Friday, 22 January 2016

A Speaking Canvas

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a canvas that captures the heart of words?

Since last November, I've re-adopted my interest in painting. I say "re" because I use to take art lessons and painting throughout grade school for academics and leisure. In my university years, I didn't have time to personally invest in my artistic side aside from the required art/design electives I had to take for my program. So with utmost joy, I can say that I'm delighted to pick up painting again because it's very therapeutic (like adult colouring books), helps me to meditate on a quote or verse, and also makes for a fabulous gift giving idea while exercising my creativity.

I consider myself an entry level painter so I didn't want to invest in anything fancy when I start. All the materials and supplies I used can be picked up at your handy dollar store or at Michaels, but if you are looking for something of better quality then select the latter. Michaels sells canvases in bulk (with a range of sizes) and has a wide selection of paint, brushes and tools. Don't forget to download their 40% coupon before making your purchase! I got my easel for Christmas, but that you can find there as well. It helps aid with my poor posture, and it stabilizes your canvas. Painting on the floor is not something I would recommend based on my own experience.


  • Paintbrushes
  • Canvas
  • Acrylic or watercolour paint
  • Cardboard lid/box as a palette
  • Water
  • Easel (optional)
  • Paper & pencil


1. I almost always start with a quote I want to capture and draft it on paper of how I want it to look-the colours, orientation, style of writing, spacing, and decorative aspects. If I have a theme in mind, I will play with it until I find something that works with my aesthetic.

2. Next I paint my background. I usually enjoy the time it takes to mix my own colours as opposed from using it straight out of the bottle. Make sure you mix enough for the size of the canvas you are using. In this case, more is better as it will be harder to mix the exact same shade when you need more paint.

3. Once the background dries, I paint the decorative motifs. If the elements are outside the quote, its best to do this first prior to the quote itself to make sure you allot enough space for all of it to fit.

4. With a wet brush, I sketch out the placement of my quote. This allows me to see if the quote will fit, how it will be positioned, and if I need to make any adjustments without ruining the other elements I've painted.

4. The first time around, I tend to go slow and with a light hand in case I make a mistake.

5. After going over the words 2-3 times, depending on how intense you want it, I usually decide at this point if I need to add anything else to the canvas to fill up the negative space. I like my canvases simple in order to draw focus to the verse I'm capturing. But as you can see here, I added more feathers and colouring to bring out more details while maintaining a consistent motif.

6. Let your canvas dry and voila! I like to date the back of my canvas and write a personalized message if I am giving the canvas away.

Making a canvas is a wonderful hobby to do for yourself, but it's also a fabulous social event too. So be sure to call up some friends the next time you plan to do some painting!

xo Sarah

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