Lael’s Canvas

Lael’s Canvas

I’ve had this huge canvas for probably over a year now.  I always had plans to put her name on it and an all-too-perfect quote for her from Dr. Seuss:  The more that you read, the more that you know, the more that you learn, the more places you will go.  There are plenty of other awesome Dr. Suess quotes, but this one seems to have been tailor made for Lael.  Anyway, then I noticed all the amazing mixed media canvasses here and there online and decided that I wanted to combine this mixed media art with her name and the quote.  But, I was a bit overwhelmed by the beauty of it all.  So, I started a Pinterest board to keep track and be inspired.  However, the more amazing canvasses I found the harder it was to get started on my own!  Anyway, we had a long weekend for President’s Day and Lael had Todd building her a loft bed, so I figured it was as good a time as any!


I started out with a huge blank canvas.   After printing out all the canvasses on my Pinterest board for inspiration as I worked  and after staring at the blank canvas for 10 minutes or so, I decided I would start out by drawing out the frame that would feature Lael’s name.  Next step was to figure out the placement of the quote.  Ah-ha — I’ve started.  Getting started was the hard part it seems!  I had these amazing papers and alphabets I got from The Digi Chick.  They are from the Altered Bohemian kit designed by Jenn at Joyful Heart Designs.  Next I just had to figure out how best to arrange them on the canvas.

Enter Mod-Podge – This is the point where my table started to get a teeny-tiny bit messy, but not nearly as bad it was when I was finished three days later!  When I use Mod-Podge I always water it down a bit so that it is easier to brush on.  I keep any left-overs in an old cold cuts container.  It will keep for a pretty long time!  After I had positioned the papers like I wanted them, I started to brush on the Mod-Podge.  Brush and smooth, brush and smooth, brush and smooth and repeat about a zillion times!  Then I still found bubbles.  I used a roller, I used my fingers, I used my palm and then when it was finally all smoothed out I walked away for a few minutes to let it dry.  When I came back, what do you know?  More bubbles, I guess the canvas or paper had to burp or something.  I tried to use the roller and it peeled up some of the paper – EEEeeeekk!  I found that if I glopped on more Mod-Podge with my fingers and smoothed it out carefully I was able to coax the bubble out to the side and release it.

The fun part was next – letting loose with the creativity.  Again, I went back to my Pinterest board, I googled Mixed Media Art, I went to the gallery at 2Peas and  Finally, I decided to just go with it.  I got busy throwing paint and stuff on the canvas that I forgot to take pictures as I went.  Basically, I divided the canvas into 4 art areas.  Bottom right is where I started.  I Mod-Podged (Is that a real word?!?) some book pages on first, used a pasta strained as a stencil and painted on some polka dots, added some tissue paper for texture and stamped some flowers, and oh yeah – the pink paint.  That might have been overkill, the pink was just a bit too pink!!! I had to tone it down with some watered down pale pale hardly any pink at all pink paint.  By then it wasn’t quite so eye-searing Pepto Bismol pink!

Bottom right corner was next.  I cut some book pages into squares and Mod-Podged (if that isn’t a word, it will be by the time I am finished with this post!) them.  Onto some of them I glued circles cut from the polka dot paper I had left over from the first layer I put on the canvas.  Onto others I just painted random stuff, squiggles, dots, a flower, stars, squares, swirls…….

Top right corner – When I got to this corner it was nearly lunch time and I don’t work well on an empty stomach.  I needed fuel to keep the creativity flowing…….All I could come up with was a couple of stencils stuck in the corner of the canvas.  Then I added some definition stickers I drug out of my very old stash.  B-O-R-I-N-G……After lunch I came back and took a second look and decided that paint splatters would definitely help!  I mean what does not look better with paint splatters?  Huh?  Can you think of anything??  As I splatter painted the corner of the canvas I also inadvertently splattered the table, wall and part of the rug.  Ooops, they probably DID look better without paint splatters!  Oh well, it is my Happy Place and if I can’t splatter a little paint in there I might need to re-name it!

