Sunday, January 29, 2012

LOVE Canvas: In the Style of Robert Indiana

So I have been meaning to come up with a semi sculptural piece as a nod to Robert Indiana.

With Valentine's Day on the horizon I got my chance.

All of us have seen this "LOVE" arrangement at some time or another but do not realize it's Pop Art origins. Indiana continues to build on and explore use of his iconic work.  Last year he created a version for Google (search page) to display on Valentine's Day.

Now I didn't tilt my "O" like Indiana as it just didn't work with the canvas as well as the fact that my "O" is quite circular.  An oval "O" would tilt better.


- air dry clay, I used La Doll
- pre primed canvas, (I get mine by the 10 pack when they are on sale at Michaels) or you can use a piece of heavy cardboard
- paper towel
- small amount of water
- acrylic paint
- white gel pen
- fine black sharpie
- Aleene's Tacky glue
- Mod Podge


Before sculpting I took a piece of cardboard and cut a square that was the size of the letter I wanted.  This help me measure as I went along.

Pull a chunk of clay from the package. ( You can also recreate this in natural clay and fire it in the kiln, making a slab for the letters to rest on.)

Form your letters.  use a small amount of water if needed to help smooth out any cracks.
For this project my letters were about 1 cm or 1/2 an inch thick.

Once you have all your letters completed leave them to dry on a paper towel.

Drying time will vary but air dry clay will take about 24 hrs.

Paint your canvas or cardboard substrate.

I used acrylic paint.

Paint your clay letters.  I wanted mine to have a bandanna type design so I basecoated them in different colors.

Once dry I used a white gel pen and a fine black sharpie to make my designs.

Glue to your canvas or cardboard with tacky glue.

Finally you can add a coat of Mod podge to help seal and really secure those letters to the canvas.
That's it.  This project can be easily modified into a paint and paper composition if you are short on time.  Pop art is always a hit with the kids and be sure to check out more of Robert Indiana"s work.

See you next time.


  1. Hi Gail,

    I love your blog!
    I love all your creativity, using different materials.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!


  2. Wow - another great idea. I am a big fan. I am going to have to try this one out.

  3. Love the paper crafting, great ideas that I can even apply to my personal!

  4. I'd like to try this with my art class, but I've not done a lot of work with clay. About how many letters or projects could you make with a pound of clay? Also, do you think sculpey would work as well as the air dry clay? I have 17 students, so I'd prefer air-dry, but I could bake them, too.
    Thanks...I really enjoy your blog and have borrowed a number of your projects!

  5. You have an OUTSTANDING blog which I love and use a LOT! Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate you and all you do and would write more if I had more energy after a full teaching day lol x