Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Use What We Have: Ugly Craiglist Canvas

I rolled a rough coat of white over the sparkly gold painting. Elise added yellow to cover the birds.

Then we mixed up a few shades of sky and grass. Spring colors.

Preschoolers don't compose abstract art, but their natural style can look quite contemporary.

Elise loves to draw circles, so that's what she painted--smeared, overlapping, fast, slow.

I loaded the brush, and she kept circling.

After an hour, she stood back, surprised. "I painted bubbles! A world of bubbles!"

Is it any better than the piece we painted over? Does it matter?

I love its grand scale and the life it breathes into what is, after all, our living room.

Watching her sweet face, so intent, then so proud...

...absolutely worth the mess. Every last drip.

For a true story about the power of art and expression, visit the Journey With Grace: Autism, Art, and All The Rest Of Life.

139 comments:

Shannon@Idylwild said...

I love it! And Elise looks like she's enjoying every second of it:) You're raising real artists!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Your blog makes me so happy....i love your ideas!

Edi said...

Fantastic idea! Small new canvases can be expensive...I'll have to keep my eye out for a large FRAMED canvas for the kids to paint over.

I have to admit the before picture was hard to look at :)

Hadley said...

I love it! MUCH better than the first, and so personal and special to boot!

Summer said...

That is such a wonderful idea!! I love it... thank you so much for sharing!

Christina said...

Love it!! The colors are beautiful with the yellow wall. It *is* huge. It didn't look that big in the first picture.

A wonderful world of bubbles, painted by your very own artist.

Brigid said...

Love. Love. Love it! How special for your daughter.

Amanda said...

I love it, and I love the idea. It looks AMAZING on that yellow wall. Now I'll spend all summer hunting for ugly canvases. Did you use acrylic paint, or just latex on hand? You didn't mention priming -- did you use a primer?

Bee said...

I like Elise's much, much better! What a great idea?!

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

We just used house paint.

First, we used a mini roller and rouhgly rolled a coat of white/off-white over the original painting.

You have to be careful not to add too much new paint, or the canvas gets heavy and sags.

You could still see the dark birds and their beady little eyes through the white, so I let Elise paint yellow in the center portion.

Then we used a combination of some fifty-cent quarts of paint from Habitat and a tube of aqua blue craft paint on the remainder.

And because I know someone is going to ask--I DID put an old shirt over her clothes after we did the yellow. We jut got so caught up in the momentum of starting that I forgot to protect her clothes.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

a bulletin board would probably have been a better idea, but this was a last minute idea based on what I had at home!

Love Rhoda--she is the yard sale queen!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing! ~Connie

Shilo said...

Precious! My son would love to do that! :)

Missy K said...

Meredith-- THIS is why I love your blog-- you have the good humor to chuckle at the original purchase, and the head and heart to move forward and make this great moment and object out of it.

Hats off to you, friend!

Diane said...

I love it, and love that her first canvas is so much bigger than she is! What a creative repurposing.

Jenni said...

love it! how fun!!!

Susan said...

I loved these two posts!! After 20 years and 5 kids, I have come a long way in learning how to be relaxed, and not be nuts when things aren't "perfect". And what IS "perfect", anyway?? I laughed out loud at your first post because, trust me, I have family legend stories about rash,silly stuff I have done that no one will ever let me forget about! But you tell Elise that we think her picture is BEAUTIFUL!! My five year old, Emily, was looking over my shoulder as I was reading and exclaimed, "That's pretty, Mama!" Enough said!
God bless, Meredith.
Susan :-)

Lovely Little Nest said...

aw she did such a great job! You have a little artist on your hands :)

Anonymous said...

There must be something wrong with my computer. The last three posts have shown up a day late! The Easter post didn't appear until Tuesday, and the Tuesday posts only today....Anyway, isn't it amazing the creativity chldren display? I think it is because they have no hang-ups or fears, they just really let loose! It's nice.

Lovely Little Nest said...

How much did you pay for the original painting on craiglist? Just wondering :)

Holly said...

What a beautiful transformation! How good of you to "recycle" something into a wonderful masterpiece that your family can be proud of!

Maria said...

I absolutely love it!! What a great idea and you can always change it again if you want.

Alamodey said...

oooh. Doing this next month when I take off the slipcovers, and change up the color palate in my living room for spring/summer.

Emily@remodelingthislife said...

absolutely beautiful, meredith.

50s Housewife said...

Brilliant! I love it!

TJ said...

She did a fabulous job! I think that looks wonderful with your walls, and you improved on the original.

Anonymous said...

So. Much. Better. -- Anna, Louisiana

Julie said...

Brilliant.
Beautiful.
Thank you.

lisa said...

