctor standing on the moon, which we hung above the crib, while I made a print of some relevant song lyrics (“Look at the stars / Look how they shine for you“) and set to work on a 12-canvas art project involving the constellations of the zodiac signs.
I’m a dirty hippie and George loves science, and what better way to merge those personality traits than with zodiac constellations, right?
I had George swing by the art store one night on his way home from work and pick up a dozen 6×6″ canvasses, and then I spent an entire Friday night painting them metallic blue and silver, because I decided on a whim that I should use metallic paint, and, oh yeah - metallic paint is the streakiest ever. I had to do three coats on each canvas. But in the end, they looked exactly how I pictured them:
I was about to start plotting “stars” on to the canvases when a thought crossed my mind: constellations are carefully measured and mapped out, not “eyeballed” and guesstimated. What was I doing? These needed to be precisely measured and accurately plotted! (According to my friend Jodi, this is a prime example of how I can be… what were the words again?… insanely neurotic. Babies do not know whether or not you have estimated the placement of the stars on the little paintings for their nurseries, and she is absolutely right. But you know who does know? The artist.)
And thus began the process of measuring and plotting. And if Jodi was here, she would be pointing at these pictures and nudging you and making that raised-eyebrow “see what I mean?” face, because here’s what that process looked like:
Once all twelve constellations were (accurately!) plotted out on to tracing paper, I transferred the marks on to the canvasses so I knew where the “stars” were supposed to go, and then I got out a nice round brush and some white paint, and started dotting away:
Twelve little canvasses (plus a few touch-ups, here and there) and I was all set. Between the multiple coats of metallic paint, and the plotting, and the measuring, and then finally - finally! – the painting, I had spent the better portion of the weekend on what was supposed to just be “some quick art for the baby’s walls”.
The following Monday, I grabbed a hammer, some nails, and a measuring tape, and I hung all the paintings from my little constellation project in Baby H’s room.
And they were kind of adorable. (#modesty)
And then Martha Stewart ruined everything.
See, about a week later, George took me on a trip to the art supply store to grab some stuff that I needed for a commission project. I can’t just go to the art store and get what I need. I CAN’T. I have to peruse. I stroll the aisles and I spot the new products. I take a mental inventory of things I might want to use in future projects. I stand in front of the paint brushes and I drool. And while we were there, perusing, I happened to spot a little bottle of Glow in the Dark Finish, by the crafting queen, Miss Martha Stewart. And I thought about those constellations on the wall in the nursery, and I thought about the glow finish and how I could use it to create the lines that you see in constellation diagrams, and I carried that bottle of glow-in-the-dark finish right up to the cash register with the rest of my supplies, and home it came.
According to the bottle, I needed to do at least two coats with the glow finish, and each coat needed 2-3 hours of drying time in between. No problem. I pulled out a paintbrush and set to work on the first coat:
See how you can just barely see the lines connecting the stars? Perfect. Because the whole point is that you don’t see the lines until the lights go off. At this point, I was totally patting myself on the back and congratulating myself on this fantastic idea that I’d had. I had just taken my zodiac constellation project from “hey, that’s pretty cool” to “dude… that’s awesome”. Except, no I freaking hadn’t.
Here’s where it all went awry.
It turns out that when you can barely see where your previous lines were, they tend to get a little thicker and sloppier with each additional coat. Which, again, isn’t a huge concern when you can’t see them. Except that it also turns out that Miss Martha’s little glow-in-the-dark product becomes less and less invisible with each coat.
I did three coats.
Suddenly, every line is glaringly obvious, even in full daylight.
SEE THOSE?? Ugh!
But wait, there’s more! Let me show you something extra fun about this whole thing:
Are you wondering why I made a black square in Photoshop and stuck it in my blog post? Cuz that’s not what you’re looking at. That is an actual photograph of Baby H’s glow-in-the-dark constellation artwork with the lights off.
They don’t glow in the dark.
I tried “charging” the paint under lights all day so that I could get a really awesome photo of my really awesome glow-in-the-dark paintings and then you’d all be like, “*gasp* that’s so cool!”, but Martha had other ideas. Martha wanted to make me look like a fool so that she will forever continue to be the queen of crafts, but I’m ON TO YOU, MARTHA.
*pant* *pant* *pant*
… So… um…
That’s the story of the time that Martha Stewart ruined my art.