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Tree Art Collage on Canvas — Plucking Daisies Find us on Google+

Tree Art Collage on Canvas

by Amy Bowerman

I have a large family and I’ve always wanted to create a unique family tree for my Grandparents.  Because my family is so big and continues to grow I find it difficult to include everyone in a traditional family tree with names and birth dates.  By using creative prompts as inspiration from challenges around the web I was able to create this Tree collage on canvas.  Instead of names I used images, quotes, and a lot of symbolism to portray my family and how we love and grow together.


tree art

Tree Art Collage

The Kraft Journal’s challenge this week is “Your Favorite Things” I could not decide on just a few things so I used MANY….Distress Ink, Bird Stamps, vintage ephemera, Kraft Paper, Stampers Anonymous stamps, Dollar stamps, and most importantly anything and EVERYTHING Tim Holtz!  Whew…I think I covered most of my favorite things.


Embossing with Sizzix

Over at Simon Says Stamp and Show the challenge is to emboss as well as the CSI Project.  Well emboss I did!! I embossed everything. I dry embossed, I embossed on metal, paper and everything in between. The Grungy Monday challenge at Studio L3 is to use grunge board which worked out perfectly for the embellished stamps and die cuts I wanted to include in my design. Finally, the Texture it Challenge at Inspiration Emporium.  Favorite things, embossing, Texture, and grunge board does a better combination exist?…I don’t think so :)



Stitched up and embossed

I used Kraft paper and a Tim Holtz Alterations Wood Grain embossing folder to create the trunk. For the branches I used the same, tore them into branch like pieces and used the stitch stamp from Stampers Anonymous to make the tree look like it was stitched together. The stitching was embossed and the trunk was colored  with Distress inks.

For the leaves I used 3 different Tim Holtz Alterations embossing folders.  I love how each embossed image created a different shade of green when I went over them with Distress Ink. I used Kraft paper for the leaves as well….have I mentioned how much I LOVE the look of Distress Ink on Kraft? I also used the Sizzix Branch with Leaves die I thought I’d never use again after making this Bird Card….(it’s now my favorite die) sometimes it’s good to be wrong :)


Creating a Background with Vintage Sheet Music

I created the tree and embellishments before doing the background. In my experience with collage it has always helped to have the main pieces of the design done before committing to a background. I like to move things around and find the best fit before I break out the adhesive.  After that I just look at the glue and it scares me so I move things around again just to be sure. That is exactly what happened with this background.

vintage sheet music

Vintage Sheet Music Background

I spray painted the canvas with Valspar Stained Glass paint and layered pages from a VERY old children’s song book. This is the same book I used to create this Baby Collage.  After tearing a page out I realized the book was over 100 years old! Ah well…I checked Ebay shortly after that discovery and found that the book was only worth about $35. Since it was already missing a page I figured it wouldn’t hurt to rip out a few more…that is why I bought it after all. There were a few holes peeking through after gluing everything down….ever so carefully…100 yr old paper is not exactly sturdy.  I decided to use my Fiskars Funky Heart punch to fill in the gaps.

vintage sheet music

Sheet music and Funky hearts

I wanted the hearts to stand out a little so I outlined them with Tattered Rose and Worn Lipstick Distress ink.

Create Faux Patches with Stamps and Kraft Paper

I used Kraft paper stamped with a plethora of different background stamps to create faux patches to border the canvas.

collage creator

Patches in Progress

Mostly Stamper’s Anonymous Stamps were used for the backgrounds and sentiments but a few Dollar bin finds and Hero Arts sets are mixed in.  All of the sentiments were embossed with Ranger fine detail clear powder and stamped with Black Soot Distress Ink.

collage crator

Patches of

I didn’t want to take away the focus on the sheet music background and the tree so I bordered the edge of the canvas with patches colored like the sky….and used the stitch stamp on all sides.


Creating Embellishments with Grunge Board and Grunge Paper

Now for the Grunge board embellishments….I alternated between grunge board and grunge paper to vary the depth.

tree art

Lock and Key

I mounted craft metal on grunge board and cut the lock and key using Tim Holtz Alterations Hardware Findings die from Sizzix. The metal was sanded, hammered, inked with Brushed corduroy Distress ink, brushed with perfect pearls and embossed with Black Soot embossing powder….along with the screw brads.  I used the left over scraps to stamp and emboss some of the hearts and attached tiny metal star brads above them.  I used the same star brads to attach the chains also.

tree art

Grunge Paper Birds

The birds were stamped and embossed on Kraft paper that had been stamped in white with a sheet music stamp….I wanted to keep the sheet music theme going throughout the design.  They were then colored with Distress inks and an aqua brush.

tree art

Aqua Brush on Bird


I love how the white sheet music is just peeking through the black. This was the first time I used an aqua brush to color….let me tell you I’m a BIG fan now!  My absolute favorite embellishment is this birdcage which I created some time ago…probably when I first got the Tim Holtz Caged Bird die. I’ve been saving it for the right project.


collage creator

I know why the caged bird sings

The bird was cut twice. Once with the stamped background and colored with Distress inks and second from a Vintage Bible…also colored with distress ink. The cage was cut from gold shimmer card stock and distressed with perfect pearls blue patina. I then added perfect medium to the cage and bars and embossed with Black Soot embossing powder.  Finally, I added the charms and chain.  My favorite is the heart locket. I used a Victorian Cat stamp set to stamp the cat face and filled it in with Crackle Accents.

