Are you ready to stop trying to save a painting? The following offers viable means of saving some of your hard work and expensive materials.
1. You can paint over the painting if the image is thinly painted. You can use acetone to remove thinner layers of oil paint, getting down to just a faint image. Paint over the faint image with a thin coat of white or a neutral color of oil paint. CAUTION: Use acetone only outdoors. Wear a chemical mask, chemical gloves, and goggles. Stay away from flames…like a gas water heater or cigarettes. Do not store rags inside and dispose of them quickly and properly.
2. Repaint over the canvas, but do not reuse the same side of the canvas and risk sanding through the gesso, tearing canvas and breathing in toxic particles. Instead, remove the painting from the support or backing. Paint over the painting with gesso or a latex paint. Place it back onto a support (wood frame or backing) with the old painting on the back. Size and gesso what used to be the backside…if it has no damage or markings.
3. Create a table mat, floor mat, or wall hanging. Remove the painting from the support. Gesso over both sides (or use latex house paint). Now paint a decorative painting with acrylics on what used to be the backside. Next turn under the edges by half inch and glue them down. Paint an acrylic finish over the decorative painting. (Must be dry before starting each stage.)
4. If there is a large portion of the painting that you feel is successful, you can cut the canvas and save the successful part. The cut canvas can be stapled onto a wood frame; or glued onto birch wood or PVC foam plastic. For works larger than 11 by 14 inches, the support should be at least 1/4 of an inch thick to prevent buckling.
5. Create a collage. Maybe you have a few other paintings that are not successful. Consider assembling them together. You can glue these all to a backing or canvas and connect them with newly painted or glued elements. Now you have a new piece of art. If you want this to appear as one completely painted piece of art, you can digitize it, erase all cut lines, and have it printed.
6. Make a seat cover for a stool or small chair in your art studio using only the good part or even the not so good part.
7. Create a greeting card out of the parts you like. Paint a border around the raw edge or dip the edge in paint for an organic look. Instead, you can fold under the edges with glue, or glue trim around the edges. Now glue the little painting onto a blank greeting card.
8. Create custom beverage coasters. Cut out the parts you like and paste them to a coaster size bases like old CDs.
9. Create painted jewelry. For instance, cut narrow strips and braid them together for wristbands and bracelets. Cut larger pieces for earrings…both sides do not need to match.