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Don’t Take A Canvas Too Seriously

It’s week 3 of Dina Wakley’s Out of the Journal Challenge,  Paint Party Friday ,  Art Journal Every Day and Frilly & Funkie’s canvas challenge so I needed to get painting.



Started by gluing down old newspaper that protected the table when I was spray inking something.  Don’t remember what I inked but you bet I saved the scrap paper.






A layer of gesso because lately I think everything needs a layer of gesso.  Then I froze.  I began over thinking what to do next.







Stuck for an idea, I started rubber stamping around the edges. The stamping got the canvas moving.   At least I wasn’t stuck anymore.







No inspiration on what to do next so I just started randomly stamping all over it.   Then I started over thinking again.  To thwart that I decided this canvas was going to be finished today- it is just a canvas.  Why did it feel like there were lives hanging in the balance?





A few globs of paint on my fingers and now it was all coming into perspective – all it is a canvas.   Absolutely no idea where this is heading yet but it didn’t matter because there’s paint on my hands.






Painted in a temple with stencil cut on my Silhouette.  Thought it would look different here.  Just as I started obsessing about this I was reminded that the fate of mankind did not hinge on this painting.  Just add more paint.









Green usually works but I just had to laugh at how it did NOT do what I expected here.  No worries- that is what a white oil pastel crayon is for- to push that green way back. Still not popping off the background enough for me- so I added more color.



Still didn’t do enough for me.  Finally it hit me.  I didn’t have any words or text.  Out came the marker.  Now it felt finished.

{ 73 comments… add one }

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  • minnemie August 16, 2012, 9:09 pm

    I love all your layers and to read your thoughts as you go. The piece below is super fun too – cheerios are definitely doughnut seeds, now that I come to think if it;-)

  • Marja August 17, 2012, 3:16 am

    Carolyn this is FANTASTIC. What a great idea and what a clear tutorial with the pictures. You have made a marvelous canvas. Thanks foor this examples.
    Have a nice weekend and lovely greet

  • Monika August 17, 2012, 6:37 am

    Great canvas, I love it! Architecture is a good theme! Love your layers, too – Monika

  • Daire Paddy August 17, 2012, 7:26 am

    Hi Carolyn, found your blog through AJED. I love the way you’ve broken down your process, reading things like this always help inspire me when I get stuck in a rut! I’ll definitely be following your steps next time I’m feeling horrified by a blank canvas.

    D x

    P.S. I LOVE your first layer, the inky newspaper looks so cool!

  • jane w. August 17, 2012, 8:54 am

    this is plain FABULOUS….and thanks for the tut along the way…totally enjoyed it 🙂

  • Janet August 17, 2012, 9:27 am

    A lesson I need to learn too. Thanks for sharing the process. 🙂

  • Carol and artmusedog` August 17, 2012, 9:45 am

    Fun creation and loved how you shared how to put it ‘all in perspective’ for the creating process ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  • Faye August 17, 2012, 10:06 am

    What an amazing transformation! I love the finished results. The colors are perfect. And I love the green, purple and turquoise together.

  • Petrea August 17, 2012, 10:15 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your process! I love your title too “Dont Take a Canvass too Seriously”.

  • Clare August 17, 2012, 10:28 am

    love all the layers you have built up on your canvas. hopped over from dina’s blog to see what everyone has created this week. x

  • Nancy August 17, 2012, 11:12 am

    You ended up with a great piece. I did not know gesso was such a necessity! Makes me think about why I don’t use it more.

  • Marla August 17, 2012, 11:19 am

    I love this canvas, and thanks for sharing your inspiring creative process!!

  • Heather Santos August 17, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Beautiful! Love seeing the progress!

  • gloria August 17, 2012, 12:50 pm

    I love how you are thinking as you are doing the steps. Really a great job. I was surprised how it all came to be, that’s very creative. I don’t know how to do this, but I should give it a stab some time. Thanks for sharing the process, I loved it and your work.

  • Arnoldo L. Romero August 17, 2012, 12:52 pm

    Beautiful! I love how you overcome doubts/creative-blocks by just working through them. I believe that’s the best way to handle them too. Blessings!

  • Debbie August 17, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Great message and beautiful result. I have to say, I kind of liked that green, though. 🙂

  • Annette G August 17, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Terrific fun. Happy PPF, Annette x

  • Mitzi Zohar August 17, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Beautiful! I’m always so impressed by the number of classes that you take. You’re an inspiration!

  • Valerie-Jael August 17, 2012, 3:14 pm

    Love <our journey through the canvas! Valerie

  • Kay Wallace August 17, 2012, 4:16 pm

    Oh, Carolyn, you make it look so easy…just a few steps back when you’re stuck, then several forward. Love that you never just give up! I have a canvas that I have never used….maybe I, too, can do this! My mother did, and I so very much want to…..

  • Bleubeard and ELizabeth August 17, 2012, 4:19 pm

    When I saw this, I was impressed by the old temple and the graffiti. Looks like something you might actually see on one of these buildings now days. This is lovely and so well put together, too.

