Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rescued Canvas Family

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
 -  Scott Adams

When I read Robyn Thayer's post about "embracing the suck" and what we can learn from making bad art, I knew exactly what she was talking about.  These sad little canvases have been on a shelf in my studio for over a year , mocking me every time I see them.  I had such high hopes; I even bought little display stands for them.  Somewhere between the concept and the execution the canvases veered off the track, firmly into suck territory!

It's rather embarrassing to share these, but there's no way to move forward without "embracing the suck" and there's plenty of that here!   Anyway, not quite sure what happened to these - clearly the colors don't work, the wavy texture doesn't work, the black swirls don't work, the red heart is wobbly, but other  than that, these are great - HA !

I couldn't throw them out.  After rescuing some artist papers with a wash of gesso, I decided it was time to stage a canvas rescue.  With just a couple of coats of gesso over the backgrounds, the canvases are already look so much better!

Starting with the formerly blue one, I washed the red heart with some gesso to tone it down more.  I added a rosette made with Tim Holtz tape with a pearl center.  I glued on a piece of text to some artist paper, stamped and embossed "love" and added a bit of lace.  One key hole and a bit of ribbon on top and, eureka! - this is more like what I had planned.

On to the next one - the scary purple one!  Again washed some gesso over the heart, then added a postage stamp, key hole charm and a jewel for some bling.  I pleated some more of the TH tape around one of the outside edges of the heart. The birdie is one of the resist canvases I blogged about earlier - love how the color wash makes the resist pop.  I rubbed some Tattered Rose Distress Ink around the edges to add a bit of color.

And the last one - more gesso, edges again rubbed with Tattered Rose DI.  I used a white gel pen to tone down the black stamped swirls and added a mirrored heart for some bling.  Layered on some stamped, DI'd flowers, a word cut from some artist paper and some ribbon on top.

Good lesson learned here - sometimes things just need some time to mellow and can be rescued from their formerly sucky state.  Of course sometimes things should go directly to the trash - no stopping, no collecting $200, no grace period.  Here's hoping I learn which ones go in each category!


  1. Great rescue. Sometimes we have to keep the bad art to remind us how far we've come, but it's great that we can also revive it to something wonderful.

  2. Good save. I have something that needs rescuing and your work has inspired me to give it a try.

  3. Your intervention work. They now are masterpieces!!!

  4. Mary - Good luck with your rescue. Nothing to lose!!

  5. Thanks, Retta! Miracles do happen - ha!


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