craft · diy · Home Decor

The Behind the Scenes Secrets of 2019 Auction Art

I have been doing auction art for about 5 years now.  What is auction art, you ask?  Every year our elementary school has an auction to raise money for the school.  One big component of that is making art with the students and then selling it at the auction!

I love it!

Why do I love it?  I get to create fine art with the kids and make it look FABULOUS!  So fabulous that it is going to go up on someone’s wall in someone’s home!  That’s amazing!

But lots of people are intimidated by having to create auction art. 

Tip 1: Find inspiration!

Often my inspiration is a fine piece of art I have found on Pinterest, or Instagram or in a magazine.  I look for art that looks somewhat childlike because ultimately, the children do the creating!  I just pull it all together!

Tip 2: Copy exact!

There are lots of pieces out there that you literally can get the kids to make all the pieces and you put it together to look like the inspiration piece.

This year, I have one that is an inspiration piece and one that was a copy exact.

Art Piece #1: Hearts Galore, the Inspiration Piece

There is an artist I found on Instagram that I just LOVE!  Her creations are fun, current, and modern with a touch of whim.  Her name is Kerri Rosenthal.  She does a lot of pieces that feature hearts so I thought, perfect!  I will have the kid paint hearts…and that is what we did.

Step 1: the kids painted recycled book pages with different palettes of paint.  While the background was drying, I had them practice painting the outline of a heart on a scratch piece of paper.  Once the bookpage was dry, I gave them all a dab of black paint and instructed them to paint a heart around their 3 favorite areas on their page.

Step 2: I cut out MY FAVORITE heart from their page 🙂 (See!  The adult has total control over the piece!  I confess… on a few, I may have painted a heart around my favorite part of their painted pages and used that heart…but it was still their paint and brushstrokes in the background. 🙂 ) 

Step 3: Arrange the hearts on a canvas, making sure to have good color balance. (Note: I bought a framed canvas from Homegoods that was on SALE, and used that for the base of the art piece!)

Step 4: Glue on the hearts.


I used wax paper to press and smooth out the hearts onto the canvas.

Step 5: Add texture around the hearts.  I bought molding paste to build up some texture around the hearts.  This product goes on opaque white so this also helped cover up the original artwork on the canvas that I didn’t want to show in the end.

Step 6: Paint over the texture and around the hearts with white acrylic paint.  This really made the kids art POP! 

Art Piece #2: Olivia Orange, Copy exact

In a kitchen remodel magazine article, I spotted this African lady art and I knew I just HAD TO MAKE HER!  Whether it was for me or for the auction…I had to make her.

Step 1: I used the same “set up” technique I did with the first art piece: hearts galore.  I had the kids paint specific color palettes.  I looked at the original art and wrote little instructions on the different paint palettes.  For example: one paint palette would have 2 shades of orange with instructions to “Paint all orange with light orange spots”.  Or a pink and blue paint palette that said, “Paint background pink and paint 2 long stripes of blue over the top of the pink.”

Step 2: Cut out the pieces from the kids papers to form the facial features, the oranges in the bowl and the leaves of the oranges.

Step 3: Arrange the pieces on your background. I had matting board cut to the size of a frame I bought at Homegoods for around $20.

Step 4: Notice the “gold” painted strokes of the inspiration piece in the first photo?  I painted similar strokes on the matte board before the next step.

Step 5: Glue all the pieces in place. (I used the same archival glue I used in the first art piece.)

And here’s the final piece.  What do you think?

Don’t you just LOVE both the pieces?!  I really didn’t want to give either of them away!!! Luckily, we “won” the first Art piece: Hearts Galore.  The second, I lost in the LAST SECONDS of the auction!  Grrrrr!!!!!  Guess I will just have to make my own!

My parting advise to making Auction Art is DON’T BE SCARED!  Make it about the KIDS!  They just LOOOOVE creating these beautiful pieces.  It’s such a rewarding way for them to come together and give back to their school.

Now…no more art talk…back to laundry and dishes.

Happy art-making!!!

xo, Melis

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