color charts on linen & an art giveaway

by | Feb 27, 2020 | Art, Artistic Endeavors, Oil Painting | 222 comments

I was checking my DMs on Instagram and saw that one of my followers had forwarded a post to me.  She had a feeling I would like it and she was absolutely right.  My jaw dropped and I clicked on the link quickly to learn more about these beautiful swatches of color painted on linen.  Were they, by chance, for sale?!

This is the post that got my heart fluttering…

Cathleen of @815vintagegoods found these amazing color charts at an estate sale.   Unfortunately, they were already spoken for, but I knew immediately I wanted to try to replicate them.  I had never seen color charts on natural linen – only on a bright white surface like a gessoed canvas or oil paper.  Those are pretty, too, but the linen is yummy!

Not only do I love the look of the colored squares on linen, but creating the charts on a mid-tone substrate makes a lot more sense, since I’m usually painting on a toned canvas.  (A toned canvas is one that has a thin wash of color on it to make it mid-tone.)

I found my mind wandering to how these were made.  Was a clear gesso applied to the linen first?  Or was the paint just applied directly to the linen?  Would the oil bleed in that case?

I decided I was going to experiment and try to discover the process, so I can recreate it.

I dug around in my fabric stash to see what I had.  I pulled out some scraps of antique linen grain sacks that I bought years ago and used for an upholstery project.  The shade of the linen was perfect.  Now, I had to figure out what to do with it!

I decided to cut two pieces and clip them onto scraps of MDF with bull clips.  If this idea works, I can attach them to the boards with my upholstery staple gun.  I used clear gesso on one and left the other unprimed to see which method worked better…

I then taped off a grid with 1/4″ masking tape.  I usually measure when I make color charts, but I was just playing, so I eye-balled it.  Measuring devices don’t come out when I’m playing.

I mixed and applied colors with a palette knife to make a thick square of paint. I usually have a method when I’m making color charts, but I just did little color studies with Indigo and Bice, both blues.

The Indigo study was the one that was gessoed.  The paint definitely sat up on the fabric better, but the tape didn’t stick to the gesso as well, so there was more bleeding under the tape.

For the Bice study, I applied the paint directly to the raw linen…

The tape stuck better, but the fabric definitely absorbed a good amount of paint.  The fibers also made smearing the paint on a little more challenging.

I need to try a few more experiments before I decide which way is my favorite.  I also ordered some clear-primed linen panels and a pad, so I’ll compare those to my antique linen fabric as well.

As I allowed myself this creative playtime, I got an idea (which is often what happens)…  Why not create little color studies on antique linen with leftover paints on my palette?  These really are little pieces of art by themselves and I think people would be interested in buying them.  I’ll have to play around with that idea and see if it works.

I love it when one little bit of inspiration can be a jumping-off point for all sorts of new ideas.

And, I’m excited to introduce you to a very talented young watercolor/acrylic artist – Amelia Polder.  She is a part of the Polder family (as in Polder’s Old World Market) and started her own Etsy shop to sell her art.  I really admire how industrious, artistic, and entrepreneurial that whole family is!

I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while and, in our conversations, she offered to give away a print of her original art to one of my readers.  This is the print that the winner will receive…

There are two ways to enter…

Visit Amelia’s Etsy shop and leave a comment here letting me know what your favorite painting is…


Follow Amelia on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you did.

If you want two chances to win, you can do both and leave a comment for each.  The giveaway will run through Monday, March 2, 2020, and a winner will be randomly chosen and announced that week.

Good luck!


  1. Teresa Sanborn

    I like the young girl holding a bouquet of flowers.

  2. Sandy

    wow her art is amazing hard to choose a favorite – love the red barn paintings and “winter art” – she is so talented will go far for sure 🙂 thanks for sharing, will enjoy following her journey!

  3. Sheryl

    I love the Mediterranean sea side painting but her style is unique and so full of life!!
    I’m going to Instagram now to follow and watch her grow along side us all♥️🙋‍♀️

  4. Lori Wallace

    I was wondering if you might share more on how you do color studies, why you do them and how you use them when painting. How do you mark what colors were used?

    • Addie

      Thank you for asking Lori…..I was wondering the same. Do you write down the formulas to how you got that color?

  5. Robin

    I followed Amelia on Instagram. Beautiful work!

  6. Carol Ivy

    She is amazing for sure! I am torn, but I love her ocean art and her starry nights.

    • Jane S.

      I followed Amelia on Instagram.

  7. Sue

    I love her Spring Art Farm Boots with flowers painting. I could see that one in my home. Thanks for sharing her artwork. I absolutely LOVE the paint swatches!! They’re beautiful!!

