February: So Sweet

My painting theme this month is "sweet" and here are four of my paintings, with a variety of subjects, which I think fit this category. Of course, February is always sweet for me, since Valentine's Day is the day I married my forever sweetheart!

"Decadence" features a super sweet display of yummy chocolates. This painting was a real departure from my usual subject matter. I purposely aimed at creating a strong and unusual image, since my intention was to enter the painting in a watercolor competition and I've learned that a painting needs to be different to attract the juror's interest. This painting is about 2' x 3' so the chocolates really jump out! Technically, it was a good challenge to paint so many variation on brown, and I also had fun making the foil look shiny silver on the outside and matte brown on the inside of the pleated cups. Not only did this painting get accepted into the exhibition, it was also an award winner. The original, painted with acrylic paints used transparently on watercolor paper, is for sale for $700, unframed.

"When She Was Three" was inspired under very different circumstances. I had photographed sweet little Aubrey while attending a friend's family reunion, as she innocently played along the edge of the Tellico River. I loved how the sunlight sparkled on her tousled fine hair and backlit her shirt, her right arm and the greenery. The pail, shovel, and denim jeans gave me lots of color variation and texture to paint, while the rocky ground was primarily rendered by the use of highlights and shadows. The transparency of the shallow river water was another challenge. I created this painting in acrylic paints on canvas.
The original When She Was Three painting sold to Aubrey's family, but I have limited edition giclee prints on canvas for sale, which look so close to the original that I can barely tell the difference myself.
    Image Size, same as the original art:  16" x 20" in charcoal wood frame $325; unframed $225       
    Image Size:  10" x 8" in white wood frame with red highlights $150; unframed $100

I've done many paintings which include glass canning jars, and "Miss Shirley's Zinnias" was the first. I've added this to my "sweet" theme, because my friend Shirley is one of the sweetest ladies you could ever meet. I think this was also my first attempt to depict lace in a watercolor painting, which is a big challenge. In traditional watercolor painting technique, which I used here, the areas of white are the unpainted paper. So to make it look like lace, I lightly stained the paper with ivory tones to make the lace look old. Once that dried, I had to paint the dark holes which are the surface showing through the lace… it sort of requires you to think backwards. The original of this painting resides with Shirley, but because so many people loved the painting I have open edition prints on paper available in 8"x10" and 5"x7", at $17, and $9 respectively, and I have two prints 12.5" x 17.5", @ $40.

My final "sweet" painting is my portrait of Ellie Mae. I can take no credit for the gentle, loving, and easy nature of this sweetheart, who wandered from the woods onto our friends' porch as a puppy on a cold February day ten years ago. We don't know her lineage, but she has the appearance and traits of a breed which was added to the AKC a few years ago, the American English Coonhound. More than likely she was bred to be a hunting dog but either got separated from the pack or discarded because she's very afraid of gunshot… we'll never know. She won our hearts and has captured many others in her journeys with us. As with all my animal portraits (which I do as commissions for many pet-loving parents), I painted this in acrylics on canvas. This painting hangs in my own little dog gallery, along with portraits of my other doggie babies, and, sorry, it is not for sale!

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