Toy portrait gets furry

I spent a couple of hours working on the bunny and the bear this week. The bunny looks suitably soft and furry and the bear is coming along too. Their bow ties need work. The blocks will be challenging because of the varied perspectives on each. Is that a vanishing points problem? Yikes! I was eager to lighten the yellow color of the drape but ran out of time. Next few weeks: the bear, the blocks, the background, the details and more furry texture…

Still life with bunny and bear
Toy portrait progress, acrylic

Teddy Bear and Bunny: starting a Toy Portrait

Teddy Bear and toy bunny with blocks
Posing the toys for their portrait

My next acrylic painting is for two of my grandchildren. The Teddy Bear and Toy Bunny lean on each other, holding paws and posing with three wooden blocks that spell out the children’s initials. The toys lounge on a waffle-weave, soft yellow crib blanket. I want the painting to have soft colors and show the cozy, fuzzy texture of the toys.

Under painting for toy portrait
Under painting for the toy portrait

I drew the still life with charcoal, erasing it entirely or partially several times until the proportions seemed about right. Then I fixed the charcoal drawing with casein spray so it wouldn’t smear into the paint. Next I painted the toys with a wash of raw umber and the drape with Naples yellow. Next week in class I will add more colors and darker values to the figures and background.

Fall Still Life: adding details and finishing: art lessons during a pandemic

Looking back on my painting progress and process, by early December, the pumpkin had rotted and was put out for the squirrels. The flowers were dead and brittle. The gourd was hanging in there pretty well, but I was frustrated. And cold. Very cold.

I was now working from a combination of a large printout of an old photograph, an iPad on a stand displaying the photograph of the still life as it originally was, and the sad remnants of the still life on the table. I was also a little tired of the whole thing after two months. Plus, with the Pandemic raging around us, I was masked, glasses fogging up, bundled up in layers, and leaving the studio doors open because three of us were working in the shared studio. We kept our distance, trying to converse through muffling masks across the space and hands frozen in medical gloves because we shared some brushes and paints. Well, this was an art class unlike any other in the past and I’m sure we will look back on it and be amazed.

Fall still life in progress, acrylics
Fall Still life in progress, acrylics

This was my first acrylic painting aside from a couple quick studies last fall. I plan to keep going with this medium in 2021.

Fall still life in progress, acrylics
Fall Still life in progress, acrylics, week after week progress

When I finished the painting, I disassembled the still life I had been studying for weeks. The gourd went out for the squirrels. The dead flowers were thrown out. The vase washed and put away. The battered silver tray returned to my kitchen to hold a bottle of hand soap and sanitizer. I folded the red flannel drape for future use in my studio. I’m ready to gaze at a new still life.

I finally finished my painting in the week before the Christmas break in our classes. I learned a lot. I could not have done this without the excellent and patient instruction from my wonderful teacher. Teachers rock! Happy New Year!

Fall still life
Fall Still Life, acrylics…finished!
Artist masked for pandemic
Artist at work during pandemic

Merry Christmas!

Chickadee , watercolor
Chickadee, watercolor

This year’s Christmas card is a watercolor painting of a chickadee. The birds in my yard rarely pose long enough for their portrait (ha ha) so my source photograph was taken by my art teacher and used, with her permission, as the model for my 2020 card. I finished the painting in the Fall of 2019 and I sent it to the printers this Fall in time to mail out my cards. However, the mail system is so overwhelmed during the Pandemic, that I am sending more digital copies than usual. Merry Christmas!

Fall Still Life: in progress

Fall still life, acrylic
Fall Still Life, acrylic (week 3)
Fall Still Life, acrylic (week 4)

Once the still life was sketched on the canvas and the basic colors were established with thin coats of under painting, I started to work on one part of the painting at a time. In two classes, I built up the colors and details mainly on the pumpkin and gourd, but also adding some areas of thicker paint to the silver tray, crystal vase and bouquet of flowers. The pumpkin is finished by week four and the gourd is close to being finished.