Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

DIY Abstract Art

For a long time, Joey has been nagging me to create some art to decorate our home’s naked walls… See, our previous house was so open that we didn’t have enough walls to hang my paintings. Now, in need for two separate offices, and in preparation for a baby (not yet conceived) which may trigger extended family visits, we’ve moved to a humongous monster, half of which we don’t currently use… Anybody interested in a basement or a formal living room?

In this house, most of my paintings are too small for the large walls, so we’ve been toying with the idea of creating some larger abstract art for the family room and our master bedroom. I’m particularly drawn to tryptics. BUT, abstract art is not my specialty… So it just hit me yesterday that instead of attempting to create crappy blotches of nothing, I could create pieces out of interesting crops from art I’ve already made… I’ve done it before (see the header of MQStudio).

The selected guinea pig is a really bad piece resulting from an art class exercise. It was one of those quick ones, where you need to draw the model’s pose and then desperately color it WITH WATERCOLORS in a few minutes before the class moves on to critiquing everyone’s awful – yet spirited- attempts. This piece has zero chance of ever making it into a frame, but I really like the color scheme and the crude texture achieved by painting quickly – without being able to smooth the brush strokes as I usually do when painting a “serious” watercolor.

So far, I’ve come up with this set of crops:

Watercolor crops

Our bedroom walls are green, for which I though the yellow colors would work well. However, according to the venerable laws of Feng Shui, the wall where the finished art will go belongs to the Fire element. This area corresponds to “fame and recognition”, and as evidenced by the time spent on this project, I need a little more fame and recognition to get more freelance projects and make a decent living. Sooo, since green (wood) or red (fire) are the right colors for this area, I’ll convert the selected crops to reddish tones. I guess it will be fire in the woods… That sounds like a lot of fire.

I have a few other decisions to make… From my visualization mockups, it looks like a dyptic may look better than a tryptic, but I’m not sure. Also, I’m not sure if I should go with a framed look or a more simple canvas-like style. The easier thing to do is to print the crops on paper and frame them… But I keep wanting to experiment with printing art on fabric. I’m not sure if the transfer options available to average people have gotten better. Would probably be better to try this with a smaller piece.

For now, regardless of whether I can pull it off or not, what do you think looks best among these:

  1. Framed dyptic
  2. Framed tryptic
  3. Canvas dyptic
  4. Canvas tryptic

Also… Any favorites among the crops above?


  1. On , Joey wrote:

    I vote for framed tryptic… of course the most expensive choice. I would be willing to go with the unframed depending on the $$$. I’ll leave it to you to decide on the crops. Too many decisions for Pillo!!

  2. On , Chris wrote:

    I like the framed dyptic the best of the four options.

    Of the crops, I like B2 the best, then A3/C3, then C4.

  3. On , Petie wrote:

    I don’t follow the difference between a tryptic and a dyptic. Joey and Chris apparently did, but I don’t get it. :( I do like C4 the best. My next favorite would be C3. I like the suprising splash of red in the corner. Would you have to modify the colors at all with that one? I think it would be pretty to transfer to canves and stretch it without a frame. If you figure out how to do this, lemme know!

  4. On , Maria wrote:

    Dyptic is a set of two… Tryptic, a set of three.
    Good point about the conversion to red for C3. I also think the red spot is part of its charm. I’d have to think about that one…

  5. On , Danny wrote:

    Canvas tryptic


  6. On , Petie wrote:

    Definitely three. That’s one thing my mom taught me that stuck – always go with odd numbers in art. :)

  7. On , Jennifer wrote:

    Totally prefer either of the tryptic… I feel slightly better about the canvas (no frame).

    The three balance better to your headboard and really let the green of the wall flow around each piece and blend with the complementary red. Very nice choice.

    BTW, of your first set of crops, I liked 3 and 4. #3 has a little peek of redish-orange that is intriguing. #4 has great contrast of depth. I wouldn’t ignore those pieces.


  8. On , Maria wrote:

    Jennifer: So C3, and ?… #4 from which column?

  9. On , Maria wrote:


    I really want to try printing on fabric for a “canvas” look (in this or other project), but I wasn’t sure of how to do it. My initial idea was to attempt a transfer with iron-on paper, but I’m dubious about the quality of that. And just this morning, Photojojo (an awesome site I found and subscribed to recently) published what seems to be the solution.

    Damn! they sold out already… Hopefully “Robertos” has it.

  10. On , Jennifer wrote:

    I meant that if you were to look at a tryptic of your (as you stated) poor attempt during an art class… You have “A B C” across the top and “1 2 3 4” going down.

    I liked the three in row three across as a tryptic as well as the three in row 4 across.


  11. On , Maria wrote:

    Ah! I see… I arranged the crops in a matrix layout, not attempting to compose the tryptic/dyptic sets yet. But I can see why you saw each row as a “finished” tryptic option. Cool.

  12. On , Marla wrote:

    I saw them the same way before I red Jennifer’s comments.

    I like the darkness/moodiness of row 4.

    I like Tryptic 3 of your mockups. The frames also look good but look more romantic because they’re finished looking. It’ s like passionate fire but a controlled burn. I like the uncontrolled burn of the canvas only versions.:)

  13. On , Petie wrote:

    heh, that’s funny. I have to confess that I didn’t look at your mockups of the bedroom. I asked how Chris knew the difference between tryptic and dyptic and he said he figured it out from the link. So, I went back to look at the link and I have to say I like the frames in this case better. I’m suprised. I like how the white of the matte matches the bedding. It fits better. I do like the red hues with the green wall, but it needs that matte in there to break it. Just my opinion. :)

  14. On , Mafe Maria wrote:

    Canvas tryptic, it is…