Acrylic Picture Paintings on Photographs and Mat Boards

Do you remember this post where I said that Carol, my sister, was way worse than me when she gets onto a crafting obsession? One time I took a class on painting on a frame mat. I’m sure everyone has seen them. You put a mat on a picture and then paint the mat to match the picture. I had a picture of a covered bridge and then painted the picture out from there onto the mat. I showed Carol how to do the painting and she took it to a whole new level. She went off on a tangent. She painted dozens of these paintings. I painted one. ONE, I tell you. ONE!

Anyway, I thought I’d give a little HOW TO DO IT. Here is how it’s done:
1. Take a picture you really like. If it’s a picture of a person I make sure there is stuff around the person to paint as in the picture below. There are plants to paint and a brick walk.
2. Glue the picture onto the back of a mat. You can use a single or a double mat. The picture below uses a double mat.

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3. Buy some acrylic paints. You won’t be able to find the exact colors you need so you’ll have to mix them. Make sure you have some good darks, even black, white, yellow, a warm red, and some greens which you can adjust with yellow to the shades you need. Oh, and yellow. Ultramarine blue is a good blue to have. I make almost all my greens with ultramarine blue and different yellows.
4. Start with the darks and try to match the darks in the picture (Hank, art teacher, always had us start with the darks.)  You can make a really great dark color (but not black – Hank rarely used black) by mixing ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. Mix them together equally and you will have a wonderful and colorful dark paint color. Then just work around the mat closest to the photo. Match each color as best you can. It’s not going to be perfect.
5. When you get the whole mat painted, put some of the paint onto the actual photograph, too. It will make the whole thing look cohesive and like it was all painted not just the edges.

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The idea is to make it look like all one picture…all one painting, really.
My sister lives near the Amish in Pennsylvania. We go there all the time when I visit.

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My sister’s grandson, Johnny, on a sled..

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Here is a painting of Carols’ granddaughter, Emily. The good thing about these paintings, other than that they are fun, is that you don’t have to paint faces. The face is in the photograph. You just have to paint the stuff around the face. Pretty easy.

This is what Carol has to say about doing these paintings.
“Oh remember, I screwed up my neck ... had to go for months for therapy... I did 3 or 4 paintings every night on a flat desk...  looking down for so long hurt my neck.
I could use something like that again... well, not to screw up my neck though.”
It sounds like Carol needs craft therapy. She’s been selling on Ebay and that has been her newest obsession.
She’s going through her house selling everything and anything. What happens when you have nothing left to sell, Carol?

Anyway, this post was not supposed to be about Carol’s paintings. No, it was about the level to which we each go when we get excited about a new craft.
It’s far. Believe me. It doesn’t have to be a craft either. One time Carol came to visit on the train from Pennsylvania with all her kids (5). We went to Woolworth’s and they had a sale on African Violets. I think they were 4 for $1. We bought almost all the plants they had.  But first we had to POUR over that counter looking at each and every violet and the quality and quantity of each one’s flowers, etc. And then we bought almost all of them anyway. We must have had 25 or 30 tiny African Violets. We left a few straggly plants. You have no idea how we were INTO these tiny plants. And when we got home we went over them all again, what we could do with them and who we would give them to, etc. You get the picture.

If you make these paintings, don’t screw up your neck doing 3 or 4 a night, okay?
And try to squeeze every bit of summer goodness out of the rest of August…..       I am.

picture paintingCollage made from a free program called Photoscape.

Best wishes,


Join me at these parties. So much to see...

Do Small Things with Love
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My 1929 Charmer
Mix It Up Monday
It's a Hodge Podge Friday
Petals to Picots
Making the World Cuter Monday
My Turn for Us
My Romantic Home
Frugally Sustainable
The Winthrop Chronicles
carolyns  homework
Crafty Confessions
Inspiration Friday
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Fine Craft Guild
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  1. HI LINDA! Good morning! I see you are having fun! AND I See the drawing! Will you be using it as a header? I hope so! Have a great day! Anita

    1. Yes,fun fun fun! ha ha Tomorrow we are going on another small day trip to New Jersey to a lighthouse park. That will probably be the last day trip for this year.

      Don't know if I'm using the picture as a header. Actually, I have to do a new header soon as summer is almost over. Once kids go back to school, that's it.

      Thanks for commenting and all your help, Anita.

  2. This is fun!! I LOVE to paint, but I just can't find the time anymore!! Boy, I'd love to give this a try!!! Thanks so much for sharing the idea!!

    1. Yea, this idea has been out there for a few years so there are probably other sites that offer a better tutorial. I did search around the internet but didn't find anything. It's fun to do in a class setting, too.

      Thanks for commenting, Jen.

  3. These are so neat! I'd love to try it, but I'm not that artistic. Maybe I'll start with something super simple.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Bonny @

  4. This is really cool and neat! I am so not an artist, I have trouble drawing sticks, I do well with paint by numbers though. But I think your skill far exceeds mine! Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – you helped make the party a success!

  5. This is such a neat idea! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

  6. Ooo - this is really cool! I have to Pin this for later!

  7. I have never seen these before, but they're fabulous, aren't they? The first one is my fave!

    I found you on Katherine's Corner blog hop. Happy to be your latest linky follower!

  8. Haha! I remember those! I actually have one that she had made. I haven't hung it up yet, it's with some other decorations I need to find a place for. Thanks for the reminder! And I kept meaning to get a real frame for it, too! If I can remember (without looking at it) I think it's from the gazebo in her backyard, which was always my 'safe' place when I was emotionally distressed. God worked on healing me many many times on the floor of that gazebo.

    Love you guys!!!

    Did you see the crocheted ice skates I'm making??


So happy you came to visit today. Everyone is so busy but if you would like to leave a note for me, I would love it!!


I am the crafter extraordinaire (on this blog anyway.) I live with my husband, my son, David, in a cozy cape cod style house in Connecticut.

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