Eileen Burgess, Canvas Studio Art {Our NJ Mompreneur of the Week}


As a child, Eileen Burgess, our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, was always creating, so much so that her kindergarten teacher foresaw her talent and encouraged her parents to make a small art area where she could paint at her leisure. Since then, Eileen Burgess has been painting all her life—her stunningly beautiful paintings combine classical oil painting methods with a contemporary minimalist compositional and are sought after by interior designers and repeat clients. But it’s through her business—Canvas Studio Art—that she’s able to spread the love of creating. The Fair Haven studio is a haven for budding artists, from kids to adults, where they can learn new techniques, experiment with different media, and develop their own unique style. We chatted with this Rumson mom of four to discover how painting has always been part of her DNA, how her son has helped her expand her business, and the local spot where she and her daughter paint en plein air. 

Eileen Burgess Canvas Studio Art assist

Our NJMOMpreneur, Eileen Burgess, helps out a student.

Please share a bit about your family and career background.  My husband, John Burgess, and I have four children: J.P., 25, Kate, 23, Billy, 19, and Danny, 16. We moved to Rumson right after 9/11 and immediately fell in love with the community, our neighborhood, and our friends here. I grew up in Rockaway Beach, NY, so living by a beach was really important to me. Previously, I worked as a producer in film, primarily TV and documentaries, so I thrive when I have a lot on my plate–a great skill set when you’re running your own business. 

Have you always been into art? I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting. My dad was a special ed teacher, and when I was in Kindergarten or first grade, my art teacher saw something in me and told my dad to make sure I had plenty of materials around all the time so that I could practice and create to my heart’s content. That has stuck with me throughout the years. I really believe that all children should have an area with art supplies and a little desk or easel so that they can be creative every single day. 

Eileen Burgess Canvas Studio Art

Eileen’s student showing off his art.

Why launch this particular business?  I started Canvas Studio Art with three of my artist friends because our community’s focus has always been on kids’ sports, so we wanted something for kids to come and create.  Although we launched it with our primary focus being kids, we also did “clubs” for adults. It’s always been a place to bring people together. The pandemic made it tough to figure out how to move forward with our business, especially since people couldn’t gather together for classes. To accommodate restrictions, we tried to shift to step-by-step canvas kits for home and hold online classes. However, as restrictions around the pandemic began to lift, my other partners (all empty nesters) were ready to travel and move on to different ventures. I didn’t want to let the business go.  

Is there a specific project that everyone loves? Teaching kids to create their own unique colors is magical. Color mixing allows them to see more realistic colors like what you actually see in nature—not like the blue or the green that’s straight out of a tube—and I love seeing the excitement in them as they grasp this. That’s very satisfying for me.

What’s next for Canvas Studio Art? My youngest son, Danny, and I are creating step-by-step painting kits called Kits for Kids. They have all the necessary materials and easy instructions to show you how to draw things like owls, dogs, and birds. This incredible pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Campolattaro (who helped my oldest son when he had a horrible eye injury) will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to perform surgery there and my youngest and I will be traveling there, too. We’ll bring our kits to the waiting area and show them how to do it. I’m sure it will help put some of these kids at ease. My son and I are really looking forward to this. 

What do you hope your children have learned from seeing you as an entrepreneur? I hope their takeaway is to follow their passions, work in a field they love, and give back to the community in some way. Much of my motivation comes from wanting to be a model for my kids. I firmly believe that being authentic – not pretending to be anyone else – leads to success. When you’re authentically yourself, show up and give as much as you can each day, and if you tackle each hurdle as it presents itself, it all comes together. 

Eileen Burgess Canvas Studio Art family

Our NJ MOMpreneur, Eileen Burgess, with her family.

Please share some favorite NJ-based businesses. I’m a big believer in women supporting and helping each other, whether leading by example or through encouragement. Taste & Technique Cooking is a wonderful cooking school owned by a mom of 6. They have lots of different classes, workshops and camps for adults and children, too. Also, everyone loves Snake and Twist Pilates, which has group classes, private sessions and more, plus Paulette, the owner, is so energizing. And Prim Designs, an interior design firm in Bay Head, is wonderful. Known for beautiful and functional design, they respond to my work and show a lot of my paintings. 

Please share some NJ spots that you and your family love. Sandy Hook is special. We always go when the kids come home from school or college. My daughter and I enjoy painting en plein air, and we love the different vistas there—there are so many beautiful spots, and they’re right in our backyard. Also, Navasink is a great source of art inspiration for me, particularly during the sunrise or golden hour. 

What’s your best piece of advice for a mompreneur just starting? Collaborate with people with different expertise than you, which is extra important when trying to build a successful business. Also, I learned from working in the film industry the importance of delegating because it’s almost impossible to do it all without having others help out where and when needed.  And for me, mentorship is critical. I like the idea of allowing younger people to learn and grow. It’s not uncommon for me to have high school kids do internships here so they get a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of doing business.

For more information on Eileen Burgess and Canvas Studio Art, please see her website, Facebook, and Instagram pages. 


About Author

Nancy Weinberg Simon lives in Summit, NJ with her husband and two children, a 20-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter. She's a former beauty editor whose work has appeared in print and online in Family Circle, Ladies' Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, smartbeautyguide.com, zwivel.com, and beautyinthebag.com, among others. After living in NYC for almost 20 years, Nancy returned to the Garden State when it was time to raise her family. She loves reading everything and anything she can get her hands on, entertaining friends and family, traveling the world, scouring estate sales, and crafting jewelry.