  8. Kathy LeTourneau

    Love the Seaside painting. Reminds me of Greece.

  9. Jane S

    I love Amelia’s picture of the children with their sled in the snow.

  10. Laurie

    Seaside painting -Mediterranean Cottage!

  11. Yvonne

    Love her work! I really like the Farm decor and the cow pictures!

  12. Susie

    Followed, beautiful work!!!

  13. LindaSonia

    I loved the picture of a young girl holding a bunny – she reminded me of myself as a child. 🙂

    I don’t know why your color studies photos resonate so deeply with me, but they do – maybe because I love shades of blues and greens?? and texture – the texture of the paint color samples and the texture of the linen was just so appealing to me. Maybe I just love beautiful things and they were beautiful to me.

  14. Lynn

    Girl with a horse is my favorite.

  15. Lynn

    I followed Amelia on Instagram.

  16. Barbara

    Amelia’s work is lovely! I’m drawn to the animal imagery, my favorite is the rooster!

  17. Gena Morris

    Very hard to choose a favorite,I . I love the Winter Art, kids pulling sled; The Farm Art, is amazing; The girl with her pony, reminded me of my mother; and I think the Seaside art, Sailing Boat is beautiful. What a great artist.

  18. Emily

    Oh her work is beautiful! I like the seaside Mediterranean print.
    Those color swatches of yours are divine!!

  19. Carol Hunter

    So hard to choose, but I love the White and Yellow Poppies, as well as the rooster.

  20. Carol

    I followed Amelia on Instagram.

  21. B Folk

    On her Etsy shop, under her subheading, “Winter” the Red Barn Paintings! Actually, all of her work is beautiful.

    Thank you for this giveaway, Marian. The color studies would sell well, I think. They are beautiful in their own right.

  22. Faith Wagner

    Her paintings are beautiful. Quite a talent! I like any of her paintings with a sailboat! I’m now following her on Instagram.

  23. Lindy Powell

    They are all so beautiful so it’s very hard to choose just one….I love old doors and the stories they can tell…..Love the cottage by the seaside….so peaceful…..Thank you for this generous giveaway….

  24. Lindy Powell

    I neglected to share that I am following Amelia on her Instagram site….

  25. Barbara C.

    I fell in love with Mediterranean City!

  26. Michelle

    I keep watching for book of the week…..have you stopped doing this?

  27. Katy B.

    Beautiful artwork! Love the blues! I’m a fan of horses so I’d pick one of the horse mini paintings as my favorite.

  28. Toni

    I love the Seaside Painting, which actually shares some similarities with the giveaway painting. She’s very talented.

  29. Carole Prisk

    I like Girl with Horse and I followed her on Instagram.

  30. Ellen Sloan

    I like the seaside painting-Mediterranean. All fun to look at.

  31. Patricia Kasparian

    Amelia’s work is all beautiful, and I loved her farm decor series. I especially loved the horse drinking from the bucket painting.

  32. Kelly

    Thank you for another give away! I followed Amelia on Instagram, and my favorite is the boots with flowers! She is a very talented artist!!

  33. Lyn W

    I am following Amelia on Instagram and I visited her etsy shop and love her work! I especially like the boy holding the sheep!!! Thank you for introducing her to us!

  34. Diana

    I visited Amelia’s Etsy gallery and I love her Seaside art sailboat! Thank you for sharing her work.

  35. Sally

    My favorite is the Snowy Trees painting.

  36. Jackie B

    I am following on Instagram. I love her crisp clear art! So refreshing and delightful!

  37. Kelly J

    They were all beautiful but I’m drawn to the Rooster then Winter Watercolor B. It’s more the colors than subject to me, colors have always moved me.

  38. Heidi Folk

    Hi. I visited Amelia’s Etsy shop. Now I can get lovely gifts for special people x

    Love her work, so clever

    Enjoyed your post on the linen paint swatches. I am inspired by this to play more myself. Been all work
    And no play lately

  39. Rebekah

    Thank you for introducing us to this sweet young artist! I followed her IG account. Love all her squares there!

  40. Rebekah

    i also visited Amelia’s Etsy shop. My favorite art of hers are the ones with children. She captures their innocence so beautifully!

  41. Karen

    I love all of it! The White and Yellow Poppies is delightful!

  42. Maureen McCabe Nussbeck

    It’s hard to decide with so many beautiful pieces of art but I am always drawn to roosters. My pick would definitely have to be the gorgeous colorful Rooster!!!

