Redoing My Acrylic Canvas Painting

I wasn’t sure if you can paint over an acrylic canvas so I did some research.

I was thrilled when I found out that YOU CAN!

Some people use a gesso medium and cover the entire canvas to have a blank slate again. Others, turn their canvases upside down to not get confused with the old painting. In my case, I just used it as it is. I kind of wanted to use my old painting as a base anyway of where I wanted my new and improved horizon to be. After 2 days of letting the original painting sit in our room, I decided I was ready to change it. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I can pull it off, but I know if I retouch it I have to commit to finishing it. And so I used our dining area as my studio. I don’t own an easel since I have not painted on a canvas before. When I sketch on my sketch pad I just use whatever table is available. Hahaha.

So this is what I came up with…


I used our music stand as my easel and prepped my canvas there. I had to create a lip to make sure the canvas won’t fall off easily after my baby knocked it over when she bumped into the music stand. So I used a cereal box for this, folded it over and taped it to the music stand. It worked wonders! And then I set up my Walmart bought brushes and some Dollar store acrylic paints at our dining table. I was too cheap to get my hands on some good acrylic paints so I just used the ones we have been using for our Sunday school class. The weird thing about cheap acrylic paints is that they are not viscous. These Dollar store paints are very runny so I needed to apply several coats to cover the original painting.

We might get better quality acrylic paints now that I can prove to myself that I can actually paint. LOL. My husband thinks I should paint and sell them. Hahaha. Too much faith on his wife’s skills I say.

I really enjoyed mixing different colours and layering them. So I think I will consider painting some more…

Here’s the original painting. You can see it’s very one dimensional. In other words, it looks flat.


Here’s how I transformed this original painting…

STEP ONE: Covering my purple sky with several coats of blue all the way down to my white horizon. And then adding a thick streak of black on the top left and gradually moving it down. I also put a smear of violet underneath it. A light streak of light blue on top of the black was added as well (not sure if you can see it, but it’s there). Then, covering my yellow and orange sky (sun included) with a coat of a more subdued yellow, and then some red streak on the right. Last part was marking where my “new horizon” should start. I realized then that the only white paint I have available was pearl white. So I stuck with it. Which actually worked for me as it gives it a shimmering look up close, like when the water glistens.


STEP TWO: Making the black streak longer and covering a portion of it with purple. Adding some pale blue and pale violet in the sky and making my red streak run all the way to the the end of the canvas, with a coat of violet sitting on top of it, and a streak of tangerine on top of that.


STEP THREE: Here I’m still working on my sky. Just layering up different colours.

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STEP FOUR: Adding several coats of blue on top of my dark purple water, and then finishing it up with some lightly brush stokes of pearl white.

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STEP FIVE: Extending my sun’s reflection on the water. I find this one of the trickiest part of this entire process. Since my water is now blue, adding yellow on top of it can easily make the sun’s reflection green. As we know, blue and yellow are primary colours and when mixed you’ll get green!Because the paint that I’m using was very runny, this part of the painting was the most time consuming. I ended up leaving the house for an hour so I won’t be tempted to touch it up again until it’s ready.

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STEP SIX: Redoing my boat. This was not part of my plan, I was actually quite happy with my original shaggy looking boat. But after adding depth and colours into my now realistically looking sky and water, I just can’t pass the opportunity of making my boat better. And since I don’t have the same white paint from the original painting (and wasn’t planning on spending to buy one), I couldn’t just retouch my boat to make it better. I had to completely overhaul it. And because my new boat extends to my beach, I had to retouch my sand as well. But in the end, I’m actually glad that I did. They now have a more uniformed and realistic look I think.

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STEP SEVEN: Signing my painting, which means I’m done! Almost done anyway! (The very final step would be sealing it, which I plan to do soon). 


Any suggestions as to what I can use to seal an acrylic painting? Will Modpodge work? Or the Krylon Clear Spray Paint? So far those are the only options I have.

I hope this inspires you to get creative and use those old acrylic canvases to create something that’s originally YOURS!

