Compass Rose Painting on a floor

The cottage retreat weekend was jam packed with my plans for various art projects.

One thing I wanted to be sure that I got done was the image of a compass rose on the top floor, requested by my dad a couple years ago.

He did insist that I didn’t need to use my retreat time to do it, but really there was no better time! Having the place to myself with no foot traffic or family obligations was exactly what I needed to get it finished. It was a fun way to get the retreat started. Milo, my cat, was curious as ever, and liked to be in the thick of things at all times. This is a bit of a wide angled shot, it seems to make the room look a lot bigger than it actually is.

The first step I needed to perform was establishing the center for the entire project. I had to visualize a giant circle on the floor and guess approximately where the center would be. Using yarn and a measuring tape, I measured 4 feet across, keeping the center around halfway. I used a large embroidery needle and stuck it into the floor as a marker, and also as an anchor to tie a string to make it easier to trace concentric circles around the center.

The next and probably most frustrating task was to establish where North was. I had an app on my phone that told me where magnetic North was located, and then I also had Google Sky. My dad wanted True North, and not Magnetic North. So this was a debate with me and myself and occasionally my dad through texts, trying to see where North would actually point. It was extremely frustrating, but eventually I found it to the best of my abilities.

Once all of the sketching was done, I laid down some painter’s tape to get clean edges for the straight lines. I made a point of really taking my time so I only had to do this once, carefully, and not having to go back or do anything over. I was mostly successful. Milo did run over the painting a couple times but only after it had fried, thankfully.

Then once all of those were finished, I had to paint the circles by hand. I didn’t have a nifty tool like the painter’s tape for those! The circle painting was probably the hardest part of making the design. Especially since my hand painted lines were not nearly as neat and sharp as the ones made with painter’s tape. But you do what you can! It looks good from far away at least.

After the circles came designing the letters. First I opened a new Photoshop file and started to test different fonts. I ended up making my own versions of the letters found in this one font. I made it a little curlier and more dramatic. Then I added more detail to the whole thing, and was also cleaning up a lot at the time. I added some accents with some gold paint that I got for Christmas a couple years ago.

Overall it was a very fun project, and I hope I get to do another one again someday. Painting unusual surfaces is becoming a bit of a passion for me. So many things to consider, so many fun challenges!

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