PRICELESS!!!!

Whitney said...

That is awesome.

Roxie700 said...

Your daughter has a lot of talent. I am so glad you let her paint a picture to hang in your home. That is a blessing to a child to know that they are appreciated and that she spent some one on one time with you. I think Bubbles is a fine name.
Are you going to let her daddy hang it in his office or will it be in your beautiful home?
Meredith, one of the things I admire the most about you is your way with your children. I never got to do things like this growing up. My mother, bless her heart, was always too afraid of us messing up the house. I am sure that your children will have many wonderful stories to tell of the things they have done with you. It is sad to say, but I honestly do not remember doing anything with my mother except cleaning house. That is the truth. I have many fond memories of sewing with my grandmother. She could sew beatifully and she took the time to teach me. I am forever thankful. Roxie

Anonymous said...

It looks like you just left it in the frame, so did you paint the frame later? The frame looks pretty good in the "done" picture. And did she sign her name and date it? Because it is absolutely precious! I am, like everyone else, blown away with your originality. Thank you for showing us how it's all done.

MLS

Layla said...

I remember you doing something similar with your son--such a fantastic idea! Elise's painting really does look wonderful. What great memories were built with this fun project.

Also, by using the house paint you already had, you ensured that no matter what your little artist did, the colors would "go" with the room. It looks great!

ElleBee said...

I think it looks amazing! Your little one might have a future in art! :)

Anonymous said...

FABULOUS idea!! I'm sure Elise loved it. Was Andrew envious of her chance to paint on a big canvas? I think I would need 2 canvases to avoid a major battle in this house!

ancient one said...

That was not what I was expecting.. but, wow, it is so perfect... If I were you, I wouldn't take a million dollars for it now... I hope you put her name, age, and date somewhere on it... I love it!!!!

Sandy said...

I think it's beautiful, a treasure for your family and do I even have to say it? A vast improvement over what was there. Great idea to paint over it.

The Happy Housewife said...

I love it! That is exactly what I would have done... I am looking for a big piece for over my piano, do you think the guy will deliver to Maryland, lol!
Toni

Heather - CROQZine.com - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

It looks great! I have purchased oversized canvases at garage sales to paint over, myself!

Tracey said...

I THINK THIS IS GREAT! PEOPLE WILL NEVER BELIEVE SHE DID I! I THINK IT'S WONDERFUL.

Kylie's Mom said...

So gorgeous!!!! What a fantastic idea...absolutely amazing.

Mod Girl said...

Well, what do you know?! You just might be raising a little modernist.

Great job, Elise, you've created a masterpiece of which you can be proud.

DW said...

That's better than some of the art I've seen in museums, LOL! What a wonderful idea!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome picture! It could be one you bought for thousands of dollars...seriously. What a neat thing to do!

Jen

Crissie said...

Oh my gosh, I knew as soon as I saw your post with the ugly birds this morning that you had something fantastic up your sleeve!!! It is absolutely beautiful and I couldn't agree with you more about what a great job Elise did.

xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

That is beautiful.....and a real confidence bilder for the little artist.....what a great mom you are!
God bless, Pam, South Bend

Jane said...

This is one of your most beautiful posts! Everything about is beautiful. From your gorgeous little artist-to the idea of a world of bubbles! Also, ridding the world and your garage of an ugly thing is also wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I love it!! How special for her to have her painting hanging in the living room. Perfect! It can always become a bulletin board some other time.

mary bailey said...

So beautiful and creative!

Workin' MAMA! said...

WOWEEEEEEE!

That revamped painting would sell on Craigslist for $1,015, Meredith!

The expression/process/giggles I know = all priceless!

GO, ELISE! You've brought me joy today through your lovely art!

Latrice
workin' mama!

An Adventurer in the World said...

and now... your best craigslist purchase ever. This is just fabulous. Way to go Elise!

deb m

Randi said...

I love it!

Ellen said...

This looks very much like what we did with a yard sale frame and some paper purchased at the art store. I think the key to getting something you'd want to put on your wall is choosing the colors and not allowing the child to load up their brush too much. =) This looks WAY better than the birds.

Jen said...

I LOVE IT. What a great idea. I may just have to borrow this one for my own family. Now to find a giant hideously ugly canvas to paint over...

Angela said...

Meredith, this is so beautiful! I am serious! The colors are perfect for your room too. I have little painters, and you have long been an inspiration to me to put their paintings up for all to see. That huge frame is amazing, and it really fills that space in a lovely way. I have a wall like that...

Keren said...

