Sound Wave Painting

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My original idea for this project was to copy the sound waves of a song onto a canvas, but this proved much more difficult than I thought. I should start by admitting that I absolutely cannot paint. I can splatter some paint of a canvas or paint some random patches, but I’d be surprised if I can even paint a respectable tree. Because of my lack of painting skills, I googled some ideas to get me started, and I found some amazing examples on Apartment Therapy. This became the inspiration for my idea, and although my painting did not match the image in my head, I’m still happy with the outcome.

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For this project, you will need a canvas (or two), paint, brushes, and an idea of what sound waves you plan to create. I used two 12 X 12 canvases because I believed it should look longer, and they were the only size canvases I had. In the beginning, I opened “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver in the computer program Audacity to get an idea of what I was going to paint. I printed it out with the intent of painting what I saw, but I ended up making things up as I went when I realized the difficulty in it.

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Start by deciding what color you want the background to be. Personally, I like the look of color on black, so I painted the whole canvas black, and let it dry. Then I chose a very dark blue to paint the sound waves because I wanted the colors to fade lighter and brighter. When that was dry, I mixed a lighter shade of blue and slightly painted over the dark blue, hoping it would create a shadowy look. To make most of the sound waves, I just used a small brush to paint lines really close together. Once that dried, I mixed an even lighter shade and painted my next round over the sound waves.

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After some time, I went over the last color with another coat where I needed. Lastly, I painted the sides of the canvas black to match the rest of the background. One piece of advice I can offer is to make sure you’re painting in a straight line. I had to paint over part of my canvas when I realized how crooked it was becoming. Also make sure that if you are using two canvases, the lines line up from canvas to canvas. When it’s all dry, hang it up, but be sure to measure it beforehand so that the canvases line up when hung on the wall.

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