    BTW, I loved your men. They were darling, especially the one asking the question about the fishing pole.

  • Cris, Artist in Oregon August 17, 2012, 4:30 pm

    Yes its just a canvas. Why do we over think everything. I know I do. Even my journal pages, when I let go it comes out even better. Fun piece and good advice to follow. HPPF.

  • Christine August 17, 2012, 4:32 pm

    very creative work this week!

  • Mary C. Nasser August 17, 2012, 4:41 pm

    What a joy to see your process with your paintings!
    I especially love this work with its incorporation of text and it reminded me of Greece right away!
    Gorgeous colors!
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  • Natasha August 17, 2012, 4:44 pm

    🙂 Loved the process shots, I suffer from overthinking as well! Thanks for sharing.

  • Tracey Fletcher King August 17, 2012, 5:54 pm

    I always feel like i have gotten a little mini lesson and inspirational spurt along when I come here… love seeing your process …xx

  • Andrea August 17, 2012, 6:30 pm

    I love seeing the process, and love the final result here, very loose and free looking!

  • Nora MacPhail August 17, 2012, 6:41 pm

    Cool. Thanks for sharing your process. Very creative. Happy painting.

  • Marji August 17, 2012, 7:13 pm

    I absolutley loved your commentary of your artful journey on this painting! I chuckled and nodded in agreement the entire post. I’m glad in the end that you feel finished as this one took a bit to come together. Great for you for not letting it get you stuck. Happy PPF

  • Jan L. August 17, 2012, 7:58 pm

    Wonderful, fun canvas! To over think:EASY, to NOT over think: HARD! But very good advice and demonstration.

  • Kim Paradiso August 17, 2012, 8:38 pm

    Carolyn, this is just wonderful! I love how you handled the canvas and love the colors too. I have one I have been working on for a while and am stuck…it is sitting off to the side of my room…thanks for your encouragement, gesso has become one of my new best friends! 🙂

  • giggles August 17, 2012, 9:05 pm

    Carolyn I love it!! The colors and process!! All wonderful!! Thanks for sharing…I love the message too!! I needed it!! I’m often way too contrived!!

    Hugs Giggles

  • annie! August 17, 2012, 10:37 pm

    Isn’t it funny how a work of art can be…work? And then when we remind ourselves to just chill and play…well then the kid comes out and has a ball.

  • Rita McGregor August 17, 2012, 11:17 pm

    I love seeing and hearing how you made your progress. You are so right. I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that it’s only a piece of paper (haven’t used canvas yet) and it doesn’t really even matter if I totally ruin it, for goodness sake. 😉

  • Chris August 18, 2012, 1:12 am

    Love your thinking. I’m an over thinker but I like how you deal with this. I’m inspired.

  • dana August 18, 2012, 6:40 am

    love your candor! I posted some similiar thoughts! I used to work in an ER, you are right, no ones life is hanging on our next move! love it!
    cheers, dana

  • Anne August 18, 2012, 8:42 am

    Love your piece, awesome layers and colors!

  • Melisa August 18, 2012, 8:45 am

    This looks like so much fun! I am very tempted to join in with this Out of the Journal thing but I just don’t have the time right now. Darn! This makes me want to get out my paint and play.

  • denthe August 18, 2012, 10:18 am

    Love to see the progress of your painting and your thoughts that accompanied it! So true!

  • Corrine August 18, 2012, 10:20 am

    Scrap paper is always my favorite go to. Love your process and your emotional push into what you are doing always. xox

  • Carly August 18, 2012, 11:22 am

    AWESOME! I especially love seeing your process. As an art journaling newbie, I love seeing how other people approach their pages.

  • lynn cohen August 18, 2012, 11:23 am

    I think it is so interesting that one can glom on so much STUFF to a page and then in the end only tiny parts peek thorough and you wind up with such an interesting and beautiful piece of art! amazing journey! Fantastic outcome. HPPF!

  • Karen Smithey August 18, 2012, 1:56 pm

    I love it–the fate of the world does not hang in the balance–it is just a canvas. Yay! I’ve been working to loosen up and remember that I can paint over anything (go gesso!) and just have fun.

  • Buttons August 18, 2012, 4:40 pm

    I love this canvas and adore the fact that you panicked/put things into perspective all the way through. I just do the panic bit, but will now follow your lead. It’s not life and death! It’s a craft project! Thank you for the reality check, your crafting inspiration and your lovely comment. Hugs, Buttons x

  • Apple August 18, 2012, 6:44 pm

    Canvas scares me as well…I am forcing myself to work on one here and there so I’m not afraid anymore!

  • Marjie Kemper August 18, 2012, 7:32 pm

    Carolyn, this is fantastic! I love the way you built up the layers and colors, but I love your rationale even more. We DO tend to get so caught up in things and I appreciate your reality check… thanks for the giggle and look in the mirror! So glad you shared your beautiful work with us at Frilly & Funkie this week.

