So my latest endeavor has been making creative/colorful/fun portraits of my grandkids. Today I’ll share the process and finished images of two of them – our oldest grands – who happen to be siblings. I haven’t been creating in chronological order exactly but thought I might share them that way anyhow!
I’ve found it a much different process to create female vs. male portraits, although I’m not exactly sure why. It’s not the facial structure so much, although that does differs, but I think maybe with the added color/highlights on their faces I tend to be more sparse with the splashes of color when creating a girl vs. feeling bolder with a guy? Or perhaps since we have five granddaughters and only two grandsons I’m just not getting as much practice on the guys? Not really sure! Here are some of the progress images of our oldest grandson:
I fall in & out of love several times during the process and, at least once, want to chuck it and forget trying but after several of them I’m realizing that’s part of my process. I struggled with the shape & proportions a lot during the first three or four of these but it’s gotten easier. Is that why they always say “practice, practice, practice”? Here is the finished image of his painting:
The work on my oldest granddaughter’s image went through the same process, there were times it just looked horrid but, in the end, I finally loved it. Here are some progress images:
I hope that sharing these rough images I will encourage you to not give up on your artwork, even if you feel like it’s not going well at all! Keep persevering! (Although I did paint completely over one piece so that’s also an option – do overs are always allowed!) Here is the final image:
As far as media I used graphite for the sketch, lots of acrylic paint, stencils for the backgrounds and a generous amount of acrylic paint pens as well. These are all on 9×12″ canvases…once I’ve done them all I am going to hang them all up together and have a “grandkid gallery” to enjoy!
I hope you are enjoying your creative time! With love,
In a recent email I was sharing my thoughts on how this year has gone from my standpoint as an artist and decided it also might make a good blog post. I want to preface my thoughts by saying that I am blessed! I am healthy, my family is healthy, we are not in a food or financial crisis and realize that this pandemic has had devastating consequences for many families and countries. My situation is probably one of the easiest to be in – just stay home and keep to myself! But I know even those of us that are only required to do that, it has been a major shift in our daily life.
When it finally happened – the last of all the events on my schedule was cancelled and all the galleries were closed I felt more than a little lost. First, to be completely honest, I mourned a bit. An empty calendar looming is hard to reconcile at first. I was heading into what had appeared to be a great year – I had big art events scheduled, new and old, had joined a new gallery, with a paid residency to look forward to and within a couple of weeks it had all disappeared and was replaced by a heavy layer of fear hanging in the air. I didn’t know what to do, so I shut down and did absolutely nothing! After a week or so of sitting on the couch wallowing in a bit of self pity, I finally returned to the studio and began completing the work in progress that was for upcoming shows. It seemed like a waste of time, there was no reason to push myself to complete the art now. It was slow going, with low enthusiasm but, looking back, I’m glad I continued. Eventually there will be shows again and I’ll be ready! After that I took care of some “business” things that I don’t always enjoy but had plenty of time to get off of my to-do list. Redesigned business cards, overhaul the website, cancel upcoming classes, post on my blog, re-write my artist statement and updating my resume were among the mundane chores that I finished.
Throughout this time Spring was finally beginning to show its face, hiding here and there among the dead winter leaves and bare trees. I walk daily, often multiple time, outdoors in the woods and around the fields – observing the changes, taking photographs and just absorbing the peaceful calm of nature. It’s probably been the most grounding experience during all of this. Although I am one to enjoy the coming of spring and signs of new life (I admit I am a wildflower geek!) this year it seemed to hold an even greater promise. When I was feeling that I was just trapped in time there was evidence that life would go on, and actively looking for it was both a good distraction and a great joy.
After a few weeks I returned to the empty calendar and looked at it again, with fresh eyes. It didn’t seem as empty now, it was full of possibilities. All those “one of these days” things we all talk about? Well, now was the time. I sorted through half-finished projects and completed or discarded them so they no longer took up space in my studio or my mind. I cleaned and organized the studio (not that you could tell it now!). I carved many new stamps and used them on scrap papers, then painted more scrap papers with vibrant colors – all added to my stash of papers I can choose from when I decide to collage next. When all else fails, on particularly rough days, I continue to do small slices of creative work in my art journals. I began an online class that I had purchased last year and, most likely, wouldn’t have ever slowed down long enough to sit and learn. That led to inspiration of more new creativity. and I just signed up for another class!
The days have begun to finally flow in a slow, comfortable rhythm that includes outdoor time, reading, learning, working in the studio and “daily life” activities. I am also taking better care of myself – exercise, full nights of sleep, cooking delicious meals, soaking in the tub and just being more aware of what my body wants and needs. In the meantime the calendar will begin to fill. A few events have set re-scheduled dates. I’ve discovered some virtual opportunities to participate in. I’ve been blessed with grants from the Indiana Arts Council and a couple of small commissioned projects so I can pay the bills and keep myself supplied in paints and materials. For now, I’m going to take advantage of this slow time.
How have you dealt with the last few months? Are you feeling confident of the future or cautious? I think I waiver between the two, especially if I am exposed to the media for any length of time! Then I need to retreat – into a book, into the studio, into some music or into the woods. I hope you have found your retreats and are able to use them when needed – love & blessing to you!
As I’ve navigated these odd times, with no art events on the horizon yet, I’ve spent more & more time working on personal art project. Last post I shared about an online portraiture course I’ve been working through, which inspired me to attempt some portraits on my own – starting with my fur babies! They all turned out a bit different that each other, I can’t say I’ve settled on a “style” just yet but they all make me happy anyhow! My first attempt was to create an image of my sweet old gal, Emmy. She recently turned nine, we rescued her over two years ago and she has stolen our heart, and we have hers – although she’s not a lovey/friendly gal with just everyone. 😉 The best guess is that she is black lab and perhaps a bit of Rotwieller. Here are the images of the painting process:
I had so much fun I immediately jumped in and started working on my second image – this time of our not-quite-as-old guy (he just turned eight), Carl. Carl joined us a little over a year ago and kind of turned our world upside down – in a good way! He is smart, curious, full of energy and LOTS of fun. The calm and quiet is gone by the happiness has increased for sure! Carl is several inches and a few pounds bigger than Miss Em, he’s a mix of black lab and possibly Great Dane. He has these eyes that are so bright and direct and seem to look right through you!
Well now I just HAD to try my hand at my oldest pet, Miss Amy, the tuxedo cat! We adopted her about ten years ago and guess she is about twelve. She was a feral/outdoor cat that we adopted to be a mouser in our garage. She wouldn’t come near the door, let alone in the house for the first year we had her. That slowly changed and when we moved several years ago she decided being a house cat was a pretty good life! The last five years she has been my “studio cat” and has the run of the studio.
Last, but certainly not least, I created a painting of my good friend, Corey! His momma and I have been friends for years and he’s been a frequent visitor here at our house (although not so much now that Carl joined the pack). He is part Corgi and part Beagle and just as sweet as he looks. This was a gift for his mom, who really enjoyed it – even if Corey wasn’t all that impressed!
Next up? Both my grandson’s have their own pups so they’ll be on the easel soon!