Wow! That is amazing! I'm pretty sure you could sell prints and redeem whatever you "spent" on the Craigslist junk. That is beautiful, and that is coming from someone who usually doesn't like the look of abstract art. Though...is it *really* abstract art? ;)

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

I think I spent $15 on the painting? I can't remember the original price, but she offered to take half and drive it all the way to my house from an hour away!

Sandy Toes said...

OH MY GOODNESS...I love that!!! LOVE IT!
sandy toe

Lovely Little Nest said...

Holy Cow! That's one generous lady; I'll bet she'd be kicking herself if she saw the masterpiece your daughter created! She'd probably try to sell it to you for TWICE the price instead of HALF the price! Kudos :)

Michelle Smiles said...

It was pretty bad. But now? Fabulous! A fun day, a colorful accent, and great meaning behind it!

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Now that is art! What a great idea.

Leisa Hammett said...

Meredith, thank you for sharing your creativity via this blog and blessing us with your inspirational frugal beauty. And most of all, thanks for including my daughter, Grace Walker Goad's, art in your post's bottom link! You are so thoughtful.

Jackie said...

I adore the colours Elise chose. Perfect for a worl of bubbles.

God bless.

Mar said...

Meredith, the after-product is fabulous! I can see your idea being copied by some HGTV design show! My 13 year old and I will be on the lookout for a large, ugly painting this yard sale season so make our own special, one of a kind art! Elise must be SO proud!

Christine said...

I really like the picture that Elise made sooooo much better then the birds.

dangerkittydesigns said...

I think that painting is gorgeous! No one would ever guess a child painted it, and it will be a great heirloom.

Amiyrah said...

Don't know why, but this made me tear right up! But, I cry at commercials too.

A world of bubbles, indeed...

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

That is a masterpiece! Beautiful...so much better than the old painting. I know she is proud of it, too. :)

Victoria said...

Wow, I am speechless! It is beautiful!

Kristine said...

Wow - that is awesome! Great idea! And I'm so glad you could recycle the ugly old into such a beautiful new work of art from your own family!!

Kelly said...

Brilliant!! Absolutely brilliant!! I love it!

Myrnie said...

Fantastic! She really enjoyed that project, I can tell :)

Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home said...

So beautiful! I think Elise should open an Etsy shop soon! Her painting is better than most grown up abstract paintings. ;-) I'll have to try this with my children too.

Diane said...

I really really really love it and would hang that in my house without a doubt! Good job!

Mama Bear said...

I wouldn't have thought of this-- how wonderful! I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a great big "beautiful" canvas! ; )

Recovering procrastinator said...

WAY better than the original. Such a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

Susan said...

Such nice comments on these posts...I am laughing as I sit here reading these, thinking, every single large ugly painting at garage sales this spring will be suddenly bought up by all of us LMS readers! My seven year old, Alex, draws non-stop, so I think I might try and let him do something like this. He would love it. We have TWO large townwide sales in neighboring communities this weekend, so we might put a "large ugly painting" on our wish list!
Susan :-)

Ruth said...

Awesome! I would be proud to hang that in my home!

Leah S. said...

What a great idea and what a great mom! She will forever be proud of that painting! It looks a million times better...I would hang it in my home!

Chrissie said...

Just lovely. Absolutely lovely.

Diane said...

Absolutely beautiful idea!!! Thanks for sharing!

Tracy said...

Meredith I suspect that is the world's most transforming make over of a painting, ever!

Your daughter has quite a flair.

Sue said...

What a great mommy you are! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what your children have created and I love that you allowed it! (My husband is actually doing a painting right now on a large canvas that he has repurposed.)

Jackie said...

That is such an awesome idea!!!

NorahS said...

Amazing! You are the best Mom!!! It is beautiful.

Melissa Lester said...

I love seeing how calm children are while painting! When my four usually boisterous children are painting, you can nearly hear the brush strokes they become so consumed with it. She did such a good job. What a transformation! Now I regret getting rid of an old painting. I need to check our garage for reusable canvases!

laurel said...

Elise's hair is getting so long!! And, I concur with what EVERYONE else has said!!! It is lovely and what a great memory for your sweet little girl. Props to you, Meredith.

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful. What a delightful little artist you have there!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

That is beautiful! It looks just as good as any modern art I've seen costing thousands of dollars. :)

Scribbit said...

That is so creative of you--What a great idea!

Mary Ellen ~ Carolina Momma said...

Great job Elise!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I LOVE IT!

Steph

Misty said...

What a beutiful idea. What lucky kids they are to have a Mom like you!

rowena___. said...

that is absolutely superior in every way to the work that lies under it! it could hang in an art gallery!

Carrie-in-TN said...

Oh my word! That is beautiful. How proud sweet Elise must be...and you always rock it!

Blue Castle said...