  • denni August 18, 2012, 9:43 pm

    This is lovely Carolyn,
    I love the way you encourage yourself and carry on with the layers and painting. You don’t let it stump you, just stamp or whatever may come. That is what is so inspiring about reading your posts. We get to see a bit of the inner artist and how it weaves its way around the obstacles. A pleasure to read and makes me want to break out the paints.

  • Laura Spano August 18, 2012, 10:30 pm

    I loved hearing you talk your way through this! The canvas came out beautiful- very serene in my eyes. But the commentary was priceless!

  • Paula - Buenos Aires August 19, 2012, 12:05 am

    It´s like being in the studio with you, chatting over coffee (and being careful not to wash our brushes in it 😉 ).

  • Alicia August 19, 2012, 1:51 am

    love the title to your post – I agree! And I love the look of gesso on top of clippings & such – I also really like saving the coloured newspaper

  • Elisa Choi August 19, 2012, 3:53 am

    great work Carolyn:) Love your attitude on working on paintings and for creating in general. It should be like that. Just surrender and trust as you create. Listen. Looking forward to many more paintings from you!

  • Sandra Mouwen August 19, 2012, 6:22 am

    Wauw this is great! love muted colors in the background! Stunning piece. hugs, Sandra

  • Marcie August 19, 2012, 11:32 am

    Love how you’ve taken us thru your process here. Very inspiring!

  • Kristin Van Valkenburgh August 19, 2012, 12:44 pm

    WOWzer! I love it!! Love the addition of the writing and love the step-by-step pictures. Always an inspiration 😉 xoxo

  • Susan August 19, 2012, 5:38 pm

    Great work. Love how you explain each step.

  • trisha too August 19, 2012, 7:19 pm

    Heck yes you saved that paper–me, too!

    Your canvas turned out fantastic. I have tons of canvases, but you know what–I take them too seriously. Something about them being a canvas, instead of just a piece of paper, you know? But you have definitely inspired me to break on out and have a go this week, Carolyn, thank you!!!


  • Scarlett August 19, 2012, 11:19 pm

    I just love seeing your process, it’s so fun to see!! It turned out great!

  • Diana Evans August 20, 2012, 11:30 am

    I love this!!!! wow!!!! amazing work…..Wishing you a super amazing week!!!!

  • Lisa Isabella Russo August 20, 2012, 9:45 pm

    Wow, I love those blues and purples! It is a wonderfully vibrant piece. It was great to see your step by step!

  • froebelsternchen/Art Journal Journey August 21, 2012, 5:22 am


  • Sue W. August 21, 2012, 6:52 am

    Oh wow! I just love all your layers. Beautiful canvas.

  • Sue C August 21, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Fabulous canvas, love how you’ve used the strips of paper you’ve worked on ! Thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie. Sue C x

  • Jessica August 21, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Thanks for your reaction to my resin adventures. Glad you could laugh with me!! I love this post. It is so true that we treat canvas differently than anything else. So often, I have to remind myself to breath because I’ve been holding my breath and my body is so tense. So silly. I, too, like each thing I make to be “good.” I was even starting to get into that frame of mind with my art journal. Sometimes, to get out of this, I work left handed (I’m a righty)… It’s a good reminder. xo

  • Julie August 21, 2012, 7:28 pm

    wonderful message, so very true!

  • JKW August 21, 2012, 8:20 pm

    Good grief I loved your thoughts as you went. I don’t feel quite so alone now. You are so wonderful at teaching how brilliant we can become. Thank you for that. Blessings, Janet PPF

  • Ginny August 22, 2012, 1:47 pm

    I too felt like I was right in the studio with you. Carolyn, you have a gift for teaching. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

  • Marit August 22, 2012, 3:55 pm

    Oh my, you made me giggle – why do we always feel like our lifes are on the line when we make art. I’m glad you could let it loose, and thank you for sharing the story in such a humorous way… I think I can paint now. You ‘saved something’ here, thank you!

  • Jo (fiddlesnips) August 25, 2012, 4:03 pm

    I love this – the temple is such a cool image and the background is fab 🙂

  • Andy August 27, 2012, 5:49 pm

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. I really like your post on creating a canvas. It is really interesting to see how others work process. Yes I agree we can all over think artwork generally. Andy

  • Julia September 1, 2012, 12:40 pm

    Came here via Marjie Kemper’s blog and I’m so glad I did!! Love your page but most of all love your tutorial and your advice is really pertinent to me at present!! I shall be back and I’m off to find somewhere to link up with you.
    Have a great weekend.

    Oooh just made a mess of posting but will try again!

  • kathleen codyrachel March 14, 2013, 5:26 pm

    I love it but even more I love being reminded it’s ONLY canvas – I am not cutting diamonds here!! thanks – I actually may make a sign to hang over my work station – no diamond cutting allowed

  • kathleen codyrachel March 14, 2013, 5:28 pm

    I love it but even more love the comment it’s ONLY canvas – I need to be reminded often I am not cutting diamonds – it’s only a canvas – thanks

    • kathleen codyrachel March 14, 2013, 5:29 pm

      sorry thought first comment didn’t go through –