Entwined

Last year I got the privilege to hold my young grandsons for a 2 week period. I loved playing hard and resting with cuddles. The second week of my visit was more cuddles then playing hard as I had come down with covid, but didn’t know it. One day I just woke up and i was very weak, tired, and my legs would buckle under me. I never had any of the typical symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, soar throat… Just couldn’t stand up and walk for any length of time.

The boys were great with sitting and cuddling with me as I put my feet up. Grey the oldest boy even handed me his beloved stuff toy one day and told me that DOG would help me sleep better during my nap time. This was such a precious gift because Grey couldn’t sleep without him. It just melted my heart. But that’s what grandkids do to us Grandmas!

One day during this cuddle time I looked down to see that the boys had intertwined themselves around my arms, making it hard to see where They began and I ended. I had been wanting to do a series on hands and feet for a while, but never had the inspiration. But this, I knew was the moment I had been waiting for. SO I asked my daughter in law Emily to take a quick photo before the boys moved.

It was months before I had recovered enough to actually work on the painting. It turned out I has gotten long covid.

My vision had just the arms and legs without faces but to do that I would need a custom made canvas. Frankly by the time I got feeling good enough to paint it I just didn’t want to wait any longer for the new stretcher bars to arrive. So I just framed it the same as the photo and started.

The more I blocked it in the more dissatisfied with it I became. I felt that by leaving the boys faces in the painting it looked more like it was going to be a portrait. But as a Portrait it felt weird because my head was cut out of the painting. Right?

So, As I worked on it during art class I began to tell my students that I was going to put this painting on a smaller canvas cutting out the faces as I had originally envisioned. They all protested, but I was certain that that was what the painting needed. SO I ordered the new stretcher bars and waited.

Cropping it, I finally had it exactly the way I originally had envisioned it. SO I proceeded to add details until I had finished. It now proudly hangs in my living room reminding me everyday of my sweet Florida boys!

If you have any Questions or comments please comment below! I would love to hear from you.

For prints you can find this and other pieces I’ve painted on FineArtAmerica by clicking this link.

Shared Surprise

Shared Surprise is #4 in my Motherhood series. This painting tells the story of sharing the joy of a new baby with your older child/ children. I have kinda haloed mother and child not because this is the Madonna and child but because of the sacredness of motherhood itself.

My reference was a little more challenging this time as it was in Black and white. But there were others in the photo shoot that were edited in color so I used them as reference as well.

My usual process of drawing my image onto the canvas and blocking in color and value were followed to the T. it was so important to me to get the body language drawn correctly as it tells such a beautiful story. This photo took me back to when my mamma told me that I was going to be a big sister.

I have this image hanging on a cabinet door in my studio! I love this photo of me and my mom!

OK, So back to this painting, LOL! To harmonise with the other paintings in the series I kept the color pallet the same and the style the same. but when I got everything painted in I felt I needed to darken the floor to ground my subject so they were not floating. I also darkened the edges of the iron oxide back ground and left the haloed affect that I desired.

Again I left the fine details undone. there are no individual strands of hair, in fact there are no sharp defined details. Instead this one is left a bit blurry to represent a memory of a special moment in time.

Here are the 4 Motherhood Series paintings along with a few others waiting to be hung at

Mindpower Gallery in Reedsport Oregon. Prints of all these paintings are available on Fine Art America as well.

Sacred Solace

Sacred Solace is painting #3 of the motherhood series. There is so much about painting this one that excited me as an artist. I love the brightness of the painted background. I’m absolutely in love with the mother”s hands that gently supports her child’s bottom and head as he looks around exploring with innocence his new world.

My reference photo was granted to me by photographer and Author Naomi Lynn. I just adore her work!

Again I pre-toned the canvas in the transparent iron oxide. I absolutely loved how the background turned out, dark in some spots and glowing in others. Working with that glow I allowed the reflected light of the painting to actually be the background showing through.

Notice in the reference photo how the dress is a darker but similar color to the flesh tones. This works wonderfully in the photo, blending the two figures beautifully into one against a dark background.

What works to make something a great photo does not always work to make is a great painting. The artist has to decide what story she wants her painting to tell. Where do I want to direct the viewers eyes? What Feeling do I want to convey?

In my painting he color of her dress in the reference photo more closely resembles the background of the painting. So I decided to transposed the colors by taking the greenish blue back ground of the reference and putting a dark greenish blue dress on her in the painting. I felt that the contrast of the dark teal dress would draw your attention to their pail smooth skin, body language and facial expressions.

