Saturday, January 28, 2012

December Creation

December Creation (2011):

Michael and I were shopping at Burlington Coat Factory when we saw some really cool paintings.
I thought "I could do that..." and took pictures with my phone.
Those pictures sat in my phone for about 6 months before I finally did something about them. 
Maybe it's weird to paint pictures of ladies as a Christmas present for my husband, but we love these. And I'm excited, inspired, and a little proud that I actually could do that...

So I completely copied these. And I guess that's naughty...? How does that work? I will never sell them or pretend they're my idea. Plus, I'd totally flaunt the artist's name if I could have read her it's not totally my fault, right? I even did a Google Image Recognition Search, and all I got was models in blue cocktail dresses. (UPDATE: FOUND HER!) And one more thing: I know these are not expertly framed. I know that. I have to swallow my pride in showing the world that these are wrinkly pictures in poorly-fitted frames. The paper is an awkward size (18" x 13"), we can't afford custom frames, and I'm so new at watercoloring that the paper wrinklage was unavoidable.
I have read how to fix it, and I will...but for now, this project is finished.

One Saturday, when Michael would be at work all day, I realized it was probably my last chance to do this very secretly for Michael. Scarlett graciously took a 3-hour nap, and I worked in a mad rush. She awoke just as I finished cleaning up my mess.

I printed my shoddy phone pictures across four computer pages each. I taped those together and then taped each picture on our living room window. Then I taped a sketching paper over each one. I sketched like mad while the winter light dwindled.

When I finished sketching, I sat down to practice some watercolor techniques. Years ago, my Aunt Vicki taught me how to paint darling little flower wreaths and delicate flower vines climbing stone walls. This would be different, I knew. And I couldn't find my professional watercolor paintset, sadly. So I used a little set from Germany that originally belonged to my little sister.
After sketching and after painting, I hairsprayed the pictures. Yes, I did. I know it's kind of weird, but I learned that trick from someone who did it to their sketches to prevent smearing. I probably overdid it, but it actually really helped to "set" everything.

I cleaned up all evidence and hung the paintings to dry with magnet clips in the furnace closet (a terrible place!) and prayed that Michael wouldn't suddenly decide he needed to look in there.
The next day, while we were wrapping presents, I zipped between the furnace closet and my desk and pressed the paintings flat in my sketchbook. Then, I took advantage of a few tiny minutes when Michael went to buy tape or something, and I rolled the paintings under a wrapping paper tube. We packed that tube with our presents when we left for my parents' home, and Michael just thought I was being weird and bringing my own wrapping paper. So he thought nothing and said nothing.
I'm so tricky, right?

I learned so much from copying these pictures. I don't know exactly what, but I saw inside the artist's work in how she got this look. It was so exciting to mimic and feel enlightened. I felt like a student. I even feel like it opened a doorway into that method and style so that I can execute my own ideas of this sort.


  1. You know, I didn't even notice that the frames weren't the right size or that the paper was wrinkly. Is that comforting?


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