DIY: Orla Kiely stem inspired experiment

So, I had this very interesting canvas.  Kinda cool, but really grubby and just not quite right for me.

And I had this lovely bag as an inspiration...

So I decided to try to create an Orla Kiely stem inspired painting.  Now, here's my disclaimer.  I feel weird about copying someone else's "thing".  But I'm glad I did it because I haven't tried doing anything like this before and it gave me a sense of "I can do it" and now I feel much more comfortable trying my hand at something more original, that being said... here's my little experiment:

First I covered the existing painting with a coat of primer and then a coat of an ivory colored paint.  (Yes, this is my grimy garage, AKA mad science laboratory.)  I used a brush and made the coverage a little uneven because I wanted texture.


Next, I used a comb - that's right a hair comb -  dipped in a taupe paint and dragged at intervals to try to make a cross-hatched pattern on the ivory background.  This took forever and midway through I panicked that I had ruined it.  But it ended up resembling some funky mid-century modern pattern instead, that actually turned out to be more intriguing that cross-hatch.

I used a "stencil" to sketch the pattern onto the canvas with a pencil.  I liked the way the outline looked so much, I thought about just painting the outline.

And then came the actual painting, filling in all those shapes with many colors, which took awhile, but was so fun.   I didn't worry about perfection.  I wanted texture, and slight off-ness.  I wanted it to look real and hand-crafted.

And here's the finished product...

And here it is in a larger context, hanging on my dining room wall.

Overall, it was fun - I like the splash of color it adds to this little corner of my house, and now I'm inspired to try it again.  This time with my own design!


  1. I really like the transformation! I think it's okay to "copy" ideas... because you can get inspired and make it all your own!
    Nice work! :)

  2. That painting looks fantastic - I hope you're proud of it, it's a real neat job!

  3. Thanks y'all! I appreciate it. It encourages me to try my hand at something new. Now to find another canvas...

  4. ooh! I have that Orla bag...it's my fave, and I got it on sale. I am so inspired by your blog. I always am saying I am going to try new, creative projects and don't always follow through. I'm going to try and follow your example!