As always I followed my usually steps of blocking in and getting tones, values and shapes right. Then touching just a few dabs of blue color around the face. Normally I would blend these colors into the wet flesh tones making them more subtle. But when I stood back, I decided that she was perfect the way she was.

This may surprise you , but this was very hard for me to physically do. I actually had to leave the studio for several days, just so I wouldn’t fiddle with the paint. I really feel it would have ruined the painting to refine and define her more, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. I’m so glad now that I listened to that voice inside telling me she was done.

A Time to be Born

 

This piece is #3 in my Ecclesiastes 3 series wrapping up a very emotional year.

Titled “A Time to be Born”

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. If you are a regular reader you know that I lost my big sister on Christmas day last year. So, even though I had planned to paint more paintings this year then ever before, turns out I have painted three. This season of painting has been filled with passion and raw emotion as I worked out the avalanche of emotions that were, and still are, churning around in my very soul as I allowed them to flow through me onto the canvas.

The first two paintings I have done in this series were working out my grief.Remembering tender moments and reliving old regrets. But #3 was going to be different.

In February, We found out that our son and his wife were expecting another baby. Our home was filled with joy again. This would be our 4th grandchild. Soon, though, that joy turned to worry as we got the news that the baby would have a 25% possibility of having Cystic Fibrosis. Months went by, waiting for news as Dr. visits  and check ups were scheduled, We found out the baby was a boy! Helping pick out names, counseling love and hope to our son and his wife as they worried, trying to be strong for them, feeling like a rag that had been rung out once to many times myself. Praise the Lord, the birth went amazingly well, and spirits and hopes were high, but after a few days it was evident that little man Kai was indeed sick with the dreaded disease. The roller coaster ride goes on still.

I decided to go on with my painting series. After all “to everything there is a season”, right? I decided to use my emotions artistically and focus on the positive. So about a month before Kai was born I started this painting. Using a reference photo of his older brother Grey taken by their aunt Naomi, I picked one that had the main focus on the connection of the hands and heart. It would be the companion piece to “The Last Goodbye.” and I wanted the emotional connection of the hands as well as a connection between the two pieces of art.

I started with a sketch up on canvas as I usually do, then quickly blocked in all the elements. In my typical way I adjusted the back ground several times and worked to keep the main focus on the hands not the baby’s face.

 

 

 

 

As I progressed, I felt something was wrong with the composition but couldn’t put my finger on it. So I walked away from it over night and when I had looked at it with fresh eyes I quickly realized that the mother’s thumb on the head was serving as a stop sign. So, It had to go. I fiddled with that hand and moved it several time before getting the thumb where I wanted it being the support for the head. fbsheet

Also around this point in the painting I switched from Acrylics to oils like I did with “The Last Goodbye” painting to get better blend ability.

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The idea in my head was to make the background for the baby the sheets, like in the companion piece. I was also planning on adding just a touch of the green, like in the hospital gown, for the babies diaper cover. But once it was painted in, I felt it was too cold and void of emotion and warmth. So to fix this problem I decided to switch the green to the background and the white sheet to cover the diaper and lower left hand corner of painting. Once this was done I was so pleased. The painting was now warm and full of life.

To me the green represents the LIFE in these two paintings. I “A Time to be Born” there is so much life to look forward to, and in “Last Goodbye” there is just a remnant of life left. I had accomplished telling the story.

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Part of my creative process is watching what happens as I paint and deciding where to go from there. As I progressed through this painting I was having difficulty with the hand that supports the baby’s head. Things that work ok in photographs do not always translate well into a painting. you see the ye is naturally drawn to the point in the painting with the greatest contrast. The mother’s pale hand against the dark hair and strong shadows of the baby’s head was creating it’s own focal point. This created a problem for me as the story I wanted to tell was to be told through the emotional connection of the hands. So I had to do a delicate dance of lowering the values of the hand and even graying it out some so that it would feel more like a background element, even though in reality it was the thing in the far most foreground. I needed to be there as part of the story, but I didn’t really need it as a main character.