  43. Pamela

    well I couldn’t really choose a favorite painting, I like so many of them. Farm boy, Lamb, all the sailboats, the spring art pieces, the Buildings, the rooster and the seaside building. oh my. so many

  44. Grand Pam

    I followed Amelia on Instagram and I love the drawing of the white and yellow poppies.

  45. Alison S

    I like the spring artwork collection.

  46. Judy H.

    Such beautiful, God given talent! I was drawn to her Spring art….especially the boots, and the trees which look as if they are ready to put on their Spring attire!

  47. Jo Yates

    I followed Amelia on Instagram!

  48. Jo Yates

    I love her Seaside painting. And the Doors & the Starry Skies paintings! I love your color charts on linen also!

  49. Sue Neumaier

    I liked the red barn painting and the farm animals, so lovely.

  50. Elaine

    The color studies are beautiful! How about taping the grid then just gesso the small squares instead of the whole piece off linen?

  51. Ruth

    I know very little about painting, but could you put the tape down first and then do the gesso and then the paint?

  52. Jennifer Miller

    Thanks for sharing other artists on your site. I visited Amelia’s Etsy page and found everything to be delightful.

  53. Sue J

    The giveaway painting is my favorite along with Mediterranean City and Seaside Painting.

  54. Kathryn panko

    I love all her work, especially the night sky paintings!

  55. Kathryn panko

    Love the colors, thanks for the opportunity!

  56. Michelle

    Following on Instagram, such talent!

  57. Michelle

    Wow her starry night series, night skies, and the ocean work-so hard to choose a favorite from this young artist!

  58. Jacqueline

    I love the Mediterranean city and that she painted predominately with blue and white – draws ur eyes to the architecture

  59. Rita

    I wonder if you just couldn’t mod podge the linen to the boards. Then you have a smooth surface to work with, and don’t have to worry about staples or bull clips even though they add a nice industrial touch.

  60. Rita

    Amelia is very talented. From her etsy shop, I love the European homes. My dream is to travel one day to Europe.

  61. Rita

    I started following Amelia on IG. Natalie the cow (dated 5/9/19) is so sweet. Reminds me of the years I spent on a farm in my youth.

  62. Amber

    She is very talented. I love the farm boots under spring art. And kids sledding.

  63. Amber

    Sorry left the wrong email address before.

    She is very talented. I love the farm boots under spring art. And kids sledding.

  64. Amber

    I started following her on instagram. Looking forward to seeing her art in progress. I loved the acrylic of the kids walking. 😍

  65. Cindy

    I follow her on Instagram.

  66. Suzanne Niedrich

    Love her seaside Mediterranean print. Very talented. Thank you for sharing

  67. Suzanne Niedrich

    I also followed her on Instagram. 🙂

  68. Dawn Gahan

    The sailboat is quite dreamy. . .

  69. Sarah Powell

    I just adore the Farm Art | Farm Boy | Lamb Painting | Farm Babies | Old Barn Painting | set! It reminds me so much of home.

  70. Sarah Powell

    Excited to follow her on Instagram as well 🙂

  71. May

    Her work is beautiful and full of BLUE! Thank you for sharing! I gave her a follow.

  72. Diana jordan

    Visted and Viewed Amelia’s art…favorites are the winter ones, starry night, and the first sailboat one. But all are lovely.

  73. Vikki Jo

    I followed her on Instagram. I love her style. I would love to have her rooster painting.

  74. Vikki Jo

    I visited her Etsy shop and I am in love with her rooster painting.

  75. Leslie Dupré

    WOW!! This girl is talented!! Thank you so much for introducing me to her!! I visited both her Etsy shop & Instagram page & love everything I saw!!! I’m really loving her paintings of doors & European homes along with the Seaside & Mediterranean ones!! I see purchases being made in the near future!!
    Thanks for this giveaway!!!

  76. Michele M.

    First – what a cool idea of the linen paint blocks – what amazing wall art in a shadow box they would make! Love love love the idea – and your take on it is awesome. That was thoughtful of your reader.

    Now onto Amelia Polder’s artwork – she is amazing! What talent she has. I adore her seaside work as I grew up on an island and in the summer time boats of all kinds sailed across the backyard, if you will. But my true favorite – and I
    may have to buy it – is her white and poppies art. The botanicals call to me. I live in a relatively peaceful earth toned world and I have several places in my home that pretty piece would look fabulous.

    Thank you, Amelia for this giveaway, and thanks Marian for being the platform in which to win.

  77. Eileen Kennedy

    I love her European homes collection on EBay and I am following her in Instagram.

  78. Chris

    I love Amelias art work! She looks so young. My favorite is yellow and white poppies. I too may be purchasing some artwork soon. I am following her now on Instagram. Thanks Marian and Amelia!

