I’ve had this flower painting that was a mass produced piece originally from Pier 1 imports for many years. I quite like the shape and the style, however after having it in my home for several years the colour was just not singing to me any longer. But I didn’t want to get rid of it. I still liked the design. I had read on Pinterest, of course, about how to update store bought art with some acrylic paint. I thought it was a great idea. I mean I’m not dealing with Rembrandt or a Warhol or some other famous artist, or even somebody who is far better at painting than I am. I would never touch someone’s original artwork. But these mass produced printed on canvas pieces get scooped up at the big box stores by people decorating their homes. And in such a disposable society they no sooner have everything the way they want it in their home and they are ready to change for the next fad. I’m not much of a fad person. I like the colours I like I like the style that I like and I typically don’t follow decorating rules. I just go with my instinct. Basically I decorate for me and for my family without a care for what other people outside of my home think. OK admittedly I don’t even really take my family into account very often. My husband always says he likes what I like as long as I like it.
These mass produced framed canvases can be picked up for pennies, if Canada still had pennies. Have a look around at your big box thrift store ( you know which one I mean) or any other thrift store, Facebook marketplace, the local dumpster… Basically just keep an eye open for one in the size that you like or with a style that you might like but you don’t like the color. Don’t spend a lot. $50 is too much 25 is too much in my mind. The max I paid is 10. And that one was 4‘ x 4‘ wide.
If you are going to simply do as I did on my first piece and paint by numbers changing the color of the design on the canvas start by giving it a nice dusting maybe use a tack cloth to get any of the grime off of it. Then just grab your paint brushes and go to town and have fun with it. There’s no right or wrong right way to do it. Follow the lines of what you’re painting or don’t. Or follow some of them and paint over others. It’s your canvas to play with. Enjoy it. Whatever your creative mind liked will work.
For my piece, I went to my craft room, grabbed some of my favorite colours, sat on the floor with this giant canvas and started just plugging away. It started to take on a much more pleasant tone for me. I thought I would just start with a few petals. I didn’t imagine that the whole day would go by. It was so satisfying and enjoyable to just follow the lines but in my own way. Next thing I knew six hours had almost gone by and I was still at it. I had forgotten the morning dishes, making the beds, getting dressed, eating… I truly lost myself in the process.
I really do love paint. I paint furniture, ornaments that I don’t like the colour of, walls of my house, lamps, ceramic vases, pretty much anything that will accept paint is fair game to me.
I found that I really enjoy the process and I wasn’t so bad at the brushstrokes. I’ve never attempted anything like this before. Art was so new to me.
Before my 50s I never ever tried to paint a thing. I just didn’t feel like I had any talent at all. I was good with writing and other crafts.
Since I was diagnosed in 2017 with Parkinson’s disease, I have had an awakening of my creative self. This happens to many people with Parkinson’s and the only thing I can explain for it is that as we deteriorate physically our creative side of our brain steps in and get stronger
Since Painting over this sort of paint by numbers piece, I have picked up many other mass produced pieces of art and painted over them. However in those circumstances I painted over the entire thing with white and created something new and original of my own making. Usually I do the basecoat white but sometimes I’ll add a little color if I already know which way I’m going to go. I let that dry and then sit back and release my creative mind.
My husband has enjoyed so much my work that he bought me this incredibly beautiful large easel. It’s a little too big for my talents and probably more money than he should’ve spent but it was such a lovely thought and now it sits in a good spot in my craft area where I get northern light. I can just park myself in that spot for hours a day playing with paint and cheap canvases.
If you are interested in trying your hand at this kind of artwork it is just so simple. Grab a canvas that you either like the design or not. Cover over top of it with a base coat of your choosing. Let that dry. And then start painting. If you don’t like it you can paint over it again and start from scratch, which I have done several times on several pieces.
Once you are satisfied and complete your work grab some spray varnish to protect the paint from drying out and chipping off.
Some of my favourite works hang in my home. Some of my others have gone to friends or family members who liked them a lot.
And the big flower painting hangs in my bedroom where I can view it while I am resting in the bed. It makes me happy. It also reminds me that sometimes you just need to take a chance and try something new. You never know where it will take you but isn’t it satisfying and exciting to find out.