At the same time I was dulling out the left hand, I was increasing the contrast and intensifying the color of the baby’s hand. I did this by adding glazes of a warm shadow color and adding more warm reds to the tips of the fingers, with reflected red light bouncing off of the mother’s fingers. I also added those same reds to the ear to give baby a nice health glow.47391629_218022855766036_7897445495763632128_n

A Time to be Born

11″x 14″ Oil on canvas

#3 of the Ecclesiastes 3 series By Jackie Little Miller

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I wonder what painting the Lord will have me work and FEEL my way though next. It has been therapeutic yet, painful. I love that it is taking my art up a level, but a little apprehensive of what might be next. I’m hoping for some laughter and dancing soon. LOL! But I know my God is faithful. I know that His plans for me are for good, His thoughts are of peace for me and not evil, to give me a future and a hope. And I will keep painting though what ever He brings my way next.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my art process! To see more of my paintings check out jackielittlemiller.com

 

 

Last Goodbye

This is my second painting in the Ecclesiastes 3 series, to everything there is a season. I have been a portrait artist for years and love the human expression. Driven by a desire to push myself past faces, I started thinking about doing a series of paintings on hands. Then I thought maybe hands and feet, and I came to the conclusion that I just wanted to be able to paint expressive emotion without the aid of facial expression. So I had all these possible ides running around in my head, day and night. especially at night. I tend to do all my best thinking just before I go off to sleep. After the process of painting “A Time to Mourn” the series was set in my mind. But this painting was of the full body and was a dancer. So then I’m asking myself questions like, if this one is of a dance, does the whole series need to be represented in dance? Do I use the whole body in all the paintings: Or can I still go with just hands, or hands and feet? So many conflicting ideas overwhelmed my thoughts. Then the answer came to me.

In December of last year when my sister was passing away,  I sat in the room with her holding her hand, as she was taking, what I knew were some of, her last breaths, I looked down at my hands holding and caressing hers. The artist in me wanted to capture this moment forever with a photo of our hands touching for the last time this side of heaven.The rational side of me, how ever, talked me out of it saying that it would be crass and insensitive of me. For several months afterword I mourned that decision, as my sister and I were so very close and her hands and my hands worked along side each other so many times. She was like an extension of me and I of her.

One day as I sat visiting a friend who had just recently lost a dear life long friend, she was expressing her feelings as she and another friend sat saying their last goodbyes to their failing friend. She looked at me and said, I have something I want you to see. She then opened photos on her phone and showed me this beautiful photo of the three friends holding hands. She expressed to me how she had apprehensions about taking the photo, and had almost talked herself out of it, but her other friend encouraged her to go ahead and take it. As I looked down on this photo, I was taken back to that precious unforgettable moment with my beloved sister. I instantly asked permission to paint this photo, and was graciously granted permission, with my friend saying, “Maybe it was meant to be shown to you!” And I think she was right.43672923_560139704412003_7099662553256558592_n

So I started with a sketch up. I changed the angle of the hand on the left as I felt it was leading the eye off the page coming in directly from the left. instead I angled it from the bottom left corner to lead the eye in to exactly where I wanted it to land. I also enlarged the drawing to fit the size of canvas I wanted to use. I did a little shading with my pencil to give myself indications of shape and values needed. I then started by blocking in the sheets and hand furthest underneath it all, working myself to the top hand.

working in acrylics has always given me a challenge full of frustration. It dries so quickly and just doesn’t give me the time I need the for subtle blending needed to paint skin the way I would like. I admit I am a blend-o-maniac! There I said it! Another frustration that was getting the better of me was that acrylics tend to dry darker then the wet paint. sometimes 2 or 3 shades darker. Usually I would be able to press on through and get it done anyway, but this year has been rough when it comes to how much patience and to be honest how much energy and even desire to paint. So any frustration at all will shut me down in minutes. So again progress on this painting stopped for about a month.

 

I know it’s normal, as I am grieving, to be frustrated and lose focus easily, but it is also very stressful. I have the creative ideas constantly flooding my mind and I need to be able to express them or I kinds get a little crazy. It’s like therapy to me to paint through my pain and emotions. Anyway, I started entertaining the thought of trying to paint with oils again. I had stopped because the fumes would trigger my migraines, and nobody can be creative with a migraine, right? So i did a bunch of research and purchased oil paints with just pigment and oil, and got an odorless solvent which I use very sparingly. I was so blessed to find that they did not trigger migraines and the blend like butter. I am In love!

Once I started painting with the oils I felt like a bird set free from her cage. These paints are wonderful. I am in blend heaven. And I can paint for days with the same pile of paints before they dry up on me. This is going to take me a while to get used to as the canvas stays wet for days too. But this is both good and bad. Good because I can continue to blend and get those subtle blends I want, but bad because I can still blend and get those blends I don’t want! LOL!

