The Art Makeover: Starting with an UnBlank Canvas


This painting does not look like me.

It needs the art equivalent of some sun-kissed highlights, extensions…maybe some false lashes? It lacks my spirit and what i have come to recognize as my artistic voice.

Here it is after a makeover.


ahhhhh…..that feels better. Amazing what a little primping can do.

And thank goodness a canvas is ultimately always“blank.”

i’ve undertaken the task of hanging some of my artwork around my house lately. The walls are fairly bare considering the fact that i create artwork every single day of my life. But when i look through my stacks of stored paintings and unfinished ones collecting dust from a year or more ago, i realize my voice has changed….or formed; not sure i really HAD a voice a couple years back. i was so busy doing work for others, i rarely had time to consider what my own personal aesthetic looked like. i mean, today i would never hang the things i made years ago. They don’t feel like ME at all.

But in the spirit of renewal, recycling and maybe a little philosophical “i shouldn’t forget where i came from” attitude, i’ve decided to revamp and rework my older pieces into things i’d want on my walls today, and share some of the progress with you…’s another:



It’s very free-feeling. Like….i can’t mess it up! It can only get better, right?

i think i like the idea of working on a canvas that has color from the start, instead of the scary, blank, white space that stares you down.

It feels like an opportunity and a challenge.

You should try it! See what you can build on last year’s foundations. And share some links here so we can all be inspired by your interpretation of an Art Makeover.

17 thoughts on “The Art Makeover: Starting with an UnBlank Canvas

    1. hi chelsea! yes…paint pens…they’ve become a new obsession. the ones i used in the blue painting are the new oil based opaque sharpies! i figured they’d lay down nicely considering the original painting was done in oils. i am such a detail-illustrator/painter, that thin brushes and markers and pencils and paint pens are my GO-TO tools! ; )

  1. I love this. I do this, too, with my jewelry. I have a bin of not finished jewelry that lost its way. So, I either pull it back apart or add something to make it better or whatever. If I made something and then decide I hate it, it goes in that bin. I never take anything apart right away just in case. Sometimes you get a fresh look at it and realize that there is a way to fix it, change it, or add to it (like with your paintings). If I torn it back apart, I would be starting over from scratch. But if I leave it together, I can at least have a starting point.

  2. I have at least a half dozen canvases around my place that I’ve been meaning to do something like this to. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation to take that next step.

  3. Hi Chelsey, This is so inspiring and beautiful.

    I am quilter not a painter, but this reminds me a lot of quilting on fabric using various threads.

    This is so beautiful that it makes me want to sit in front of a sewing machine and just paint with threads.
    Thanks for the post.


  4. Oh, Stephanie…I got giddy when I saw this post! I’ve been doing the same thing for the past month — I call it my Extreme Makeover: Canvas Edition project.

    It is an opportunity and a challenge.

    Someone commented on my blog that it broke their heart a little to see my work getting painted over at first…but like you said, I really and truly felt like going in that I could only make the paintings better.

    I like what you’ve done. They’re definitely more you!

  5. oh, I just love these transformations! I’m taking Get Your Paint On right now…it’s my first experience with painting. And this process of layering is a foundational process they’re teaching. It’s so wonderful to see it in action here!

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