The top left I had originally planned to paint a sun, but the bottom corners were still bothering me, I thought they needed another layer of fun added.  On the left bottom side, I added a house.  I started out with a book page body of the house and a triangle roof cut from more left over 1st layer paper and Mod-Podged both of them on.  Next I added some map printed tissue paper to give it texture and a door cut from left over 1st layer paper.  I don’t know how I ended up with two doorknobs!  I swear I only painted one!  The door was kind of getting lost in the map printed tissue paper, so I added some definition stickers from Making Memories that I’ve had in my stash for a very long time.  For the windows I used parts from another digital file I downloaded from The Digi Chick called Brady’s Bits and Pieces. After getting the house like I wanted it, my attention shifted to the flowers next to the house. I wasn’t thrilled with them. They seemed sad and lonely. I had to remedy that! I gathered up all the flower stamps I have, foam and rubber included. I got any pigment ink color that I thought would add a pop of happy and went to work making a garden outside of the house. I was worried that the heat gun would make the mod-podged papers buckle and it probably would have if I had held it in any one place too long. I did see the pink paint start to bubble at one point and that’s when I decided to keep the heat gun in motion and not in any one spot for too long.

Back to the bottom right corner – This one was easy!  I just cut out some of the flowers from a couple of the beautiful papers from the Altered Bohemian kit and some stems from the paper as well. I added tissue paper behind the stems for texture and then Mod-Podged them on at varying heights.

Top left corner – finally ready to paint the sun.  I started out with a template and penciled in the outline.  At that point I decided to go with flower instead of sun and then I got so carried away painting the layers of the flower that I forgot to take pictures until I was up in the very corner and smeared on some tinted modeling paste.  I used a comb to add some texture to the modeling paste but decided I didn’t really like that.  I dug out a tiny flower stamp and tested it out.  You couldn’t tell it was a flower but I liked the texture it left.  In the middle of the flower on some of the layers I added polka dots, I used watercolor pencils to outline part of the design and used some textured paint to fill in some areas.

At this point I was back at the top right corner and creativity was waning – again! And yet again – The Digi Chick came to the rescue. I printed out some of the banners from the Brady’s Bits and Pieces file and mod podged them along the top of the canvas and across the lame doilies.  I then went in search of birds.  I found these adorable little guys from a kit called Sweet Songs created by Viva Artistry.  It is kind of weird that I like to use birds in my scrapbooking and even in decorating my house, but birds in real life sort of freak me out.  Not just one bird, that is fine – it is when there is a flock of them flying overhead that I start to feel edgy, I don’t know why!  Anyway, I added the bird and banner and now I like this part of the canvas. Oh, and I also used a heart doily as a stencil to add another layer and more depth.

Finally – I had the canvas like I wanted it to be, it felt full and rich and DONE!  I just need to add the frame for Lael’s name and call it TOTALLY DONE.  But, a plain frame just looked so darn well, plain sitting there on top of all those fun layers and stuff that I had to do something to it.  I got my circle stamps and gathered all the same pigment inks that I used for the garden plus a few more and made quick work of adding 108 or so circles to the frame!  I could only do about 5-7 before I was afraid the pigment ink would get too dry and not grab the embossing powder, so it was slow-go!  After I got the frame covered in circles I just free-handed her name onto it with a black Zig marker.  Last part was firguring out exactly where I wanted the words from the quote and getting them stuck down.  Also, I need to pick a different adhesive for those because double sided sticky tape is not working!

I decided to add some ribbon from my stash of May Arts Ribbon to finish off the edges of the canvas.  The hard part was choosing which ribbon to use!  I just used my hot glue gun to attach it to the edge of the canvas, then I gave the ribbon a twist to add a little pouf so that it would stand up a bit and not lie flat against the canvas.

Here is the final product with close-up shots of each portion.

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