Back to the painting itself. In the photo my friend is wearing a silver bracelet that she wears all the time as it is very special to her. I really wanted to get that bracelet into the painting. But as I started blocking it in I realized that my eye was being constantly drawn to the bracelet more then to the hands clasping, where I wanted the attention to be. So I made the hard decision for the sake of the composition to remove it.

Once that decision was executed and the arm was finished being painted, I went over my darks with a couple layers of glaze to deepen the wrinkle, in the hands as well as the sheets. added a few age spots, and glazed in some red to the arthritic joins in the main hand. Showing the painting to my friend who took the photo she says “I love the painting but it makes me cry every time I see it.” This is the highest complement ever! and I have to agree, it makes me cry too from my own precious Last goodbye with my sister. But it’s not the ugly cry that it used to be, it is the cry of being blessed by a women I will never fully let go of!

 

fbsignature“Last Goodbye” From the Ecc.3 series

14″x18″ oils on canvas

 

Grief is a Strange Animal

It has been Six months since my big sister/ best friend passed away. Six Months of grieving, six months of not being able to breath, six months with very little creativity and art; and Four months since I created my last piece titled A Time to Mourn. Though it may be my best to date. It expresses my grief more then I could ever express it with words.

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Grief is such a strange animal. I thought I knew this beast well, because I have met it on many occasions before.

This time somehow, it seams bigger and meaner. It seems to have backed me against a wall separating me from my creative side. It seems that with every attempt to vest this beast I am left feeling as though I have lost my artistic balance and I drop my brushes in defeat, frozen, temporarily paralyzed and unable to move my arms and mind into submission.

But I am not one to give up, I am brave, and bull headed. So I keep charging in and making myself go though the motions. Knowing that deep inside me creativity is alive and well and will eventually surface and be the victor. Each day I am desiring more and more to create again. I want to force myself past this dragon of grief and go to my favorite place to live, in the land of laughter, sunshine and creating things. Because I just want to be happy again.

I have to say though that It is not a scary monster, it’s just big and in my way and becoming very annoying. Like Rex from the movie Toy Story where he says “I’m going for fearsome here, but I just don’t feel it. I think I’m just coming off as annoying.”

I know that this beast called grief is not my enemy, or an enemy to my art. He may even be there, larger than life, to protect me from something that would wound me deeper while my heart heals.  I need to let him stand there and do his job. In the end it will cause me to be a better artist, painting with more feeling and emotion.

For without the darkness, one can not truly enjoy the light. Without the tears and pain, one can not truly appreciate the laughter and Joy. Without the experience of devastation one can not truly appreciate the creative process.

Thank you all for being so understanding and supporting me during this painful time for me. May God richly bless you!

A Time To Mourn

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As many of you know, I lost my sister/ best friend recently. It has left me unable and some times unwilling to express my emotions. Which is strange because this is what I do, I put my feelings onto words, whether in poetry, song or in some cute way to make us all laugh at our circumstances and feel better about them. But Now, I’ve got nothing! No words will come out, they will not even form in my mind, and even when they do they refuse to come out of my mouth in any coherent manner.

Being an artist, I turned to painting for my therapy, or processing of my emotions. My original thought was to just do something simple. I can’t concentrate long enough or even care enough to focus on doing a portrait and make sure that it looks like a specific person. I had painted a few dancers and thought I could continue in that series. After asking for help with reference photos from my friends on face book, I was overwhelmed with the out pouring of responses. Several photo were dramatically lighted and drew my attention and so I pulled one of them and started considering the composition.

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Original reference photo from Melodie Lauhan

That night as I was falling asleep I envisioned a dripping background to this piece and that I could do in monotone in sepia colors. So the next morning I started to paint.20180203_132423

Once the background was painted and dry I traced on my drawing of the dance just like in the photo. Then I started blocking in her form.

 

But the more I painted the more I felt the sadness of the piece, as if I was painting my pain. So instead of trying to fix it and make it brighter or happier, I decided to embrace the pain, crying with every brush stroke applied to the canvas. Soon I realized that this dancers pose was not expressive enough to show the depths of grief that I was feeling. So I decided to move the arms and make her holding her head.

 

 

 

I moved her hands several times before getting them exactly where I wanted them also changing the tilt of her head. I was even blessed to get my Photographer son Isaiah Miller to photograph my beautiful daughter in law in the hand pose I needed, and under the same lighting conditions as the original reference photo to make it easier for me to paint it correctly.The problem I had now was that  I could not repaint the background as I loved the feeling of the drips so I had to hide the painting of the hands on the floor in the hair. Since my daughter in law has such lovely long full hair, this was an easy transition.

