Years ago we started the tradition of them painting an original oil piece at the table in my studio while I worked at my big easel. Watching them grow in confidence, choosing their subject, size, hand drawing their images, and mixing paints with little aid from me has been great fun.
This post will tell the 2019 Great Painting Adventure at Christmas.
Katie and Amanda arrived first with their parents, my sister and brother-in-law.
The first day they were here, they chose their subjects.
Amanda wanted to paint a piece to give to her horse-loving sister for her birthday. We looked through my digital reference and realized that to find what she really wanted, it was time to dig around in my printed photos. Fortunately all approximately 25,000 are cross-referenced so it was pretty easy to find the ones from my 2001 Iceland trip. Amanda chose an Icelandic mare with her foal.
Katie, after looking at my digital horse photos, was drawn to the Horse Guards for Her Majesty the Queen of England. She chose a particularly alert horse and knew she had a challenging subject on her hands.
After deciding how big they wanted their paintings, they went off to the studio to start their grids and draw their subjects.
Audrey and Olivia arrived 2 days later with their parents (my brother and sister-in-law) and their older brother, my nephew Jared.
Audrey knew she wanted more of a landscape feel with the animal part of the scenery rather than an animal portrait. A lot of paint shop pro moving of things and cropping and she had her African landscape with an elephant.
Olivia wasn't quite sure what she wanted to paint but it was obvious when we came across some wild bear cub photos I had. When we both said, "Awwwww," that was it.
|Katie Amanda Audrey Olivia|
Audrey starting with her sky and in the left foreground, Olivia working on her drawing.
All hard at work.
Sometimes it is hard to get them to stop and come over to the house for lunch or dinner!
Katie's detail work requiring a steady hand
Audrey working on her landscape
I wish I had taken more in progress photos but while the girls were painting, so was I. We talked, listened to music together (yes, most of the time we enjoyed the same music), and painted.
Their paintings are now dry and I have scanned them. Once I varnish them, the colors will be intensified but you can get a feeling of them below.
Olivia's bear cub painting
7.75" X 9"
Olivia did a wonderful job on her second Christmas oil painting. The format, slightly off square, gives room for the seed parachutes from the spent dandelion somewhere to fly. Her fur detail feels "furry" and the way she painted the nose gives a depth to the bear cub. Olivia captured a sense of innocence in the painting which can be difficult for even seasoned painters.
Audrey's elephant landscape
Sophomore in college
6" X 13"
What a dynamic painting from Audrey. She added subtle details like a slight purple hue above the peach hills which enhances the hills' colors. Then, Audrey continued that color in to the rest of the landscape. (This was with no prompting from me.) Not only does her painting have a sense of movement, but it also feels expansive. Both are very difficult to pull off in such a small format.
Well done Audrey!
Amanda's Icelandic horse painting
Freshman in college
8" X 8"
First, how generous of Amanda to want to paint a piece for her sister Katie. It certainly was endearing when Katie would glance over at Amanda's progress and say "they are so cute and fuzzy!" These horses were photographed in Iceland in May and still had their winter coats.
Amanda's choice of a square format was wise. It emphasizes the bond between mother and child. Her strategically placed loose brushstrokes were just right to give the feeling of the soft winter coats and the horses' thick manes. This painting took a subtle hand and Amanda carried it off beautifully.
Katie's Horse Guard painting
Junior in college
10" X 8"
Katie did not finish her painting on this trip and I am so glad she didn't. This is going to be a particularly special painting and deserves to have all the care she put in to what she has completed so far to continue. Details in the tack like the metal chain, gold buckles, and silver chest piece all required not only a steady hand, but difficult techniques. Of course she could have rushed to finish or skipped some details, but next Christmas, she can take her time and complete a painting with which she will be extremely proud.
A very "well done" to you Katie!!!