It's beautiful! I think it looks way better than the original. :) Great idea. Now I'll have to be on the lookout for a giant canvas.

thehomespunheart said...

I love this!

Miss G said...

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! This is so great and WHAT a precious thing to have from your daughter years from now! Kelly

Amy said...

Oh, that is BRILLIANT, Meredith! You constantly amaze me!

s as in tset said...

I LOVE THIS! It's definitely going on my "things to do with my daughter" list.

One Woman's Journey said...

Oh my - I am amazed. You have an artist in the family. This made me smile. Everytime you look at it you will smile.

Beth said...

wow! it looks great!

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing ALL your wonderful ideas. I LOVE your blog :)

Sharon said...

That pic is awesome!! Elise did such a great job. And what a conversation starter. :)

Rhonda Parker said...

Oh my goodness - that is so great! It's adorable and precious! And just think, her very own masterpiece. It's so huge - it looks way bigger in that picture than in the first post.... definitely too big for a bulletin board - LOL! :) I can see this as a changing canvas... when any of you or Elise tire of it, she can paint another masterpiece!

Jeannie Jo Ann said...

I love taking trash and turning it into a treasure, how creative in thought and what a wonderful memory for your daughter!!

Elizabeth G. said...

Well, aren't you a smartie!! It looks so much better. Good for you and your daughter probably feels great helping to make the new masterpiece.

Blessings,
Elizabeth

retrodeb said...

I think it looks great! I love the colors you chose, and Elise did a wonderful job utilizing the space.

nicola said...

awesome. i love it. the painting and the idea. thank you and kudos to elise.
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

Lady Dorothy said...

I absolutely love it! It is beautiful! And you've put it in a perfect place!

Great improvement. And there were memories made and fun to be had. What more could you ask for?

Tara said...

I love the new look much better :)

I hubby going to put it up in his office?

Courtm said...

Wow! That is beautiful!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

What a wonderful idea! You and Elise will cherish her painting forever! It looks like those you see in galleries for a fortune!
:-) Great job, Elise!!! Susan

Sherry said...

Great idea!

Now I'm going to be seeking out large ugly canvases. :)

J.J. said...

That is awesome! Such a great idea!

Sheryl said...

That is beautiful and I'm sure Elise loved creating her bubbles. I teach preschool and I love their paintings. I should bring an old canvas picture to preschool and have them paint over it!

Ashley @ Domestic Fashionista said...

This is so cute and a fantastic idea. And I am sure her little heart soars as she sees her work of art hanging in your home. :)

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

Just stopping by from Nesting Place - love this. It makes me very happy!

Tanya said...

I love it and it would have cost a fortune from a gallery!

Hopeful Housewife said...

I absolutley love it!!!!!!! I would love to have that in my bedroom. So relaxing!

Kim @ Forever Wherever said...

It's perfect! What a lovely home to grow up in!

~Kim

Kathy said...

I'm smiling huge. The new painting is just beautiful. I am a fan of children's art and feel they should be framed and hung. Wow - this is big scale - fantastic.

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

You are a genius!! And she did a fantastic job - that thing is gorgeous!!

Darlene said...

sheer genious

Rmomof3 said...

I love this idea. I might just have to let the blessings try this! Thanks! R.

Kim said...

OH.MY.WORD! I love it!!

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

Love, love, LOVE it!

Amy @ Living Locurto said...

What an artist!! Love this:-)

Amy @ Living Locurto said...

What an artist!! Love this:-)

Lylah said...

Ohhh....Meredith...you so inspire me...in soft gentle ways. Thanks for being you.

Manda said...

This is so amazing! And gorgeous! Thanks for a great idea!!!

Poppy Buxom said...

I'm waaaayyyyy behind in my blogs, but I had to stop by and give you a belated two thumbs up on this transformation! Amazing and so creative!

LLMajer said...

Meredith:
This is lovely! What a great idea!

maison21 said...

love.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I am impressed.

Stephanie said...

Hey, that is very cool! I love this idea. And the finished product is spectacular.

Now you can go sell it for thousands of dollars to an art museum somewhere... ;)

Mother★Lode said...

I can't remember where I came across this link, but I love it, and had to feature it on my weekly roundup of inspiring projects, blogged here:
http://www.camilledawn.com/2010/07/tuesday-tumblr-7.html

erin said...

so freaking perfect!! I am DYING to know how much you paid for that from craigslist. I am a HUGE craigslist person and I know it varies from city to city - and am so so wondering how much a painting that big went for. Pretty please - share with us.

Kristy said...

A W E S O M E.

How great did that turn out! Just think if you'd bought the 'perfect' piece of art, what you might have missed out on...
:)