 

 

Once the detail in the hands and body were complete I felt I needed to clothe her in black to finish the look of one who mourns. Once that was done I felt that I had achieved expressing my inner most emotions. I hope that you can feel what my heart is saying and I hope that it touches you deeply.

Please leave a comment telling me how this piece makes you feel and what it tells you. I would love to hear from you.

 

First and Final Breaths

I’ve been called out in the middle of the night, to race to the bedside of a friend or family member, to help usher in new life many times. With the knowledge that the time was near, I would set out my clothing in a neat pile so that I could hastily put them on and be out the door within minutes of getting the call to action. Unable to fully give into sleep, afraid I might miss the call.  Anticipation filled my mind as I lay thinking about how this could be the night. Eventually, the awaited call would come and I would jump out of my bed and rush out the door.

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Hours would pass as my sister and I would bathe troubled brows, put pressure on lower backs, and talk women through each contraction; helping them to relax, easing their pain, whispering words of encouragement and love into the ear, and words of the life that was to soon come. Long painful minutes often stretched into back breaking hours of bending over beds with no thought of our comfort, only thoughts of helping to ease and comfort others.

How many time have I held a hand as life struggled to make its way into this world, to take it’s first breath? 50? 60? It’s a moment that takes your breath away, Unexplainable, sacred, and Holy. A moment celebrated with laughter, tears, and relief. And I was honored to be present for so many.

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As I sat by my sister’s bedside Christmas Eve 2017, I reflected on how much the last days and hours ushering life out was much the same as ushering life in.

For weeks I lay in my bed at night, phone by my side, a pile of clothes ready to be put on at a moments notice. But this time instead of waiting with great excitement and anticipation, there was anxiety, my chest tight with sorrow and worry. Tears wet my pillow, as I would see my sister in my mind, wasting away. I was haunted by the thought of losing her. I needed to be there with her, with all my heart. You see, she had been by my side since I was born. She was there for every major and minor event of my life and my children’s lives. I had to be able to care for her, yet I was afraid that I wouldn’t be called in time to rush to her side.

My sister loved Christmas and last wish was to be home for Christmas Eve (The night of their annual Christmas party. She wanted to be with her family. It was a very subdued and quiet party in the living room that night. We all took turns going into her bedroom where there were several chair by her bedside and soft Christmas music playing. Some came in to say their good byes, others crying, some just sitting in silent vigil.

When the hour was getting late, reluctantly, her grandchildren were taken home and tucked into their beds. Christmas music was turned off and we whispered into Sherry’s ear that she had made it through Christmas with the family. All the kids were home in their beds and that it was Ok for her to go to her new home to her eternal life with Jesus.

I was blessed to be able to stay, with a few other family members, to spend one last night with my sister. To tend to her needs, to make sure she was comfortable. I bathed her brow with my tears, Knowing that her pain would soon be over. Whispered words of encouragement and love into her ear, words of the life that was soon to come with Jesus. I held her hand for long emotionally painful minutes that silently slipped into back breaking hours of bending over her bed with no thought of my own comfort, just wanting, needing to do anything and everything I could to ease the last hours of this precious Woman, that had done so very much for me, and that I loved more then life itself !

How many time have I held a hand as life struggled to make its way out of this world, to take it’s final breath? One!  It was a moment that took my breath away, Unexplainable, sacred, and Holy. A moment celebrated with tears, sorrow and yet relief. And I was honored to be present for her birthing into Heaven.

My heart aches now, more then I ever thought possible. I have never hurt this bad or this deeply before. Speechless and sometimes breathless, but never hopeless, and maybe even a little jealous. WHY?

Because: I know My Redeemer lives, and I know that my sister is with Him in heaven today, seeing Him face to face. Oh, How I envy her that. For it is what I long for most in life. I long to see my Jesus and thank him for all that he has done in my life! To thank him for giving me such an amazing sister and family, and allowing me to love others as He has loved me for as long as He has planed for me to do so!

Beautiful things rarely happen in our lives without pain being present. Pain is part of life. I don’t fully understand that, or even like it, to be honest. But I know that without darkness we would not know what light is. With out sickness we do not appreciate health, and without pain we could not truly experience joy. I do not understand God and why he chooses to do what He does. I argue with Him quite often, thinking I know better then He does. I also know that He is big enough to handle my little temper tantrums.