Happy painting!

My Paint Nite Experience

I recently went to a Paint Nite in town with a bunch of ladies from our church. If you haven’t been to one or haven’t heard of it, Paint Nite is a social painting event where the rest of the class paint the same thing.  Experience in painting is not required as there’s a painting instructor that guides you step-by-step through the featured painting in about 2 hours.

The cost per ticket was $45 and they provided all the painting supplies. I don’t think all Paint Nites are fundraising events, but the one we went to was giving $15 of every ticket purchased to CIBC Run for the Cure. They even provided some light snacks, and a cash bar for those who were interested in drinking while they paint.

I haven’t been to one before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A friend of mine and I went out for supper first before we came. Upon entering the Legion where it was being held, we could hear chattering from upstairs. It sounded like a good number of people came out to support the fundraising event. Sixty six attendees in total.

When we got into the room, we saw tables side by side dressed in green vinyl table cloth in 3 rows. On top of each tables where easels with 16 x 20 canvases back to back from each other. Underneath each easels where paper plates that have 4 big blobs of acrylic paints – white, blue, yellow, and red. On the right hand side of each easels were 3 paintbrushes of varying sizes, a yogurt container with water that I almost drank (LOL), and 2 sheets of paper towel. And then on each chair was an acrylic stained green apron for us to use.

Our featured painting was a boat sitting on the beach at sunset.

I am not sure who is the original artist of the said painting. When I was googling it, I’ve seen it featured on other Paint Nite events with different instructors so I knew the painting was not an original work of our painting instructor that evening. Also, her rendition was a bit darker in hue than the original.

Before we began painting, we were asked to place our hands on the canvases and repeated a funny oath after our instructor, which basically says to have fun, to not forget to breathe, and to not stress out and throw our canvases across the room if they were not turning out quite right. (I think I did all those 3 in my head!). She walked us through what brushes and paints to mix and use, how to make a perfectly round sun and it’s refection on the water, how to draw clouds, and how to draw “the boat”. She gave some pointers on how to add some waves too.

I have not done an acrylic painting on canvas before so I followed her instructions as much as I could. Even though she said in the beginning of the class that we can draw whatever we want, even rainbows and ponies, I don’t think anybody diverted from the original painting. I think we all pretty much followed it to our own abilities.

However, after completing my canvas I find it lacking in depth, it’s very one dimensional. I wasn’t pleased with my work. But maybe that’s just the artist and the perfectionist in me that’s being hard on myself. I know if I’m going to hang this painting on our wall, I’d like it to appear more realistic. So I skipped signing my painting because I know I am going to tweak it when I get home.

A few days after that event, I finally mastered the courage to put my plans to work.

And I’m so glad I did!

Because this one dimensional acrylic painting…


Now looks like this…


(This transformation was done using Dollar store acrylic paints!!! Why? Because that’s what I have available and I was too cheap to buy good ones. Question is will the colours last? Who knows! I guess only time will tell! Perhaps sealing it will help the paints from not fading? It will also help me to stop retouching it. If left unsealed, I might just be tempted to keep tweaking it!).

Anyway, here’s some of the pictures I took using my cellphone camera to capture this daunting, but very satisfying process.

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For a more detailed process of this canvas acrylic painting transformation, click HERE.


Coloured pencil art

My Nana’s 95th Birthday

It was the 19th of March 2014 when we celebrated our nana’s 95th birthday. My sister and I bought some party supplies and with the help of everyone, we decorated the living room and the dining area while she was taking her afternoon nap. She woke up to the aroma of the baked lasagna and salmon teriyaki I made specially for her.

When she stepped out of her room, her eyes caught the sight of the balloons and paper streamers.

Slowly she walked towards the dining table, admiring the decorations we hang on the ceilings and the walls.  We guided her to her usual spot in the dining table. Her seat we decorated with purple streamers and a nice big purple bow on top.

After singing “happy birthday”, we asked her to blow the candles of her favourite mango cake!