Here is a close up…


I put my heart, soul and a lot of symbolism into this tree collage. The lock and key symbolize my grandparents as they are the “key” to our family.  The branches and leaves represent how our family has grown just like a strong tree.  The birds represent the dependablility of our family.  Like birds leave their nest when they are able to fly we too can fly away and have personal life experiences but can always return to our “home tree”.  The hearts that surround the tree are a symbol of the love that surrounds our family.

Sadly, my grandfather became very ill this past October.  I was told that there was very little time left so I brought the Tree Collage to his bedside.  He had been pretty unresponsive in the days prior and was unable to speak.  My grandfather has been one of my biggest supporters of my art for as long as I can remember.  I sat by his bed and explained what each element of the collage symbolized and his eyes came alive.  Although he did not speak his eyes followed as I pointed around the canvas.  He squeezed my hand and I knew he understood.  This was the last moment we would shard together.  He passed away the next morning.  I was filled with sorrow but yet thankful that the last moment we shared was through art.  For that I am eternally grateful and it serves to drive my creativity even further because I know he is looking down….with pride.

“Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened!” – Dr. Seuss

Thanks so much for letting me share the story behind this collage with you.

Have a artfully blessed day,



Linking to:

Sizzix I Spy Saturday


Visit thecsiproject.com

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

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2 canvas pictures October 23, 2014 at 1:24 am

Thanks for finally talking about >Tree Art Collage on Canvas
— Plucking Daisies <Loved it!
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3 OrtCloudFlyer February 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

This is wondrous! So beautiful. Touches deeply.


4 Amy Bowerman February 23, 2013 at 7:47 am

Thank you so much! Your words touche MY heart :)



5 Michelle September 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

Your canvas is stunning. I enjoyed reading your step by step only then to notice additional details that I did not see at first notice. Stunning piece.


6 Amy Bowerman September 2, 2012 at 9:23 am

Thanks Michelle! This is one of my favorite pieces so glad you enjoyed it :)


7 Beth Moore December 20, 2011 at 6:26 am

This is such a fabulous project! I can see why it is one of your favorites from 2011, thanks so much for playing along with us at The Kraft Journal’s Favorite Project of 2011 this week!


8 Lynne Phelps August 30, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I just love this piece! I too have found the canvas a card offers to be too small. I’m growing like your tree! It’s fantastic!


9 Melisa Waldorf August 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm

FABULOUS!! I love this project! All the details are just wonderful. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving me encouragement regarding the calls. Do you like submitting??


10 Amy Bowerman August 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Hi Melissa I have submitted a few times and nothing has come of it I know I need to keep at it I’ve just been so busy creating I haven’t had time to submit anything lately…past rejection hasn’t helped either but I am very glad to have found your wonderful blog! You have made submitting so much easier with what your doing. Thanks again :)


11 Sylvia/LittleTreasures July 28, 2011 at 7:07 am

You totally amaze me. So fun to stop by and see what you have been having fun creating. Your birds even look like they are having fun!! This is a keeper. You make my morning coffee alive!!! Enjoy


12 Beth Moore July 24, 2011 at 7:06 am

This project is totally awesome! Thanks for joining us at The Kraft Journal this week for our My Favorite Things challenge!


13 Geri July 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

This is stunning! Thanks for bringing your creative energy over to artsee bloggers!


14 Geri July 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Wow!!! This is stunning! So happy you’re bringing your creative energy over to artsee bloggers!


15 Cath July 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Wow Amy! This is quite an involved project. Sometimes it’s good to just sink your teeth into something that has a lot of depth to it, doesn’t it? It looks like you really enjoyed working on this! :)


16 Linda Ledbetter July 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Amy, you not only went big, you went FABULOUS! This is an awesome work of art! It’s so fun and fascinating and beautiful, and a great approach to the GM16 grungeboard challenge. Every little detail is perfect. I really appreciate the excellent instructions, too– you have so many clever ideas to share. This is magical, and a true delight. Great job!


17 Gabrielle July 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

This is just amazing – really quite beautiful. So much detail and there’s always something new to see no matter how many times I look at the photos! Thank you for the lovely comment on my blog – you’ll never regret buying distress stains – like huge colouring pens for grown-ups!!!


18 Marianne July 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Awesome collage, luv the colors you chose. I tried to get email subscription but it said it was not enabled.


19 Amy Bowerman July 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Oh thanks for the heads u Marianne and for the lovely comment :) I will certainly have to fix that!


20 lacyquilterl July 23, 2011 at 9:10 am

This is a really fabulous work of art. I can tell you put many hours into it. So many wonderful details. I really love all the different bird images.


21 Lori July 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

This is a FABULOUS project! So much creativity and detail! Thanks for joining the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge!


22 Elsa July 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

Just beautiful


23 Suzanne Bouchard July 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

WOW! Yhis is stunning! I love all your favorite stuff. I love the quilt style of your piece.I love your leaves dies! And what an incredible canvas! Bravo!


24 Andrea July 22, 2011 at 5:27 am

Hi Amy,
This is magnificent. Thanks for sharing how you made it. No wondering you are keeping it. I love the leaves especially and the border of sayings.



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