The New and Improved Thinking Cap

Hanging out with family I seldom get to see is super fun. Whenever my parents have any grandchildren over, they always like to do fun and special things. If you are wondering where I get the wherewithal to create fabulous doodles, you need look no further than my awesome Mom. She has always been creative and is on the lifelong search for the perfect project. Sometimes she finds that project and needs to find a new one.

Get Outta My Space!

This year, when my brother’s kids came from Texas for Spring Break, my mom decided she needed to do this cool planet project. The original idea is to use oil based spray paint to make sweet planets and moons on a piece of paper. We were going to try it out on some T-shirts. We soon discovered some problems with the initial plan, and my mom created this ingenuous work around to make sweet, sweet shirts for the three boys.  (My Brother and sister in law have seven kids, five of which are quintuplets).

Like Saturn, but without the rings

Like Saturn, but without the rings

Neptune-ish plus mini-Mars!

Neptune-ish plus mini-Mars!

Excellent Black storms on a green planet

Excellent Black storms on a green planet

Riley is Too Cool for School and also the dining room

Riley is Too Cool for School and also the dining room

The gun show is apparently across the solar system

The gun show is apparently across the solar system

So, as you can see, my mom is ridiculously awesome. Also, space puns anybody?

Flower Hats

Upon further consideration, my mom decided the planet shirts were cool, but that the girls might want something a little different. At the last minute, we decided we should do some hand-painted hats, similar to a hat my mom painted for herself. We did three pink hats for the three young girls, a black hat for the tween, and a pillbox-type cap for mom.

yellow flower hat 1

Kaydence

Kaydence

purple flower hat 1

Kassidy

Kassidy

Kyndall

Kyndall

teal flower hat 2

Kaiya

Kaiya

My sister-in-law got a special hat to commemorate the state where she grew up, Hawaii.

Rachelle

Rachelle

hybiscus hat 2

Going downtown wearing their color coordinating duds

Going downtown wearing their color coordinating duds

 

 

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Flashback to Fine Art

I have plenty of doodles in the works, but I thought I would go back to an actual, real-life painting I did several years ago of a beloved doggy. My friend, who owns Gannon Grooming, lost her best puppy buddy, and I wanted to give her something to remember him by. Before I started doodling in my free time, my natural media was acrylic paints, which I used for this precious Cocker Spaniel. I took several photos to illustrate the process my painting go through.

1. Initial sketch (Not pictured. Use your imagination if you so desire)

2.Laying the Color Foundation

When I begin a painting, I like to lay down the first wash of colors for as much of the painting as possible, then go in later with darker or lighter colors, in some cases adding a dozen or more washes before the painting is complete. As you can see in this snapshot, the colors are muted and lots of canvas is showing through.

 

Early stages in my painting style

Early stages in my painting style

3. Adding Rough Darks

Here it is easier to see the brush strokes, especially in the fur under the chinny chin chin. I believe I was concentrating mainly on the nose and tongue, which is why they look more finished and life-like.

With my style, I like to lay darks, then use slight washes of near transparent creams or whites to scale back for the right hue.

With my style, I like to lay darks, then use slight washes of near transparent creams or whites to scale back for the right hue.

4. The Creepy Phase

There is always a point in a portrait that looks a little weirder than it should. This is that phase. I also have added some richness to the shadows if you can get past the empty eyes.

AHH!

AHH!

5. Details

The longest part of a painting for me is working on the details, which makes sense. Sometimes, the details are overwhelming. My mom can certainly attest to this since she still has a half-finished painting that I never got around to completing in her basement. It is complete enough to get the general idea of what it is, but the details were so subtle that I just couldn’t work on it any more. (Sorry mom! I’ll repaint it soon!). To me, the most important details are the eyes and expression. I could have left the painting like this I think, but that’s not my style.

Phew, no more soulless eyes. I love working on the eyes, since it makes the work come alive.

Phew, no more soulless eyes. I love working on the eyes, since it makes the work come alive.

6. Knowing When to Stop

It is important for me to accept that no work of art is going to be perfect. It can approach perfection, but not knowing when to stop will only lead me down a trail of misery and tears. There will always be something that I can look back and see that I Should have done differently, but as an old Vulcan Proverb says, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Happy Guy! Baxter makes a handsome pup.

Happy Guy! Baxter makes a handsome pup.

Every dog story ends in tears, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the unconditional love of the best friend you will ever have! Adopt from a local shelter or go give your canine companion a big hug and some peanut butter. If you would like to see more posts like this, let me know in the comments!

Oldies but Goodies

Since I have slacked at finishing my Iris doodle, I have decided to post some old work that my mom and dad emailed me. These are arranged in the order that I drew/painted them. They are not quite doodles, but they will have to do.

Pencil sketch of a Lion Fish. About the size of a piece of office paper.

Pencil sketch of a Lion Fish. About the size of a piece of office paper.

Acryllic. About 3"x4" in size. Painted mainly with a signing brush.

Sara the Beagle. Acrylic. Small. About 3″x4″ in size. Painted mainly with a 1″ calligraphy brush.

Guache on paper. Doc Martins

Gouache on paper. Doc Martins

Guache (this is a paint similar to watercolor)on paper. Painted plein air style.

Gouache (this is a paint similar to watercolor)on paper. Painted plein air style.

Painted in Acrylic. Commissioned by my mom. about 4' square in size.

Aspens. Painted in Acrylic. Commissioned by my mom. about 4′ square in size.

Acrylic. About 2'x4' in size

Acrylic. About 2’x4′ in size

Acrilic. About 2'x4' in size

Acrylic. About 2’x4′ in size

 

The shoes and the landscape are the only pieces that I did not use a photo as a reference, but instead used my very own eyes and some real objects. Sara the beagle won a community student art contest when I was a senior in high school. Most of these my mom has hanging on the walls in her house.

Hopefully, I can get the Irises over with and begin a doodle I’m excited about instead.