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Georgia artist tells you how to turn an old canvas into a new work of art

This is the canvas one artist began with at the Eve Tidwell painting workshop held at Dovecote in July 2014.
This is the canvas one artist began with at the Eve Tidwell painting workshop held at Dovecote in July 2014.
Courtesy of Georgia artist Miriam Eve Tidwell

On Saturday, July 19, Georgia artist Miriam "Mir" Eve Tidwell decided to share with Examiner readers how they can turn old painted canvases into new works of art, just as she shared with the Dovecote Summer Lecture Series guests in North Carolina earlier this week. And this is something you will want to learn, as she was paid $400 for one of her first works of art, and she didn't think she had an artistic bone in her body.

One example of a transformed canvas painting during Dovecote's Eve Tidwell workshop.
Courtesy of Georgia artist Eve Tidwell

Tidwell says that you want to "start big and paint big" when attempting to redo a painted canvas you don't really love, because it is "hard to put a big idea on a small board." But you do want to choose a canvas that has been painted with colors that are appealing, at least.

If you don't normally paint and thus don't have an old canvas to use, Eve recommends you find one at a Goodwill store. However, a yard sale will work, too. And the size should be 2-foot by 3-foot, and be framed, if possible. But it is not really necessary for this project unless you want to hang the finished product on your wall.

Also, you will need an easel for the best painting experience, but you might not want to invest in one if this is going to be a one-time activity, so an old wooden chair could work as one, or some other setup.

Next, you will need to go buy a color chart or borrow one from a friend. You will also need one tube of acrylic paint in each of the following ten colors: black, brown, green, lavender, orange, red, sky blue, white, and yellow. You can use more colors, if you already have them, but at least have these ten. And choose the brightest shades of these colors possible.

You will also need a ruler, 2- to 4-inch blue painter's tape, eight paint brushes (at least one needs to be a 2-inch) and a container in which to hold water and your brushes, as well as a small and large black Sharpie magic marker and a gold magic marker.

With the small black sharpie marker draw four large circles anywhere on the already painted canvas. Next place five triangle shapes wherever you want to on the canvas also with the black magic marker, but specifically where you think the art work is most interesting. Then, using a large black sharpie marker place three lines (they can be straight, curved, squiggly or angled) from left to right on the canvas, even if the lines run through one of the circles or triangles. Next up add ten medium circles to the piece with your small black sharpie.

According to Eve, "you are going to highlight your lines and circles with the opposite color to start with," so now do that with the gold magic marker. And she says that "cool colors push back the subject, so that means they are viewed by our brains in the back of the piece, even if you break the rules and put it in the front."

If you are the kind of learner that needs to see examples of what someone is teaching, rather than reading it online, then you are in luck, as the slideshow above features before and after photos of some of the art work of those who attended Eve's Dovecote lecture. And from those photos you can see the stages an artist went through to turn her old painted canvas into a more vibrant piece of art.

For more examples, just visit this Examiner article about the plein air event held this week. And to find out more about the art Eve has created you can visit the Eve Tidwell Facebook page or contact her directly at But be sure to put "hey Eve" in the subject heading, so your message does not go to her spam filter.

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