  79. Denise P

    My favorite is the rooster painting.

  80. Cathy

    I love these paintings! The girl and the bunny painting was my favorite.

  81. Cathy

    I am following Amelia on Instagram. I love her work and a plus is that Amelia is my grand daughters name! I will have to purchase some of her work!!

  82. Alissa

    Thank you for the introduction to Amelia’s art. I just followed her on Instagram and I’m excited to check out her Etsy shop. As a mom of two young daughters who want to be artists ‘for a living,’ Amelia is a lovely example for them.

  83. Lynn Thomas

    Girl with horse on beach. So serene.

  84. shan

    Oooh love your linen color swatches, they are art within themselves. I also wen to the Instagram page and followed Amelia, then perused her Etsy shop as well. I love the boots with flowers planted in them or any of the starry night ones. She’s doing beautiful things.

  85. Min

    Like you Marian, I am a sucker for cows. I just love the close up of the cow. I also like the giveaway painting. Thanks for the chance to win.

  86. Virginia Luyster

    I followed Amelia in IG, what beautiful paintings! I love your work!1

  87. Val

    I love the Girl With Horse painting! And I love the linen color chart. Who would have thought?

  88. Kimberly

    Marian, those linen color swatches are just beautiful! They look like they could be framed as artwork themselves!

    Wow, I really like Amelia’s painting style! The giveaway painting would go perfect with my decor LOL! I checked out her Etsy shop and am in love with her Starry Night Collection of night sky paintings. I’m considering getting the Northern Lights one for my friend who has a birthday coming up — she used to live in Alaska and her favorite thing about being there was seeing the Northern Lights in wintertime! It would be a perfect gift. Thank you for introducing us to Amelia’s work, I love finding out about new-to-me artists, especially if it means we can support women in art!

  89. Debbie S.

    Absolutely loved the chalet and cozy cabins. Beautiful paintings! Thanks for sharing them and this opportunity. xoxo

  90. Carol C

    I adore Amelia’s paintings! I see many favorites, but I think my absolute favorite is the girl with horse on the beach!

  91. Carol C

    I’m following Amelia Polder Art on instagram!

  92. Chris Townsend

    Wow , her art is amazing, I’m now following her on Instagram, and my favourite is the watercolour doors, such colourful and interesting doorways.

  93. Mary

    Amelia has beautiful paintings! I love the Mediterranean City painting and am following Amelia on Instagram.

  94. Danielle

    You already know I love these color charts. Just too much fun!!

    Thank you for the giveaway to you both!! My favorite paintings are the farm boy set on Etsy, just so sweet!! I’m glad to have found her to follow on Instagram too

  95. Beth Kiley

    Love the winter scenes

  96. Suzette

    All of the paintings are beautiful!
    My favorite would be the Sea Scape and the rabbit.
    Thanks, Amelia for a chance to Win a beautiful piece of your art work!
    Following on Instagram and will be looking at Esty!

  97. Sally

    Loving the red barn paintings.

  98. Zanetta

    I am completely smitten with the vintage color samples on linen.
    I conversed with Amelia a couple of years ago. She’s doing so well and I like her new pieces even more! I follow her on IG (under a different name) and in her shop, I like the Seaside collection. The winter scenes are so lovely but the seaside stood out this time.
    Her whole family is so talented. Thanks for mentioning her work.

  99. Susan

    Wow, just visited her Etsy shop, she is so talented, hart to choose a favorite, love the girl with flowers or any of the seaside art pieces.

  100. Jennifer Erickson

    Your paint studies on linen are so lovely to look at, thank you for sharing them and the process; I’m looking forward to learning more as you experiment with them.

    The paintings are all lovely but the Red Barn ones really struck me! They look so cozy, and remind me of my childhood home in northern Minnesota.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

Let's Connect


Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for winter

  • parker house rolls
    Have you tried the “Parker House Rolls” recipe by Half Baked Harvest?  You can find the printable recipe and all of the details HERE.  I made them last year for […]
  • mini advent stocking tutorial | Christmas crafts
    Disclosure: This mini advent stocking tutorial is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions shared are honest and my own. When I shared my mini advent stockings just […]
  • polymer clay ornaments & tags | christmas crafts
    Are you ready for another Christmas craft?  I have just a couple more to share this week leading up to Christmas.  I have been wanting to play with polymer clay […]
  • custom cut gift tags | Christmas crafts
    Disclosure: This post on custom cut gift tags is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions are honest and my own. I’m squeezing in as much Christmas crafting […]


Articles by Date


our sponsors

Bliss and Tell Branding Company

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This