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In the Studio This Week – Canvas Repair, Abstract Landscape, and a Portrait

In the studio this week, I was lost for a few days. I had a canvas repair to do that didn’t excite me much, I did try my hand at an abstract landscape and was happy with the results. Finally, I took your feedback as to where I should focus my painting style and started a painting portrait of a horse with a woman sitting on it.


Somehow my dear hubby managed to pull one of my paintings down on top of a couple of gnome statues with pointy hats. Two holes were poked through the canvas of my “Opus One” painting. I had done some minor canvas repairs in the past, but this one was more of a challenge.

I was upset as I had just received accolades on this painting from an artist I consider my mentor, Robin Damore. I was getting ready to frame the painting when this happened.

I searched online for DIY instructions for canvas repair> I cut the canvas out of a cheap Walmart canvas I had bought for this purpose. I applied it to the back of the painting with gesso and weighted it down on a flat surface.

The results weren’t great. You could see the raw edges of the tear. The gesso bled through on the canvas. One of the holes was in a location in the background of the painting that was a sheer wash and would be difficult to replicate.

Photo of repairs to holes in canvas

I did my best to blend the holes into the background and it’s just okay, I started to notice all types of errors with the painting and felt like going in and doing massive rework. I restrained myself for now. Maybe I’ll do this horse portrait again and see if it comes out better.

Painting of a horse done portrait-style with repaired canvas holes.

Abstract Landscape

I’ve tried to do some abstract art in the past and haven’t been happy with my paintings. I found this reference photo of a boat caught in the low tide. It reminds me of the scenery around the Olympic peninsula in Washington state.

Photo of a boat beached on a shore

I also decided to apply nearly all the techniques I’ve learned so far in The Mastery Program. I started a collage layer.

Collage layer of a boat beached on a shore

Then I applied fiber paste around the raw edges of the collage and through some stencils to give the painting some texture and depth. I also added a little spray paint.

Second layer of a painting of a boat on a shor using stencils and fiber past

I applied acrylic paint to the distant mountains and the sky. I added spray paint in the sky and used ink to simulate some trees.

Acrylic paint used on the distant mountains and the sky. Spray paint added in the sky and ink used to simulate some trees.

I did the same to the foreground and added some drips to give it the feel of water movement.

Abstract layer of pinks, yellow, orange and blue to simulate a wet beach.

I painted the boat loosely using a palette knife. I’m pretty pleased with the final painting. What do you think?

Abstract painting of a boat beached on a shoreline

Horse and Woman Portrait

Based on answers to the question I posed to you last week and to get my creative mojo working again, I decided to look for a reference photo of a woman with a horse. This way I could combine my passion for portraits together.

I looked for references using Pinterest and various free photo sources. I must have spent an hour or more pouring over photographs. I didn’t want the woman to look too sexy. I also didn’t want a cowgirl subject. I wanted to capture the expression in both the horse and the woman’s eyes. Many of the sources didn’t adequately capture both subjects. I finally settled on this one.

Photograph of a red-haired woman on a sorrel horse.

I started a background using drippy washes of acrylic paint. I rotated the canvas to let gravity help.

Background painting with acrylic layers in blues, reds, and greens.

Then I flipped it back vertical and it resembles a landscape.

Background layer of a painting resembling a landscape.

I sketched the scene with charcoal and sealed it with workable fixative.

Charcoal sketch of a woman astride a horse.

My first pass at the acrylic underpainting. This is affectionately known as the ugly stage.

Underpainting of a woman astride a horse.

A few more layers of acrylic and it’s beginning to take shape. I will finish this with oil paint and post my results next week.  Do you like it so far?

Acrylic painting of a woman on a horse.


I like the looseness of the abstract painting. I’m thinking of combining my portrait work with abstracts by putting the details of faces and eyes but blurring the background in a more abstract style. Do you like abstract paintings?

I am eternally grateful for your feedback and your support.

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