Before leaving summer behind there’s something that I want to share.
I recently finished this painting titled Colorful Tree. The art lover who requested I create it got the idea when she saw my painting of kids in a tree that I had posted on my blog years ago.* She had an empty wall just waiting for something like this, had no particulars about what medium I chose, and was in no hurry. No pressure! Fun project! I’m grateful for her patience, because I was interrupted multiple times with other projects with deadlines.
Following are excerpts from our email exchange that reveal some of the magic of this venture:
Me — This painting has been a joy to work on – more play than work. I loved creating a comfortable, climbable tree; I loved pretending I was each one of those kids; I loved dressing each child and imagining their personalities. Every time I thought it was finished, I photographed it for your approval and noticed something else to fix. But I better stop now before I go too far and wreck something! If there’s something I can alter to make it more to your liking, I will do my best. It’s been so fun!
Client — Barb, I just LOVE this!!! It is gorgeous. Just what I was hoping for! I was mulling over one change. Would you be willing to change the skin tone of one the kids? I don’t care at all which one and while all of my grandkids will most likely be white, I kind of like the idea of some variety. I know that I never mentioned this so I apologize for this inconvenience. It never occurred to me. Let me know your thoughts … Thank you, Barb, I really do love it!
Me — I’m so glad you’re pleased. I have to reveal something pretty funny. As I worked on this I had an Irish redhead on the swing, Hispanic boy up on the limb, lovely Asian girl in the crook of the tree, little blondie tackling the kite and a brown skinned beauty kicking off her sandals. But in final stages I allowed them to morph into a generic crew, because I felt I was being presumptuous. I went back & forth thinking, well…they could be at a city park?! Anyway, pretty funny huh? I’ll make changes & send photos for your approval.
Client — Oh your original plan was perfect. Go for it!!!
ME — I’ll do my best 🤓
Client — I’m sure it will be fabulous 🥰
She didn’t want to risk damage or loss via shipping and offered to drive from Illinois to my studio in Wisconsin. I suggested we meet halfway, and so we were able to enjoy a nice lunch. She was interested in how I created the painting and asked questions about the process. One of the things I told her was about a song I learned as a child in Sunday School:
🎼 Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world 🎶
This song ran through my mind as I composed the drawing, chose colors, mixed and applied the paint. I’m fortunate to be friends with two artists who are experts in mixing skin tones; they educated me in using undertones of red or blue depending on ethnicity. It’s tricky.
* The earlier painting of “kids in a tree” that my client recalled can be found on my blog. The title of this post is Poetry + Soccer = America Scores. You can easily go to it by clicking here. This is the artwork:
My last newsletter was posted December of last year, so I have a few other project updates I’d like to share
I created another book cover that turned out to be helpful in my quest to learn more about painting digitally. This came about as I was grappling with the composition for the commissioned design. I uploaded my drawings to the Procreate app on my iPad, then using the incredibly magic Apple Pencil started experimenting… So fun! I moved back & forth working on canvas, paper and the digital app and sending images of my progress to Mr. Turelli for his feedback and guidance. Quite the learning process for me! The author’s website is: PaulTurelli.com
My Catch of the Day painting was included in an exhibit this last June with my friends at Oddball Art Labs. As a teenager I heard rumors about Big Foot who roamed around the countryside near Big Hollow Road in Peoria, Illinois. I returned to scout out the area earlier this year. At dusk it was still spooky for me to visit alone. A narrow train bridge came into view as I drove around a curve on the isolated, tree-lined country road, the sides of its inner walls covered with graffiti. It took me back to my high school days and inspired my entry for this artwork.
Also I created a logo for Precious Tots Preschool where my daughter Tobi teaches. The design needed to include what the director of her school desired for their new T-shirt fundraiser. I putzed around long enough with various designs and kept throwing in new ideas for approval – back & forth – I could have gone on forever I was having so much fun… But Tobi finally had to say, “Mom, stop! Quit changing things! It’s fine the way it is!!!” So with the help of Dori, my younger daughter who was finalizing the project for print on fabric, I was able to slip in one more itty bitty improvement to balance the composition – a little tuffet of grass in the bottom left corner. Tobi will never know unless she reads this far into my newsletter, which I admit is rather lengthy.😬
It was a fun summer. We made it to Milwaukee’s Summerfest to see the James Taylor/Cheryl Crow concert, Bob cleaned out the garden shed, designed and had a bar built for our deck, met some cute cows out in the countryside during one of his photography assignments, and we celebrated the 4th of July with Roxy & Ringo:
🙏 Thanks for reading and looking… 👀
p.s. My friend who knows a lot about watercolor told me that yellow “pushes” other colors. I did this experiment to watch it happen. I’m aware that it’s a visually powerful color but just look how it punched into this red! I used this for the background of the banners in this newsletter. I painted it on postcard paper, scanned the image and uploaded it to the Canva app to make my designs. I also sent the postcard via the U.S. post service to my friend way out near Seattle 🙂