It was a special day! Not just for her, but for us as well. To still have her with us at her age is such a blessing! Thankfully she was released a few days ago from being confined at the hospital. Who gets to 95 nowadays? I mean really? Right?

So before our trip to see my family, I was thinking of what to give to her as a birthday gift. I made her a huge embroidered canvas of a fruit basket last time. I even went to Michael’s to have it framed with a special non-glare glass.

My nana is very crafty. They say I got that from her. So when I give her something I made I know she appreciates it because she understands the time and effort that were spent in making them.

The canvas I gave her took me months to complete. I didn’t have months to spare this time so I thought perhaps a sketch of her and me would be a nice gift instead. So I looked for a nice photo of us together. When I saw the photo of me wearing my wedding gown with her by my side, I thought that would be the perfect picture to use. I was only able to make a rough draft of my sketch before we hopped on the plane to see her. So when she would go in her room to nap, I would go to mine, locking the door behind me to work on my sketch. I showed my draft to my sister and she was pleased.


Sketch in progress.

On the day we bought the party supplies, we grabbed a dark brown picture frame with a nice cream mat. It fit my sketch like a glove. I gave it to her on her birthday together with some colorful crocheting yarns and a crocheting magazine.

Her eyes beamed when she saw my sketch. I gave her a big hug and she gave me a kiss!


To view more of my artwork, click here.

Thanks for stopping by.

❤ Zhi



It was Spring of 2014. We were planning on visiting my family in the States and I thought i it would be nice if I can give our lovely niece a present I made myself. Since I was running out of time to make her anything special, I thought perhaps a sketch of her would be a wonderful handmade gift from her aunt. And so I did! (I also made one for my grandma who was about to celebrate her 95th birthday that year. You can check that out on this post). 

sofia_wm.jpgI used a photo of her that my sister emailed to me when she was 5 months old. Good thing I was able to finish it on the day we flew. I remember sitting at the airport tweaking my sketch while waiting for our flight departure.

When we got there, my husband and I bought a picture frame at Walmart to put my sketch in.

Isn’t she just adorable? Now this cutie has turned 3!


Sketch in progress.

For more artwork, click here. Thanks for dropping by!

❤ Zhi



25th Wedding Anniversary

December 2013.

My husband and I decided to visit his family in Manitoba and spend Christmas with them. Everybody will be home, even his brother and his wife who live in a different province like we do. So it was pretty special that everybody will get to visit everyone. What their parents did not know at the time was that their children have been planning a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party for them. I remember the many phone calls my husband had to make to contact old friends of his parents and family members he has not seen nor spoken too for a long time.

We used the basement of a church not far from their home as a venue. With the help of all his siblings and family friends we were able to prepare some food and decorate the place without their knowledge. On the day of the reveal, I’m sure they were suspecting something was fishy but I don’t think they knew exactly what’s going on.

When they entered the venue that night, they were in for a good surprise! It was one memorable event, even for me as an outsider looking in. Their faces beamed with gladness as they recall lots of fond memories of the good ol’ days. It was very euphoric.

I wasn’t sure what to give them as an anniversary gift. I didn’t want to just buy something from the store. This kind of occasion calls for something more special than priced tag item.

I want to give them something personal… a gift that has a piece of me in it.

And so I emailed one of their daughters to ask for an electronic copy of their wedding photo. She sent me a few, and this one was my favorite. I started sketching it right away. The more my eyes soak in the details of this photo, the more I realized that my mother-in-law has a very cunning resemblance to my husband. From the curly hair, to the oval face, and even the beautiful Irish nose.

To finish this sketch in time, I brought my sketchpad and pencils to work. Whenever I had a free time, I worked at it.

wedding-photo-sketch_wm.jpgSlowly, it took it’s form. The lines and strokes of my pencils attempted to capture what transpired that very day. It was a beautiful photo. I hope I did it justice.


(For more artwork, click here). 

Did anybody else notice I got the date wrong in my sketch? Ooopss.