Posted in Mixed Media Art

DIY Recycling of an old painting…a test piece!

Well I’ve been pondering doing mixed media this year as I’ve really missed making a mess!  I am still doing my digital art, but it’s taking a bit of a back seat for a while.

While I was tidying up my ‘art’ I looked through a pile of paintings I had done many years ago when I first started oil painting after a long break.  I found this one and thought I might be able to do something with it.

This was an attempt at doing a copy of a ‘masters’ painting and while it didn’t turn out bad, it wasn’t exactly a brilliant copy.  It was painted on canvasette so it is kind of a mix between canvas and paper, so quite easy to cut up.

I basically cut out the entire black background and left just her face and some hair.

So what next?  I figured I would just be silly and try and do a collage using home made bits and pieces – there is no budget to buy all the fancy stuff, but I did splurge on my ‘Gelli’ plate as I am really interested in doing some printing.

My next problem was what was I going to ‘stick’ her on?  I rummaged through some other old art and found an 11 x 14 inch canvas, plus a discarded 14 x 18 inch canvas.  One would be the background, the other I would use for her.

The idea behind this wasn’t so much to create a masterpiece, but merely to try out some DIY techniques and maybe create something I might hang in my art room, as I haven’t really put up anything new for a few years.

So….how did it turn out?  This is how she finally ended up!

So here’s what I did:
(Not in any order as I had to wait for the Gelli plate to make some paper to print the little quotes on).
  • Covered the larger canvas with a double layer of brown paper and stuck it down with hot glue as the canvas had oil paint on it and I figured it would stick easier.  I then sponged on a mix of paints  – creamy pink, white and a watercolour “Indian Red”. I also used a bit of gold to get a little beige going on.
  • I used almost the same colours on the smaller canvas, and as this only had acrylic paint on it, I simply did a layer of Gesso first.  I added some textured paper and cut out bits prior to doing the paint job.
  • I covered her dress with a lovely glittery ribbon (partly see through so you can still see the layers.)
  • I made all the larger flowers from paper, used watercolours to paint them, a water colour pencil to edge them (I don’t have any ink pads!), and then added a button and pearl combo for the centres.
  • The little flower is just a couple of tiny material roses stuck together and then hand painted a few times.   While you may not see it in this photo, they all have a gold shimmer spray on them which I did by mixing gold craft acrylic paint and water in a small spray bottle.
  • Her earring is made from some kind of plastic foamy thing I found – painted it silver and cut it out, adding a pearl and a rhinestone dot for interest.
  • The string is simply from my stash used to tie up chicken for cooking, and I soaked it in some tinted water.
  • The little word things are just printed from my computer onto a piece of paper I did using my gelli plate.  I edged those with a water colour pencil (again, no ink pads).
  • The flower bottom right, and the tree upper left are simply cut out from an old postcard.  The butterflies are from cardstock and painted over.  (I bought a little bag of them from a fellow ETSY store).
So glue gun, white glue, little sticky things, a huge mess and several hours later – over a few days – this is where it’s at.  I would have liked to have done more, but figure I will save all that for a proper piece which I hope to start planning soon.  I’m happy with it and it’s going to be hanging in my art room as soon as it’s all dried out.
I would like to get some feathers, crepe paper and perhaps a couple of ink pads and other things I can’t really make myself, but as I’ve found some ‘home made’ recipes for things like texture paste – which by the way works great as I tried making a few things to see how they turned out, I am quite happy to be a bit more DIY for now.
Anyway, hope you like it  I am certainly happier to hang this than the original painting itself! Ha! 



Self taught artist back living in New Zealand after more than a decade of living in Canada. Starting over in more ways than one but always up for the challenge!

4 thoughts on “DIY Recycling of an old painting…a test piece!

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