His ways are not my ways. I have learned to trust and respect that, surrendering every aspect of my life to Him! Because I know the plans He has for me, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give me a future and a hope! (Jer 29: 11)

Grey in Gray

I have been absolutely slammed with wedding prep for my youngest son’s up coming marriage since returning from Florida to witness the birth of my eldest son’s first baby. Since I was there during the photo shoot (which included this amazing photo) I was quick to ask the photographer for permission to paint any of the photos she was about to take. With delight I was glad to hear her say “I was hoping you would ask that! Yes!”

View More: http://naomilynnphotography.pass.us/grey-thomas-miller

Photo by permission of naomilynn.com

Even as I sat on the sofa in my son’s home looking at the photos that the baby’s aunt Naomi took, I have been anticipating painting this photo. My son’s mother in law even offered to get me some art supplies so I could get started. But I chose to put aside my painting and just hold the baby for as long as I was able, before I had to head home to Oregon. SO even though I am slammed with wedding prep, I still snuck in a few hours here and there to paint this piece entitled Grey in Gray.

My students had asked me if I would teach a class on values once I returned home. So I thought what would be more appropriate then a gray values painting of baby Grey. (Even though I would have painting him for any excuse and will be for a long time I’m sure.)

So like always I started by taking my photo into photoshop and turning it into a black and white. Then I had a nice 8 x 10 glossy printed up and printed out a b&w photo copy as well.

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Using my values chart on the photo I then use the photo copy to write the corresponding value on the areas I had just checked. I did this twice as the photo was dark then I wanted the painting to be. The colored photo looked light and fresh but once I transferred it to b&w it was a little darker and I wanted a lighter feeling to the painting. So once all my basic values were charted I stepped them up 2 or 3 values and re-wrote out the corrected numbers on another photo copy.

To avoid any mistakes I then threw away the first photo copy with the original numbers on it. I did not want to take the chance of picking up the wrong copy and getting the values all mixed up on the painting. So then I blocked in the basic values on the different areas of the painting.

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Being that this was a painting of a very soft baby, I wanted the canvas to be very soft as well without a lot of grain to the canvas left. So I primed it again with a layer of gray gesso before beginning the actual painting, then sanded it smooth. This was one of the smoothest paintings I have ever done. I really like having a smooth canvas and it gave the affect I wanted it to have. I did find myself painting and then taking a dry brush and dabbing at it to smooth out and blend colors. I really haven’t done that much before but it gave the skin a very natural soft texture that looks and feels very much like baby skin.

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Once I got all the areas of the painting blocked in, I let the painting dry for a couple of days. Then when I was able to squeeze in a little more time on him I started to put more detail and more subtle value changes in. This was so much fun as I saw with every stroke that my grandson’s face was taking shape. My daughter in Law’s face came together just as quickly and beautifuly. I love this part of the painting as you really do start getting a 3 D affect as you put in more and more values.

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So again, it was time to let the painting rest and dry.

NOTE: I used Golden Open white titanium paint for this painting and mixed it with the regular Golden brand acrylic paint. Acrylic paints dry very fast, but the new Golden OPEN paint will keep the dry time open for a much longer time, giving me the time I need to blend subtle value changes! Which I love.

But unfortunately, this paint reactivates up to and past 3 weeks. Which means that this morning when I went to put on the finishing touches like adding final highlights, instead of adding, it actually lifted the dry color off, creating and very blotchy look, Which I, well, lets put it this way “Hate is a strong word, but I really really , really don’t like you! ” I can’t help myself!  I burst into song lyrics at random points all the time. LOL! i would always rather laugh then cry and that was my option now. So I decided to sing!

So to fix this paint problem, I had to spray the painting with a clear spray varnish to seal off the underpainting, so that nothing would move once I started to put on the highlights and hair details. This worked great. I hope you like it! 😀

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Thank you for taking your time to read about my work process. If you would like to check out my other pieces please click jackielittlemiller.com

Dream Dancer

leap-of-faith-8 So you might remember my Leap of Faith painting from about a month ago. This one I did for my Granddaughter who was the subject of the reference photo I used. i really liked the way that painting turned out so I wanted to try it on a larger scale. So I pulled out a 4ft by 2.5ft canvas I have had laying around and started to sketch out the leaper in a larger format to fit the scale of the new canvas.

I wanted this piece to be mostly a knife painting so I added a texture paste medium to my paints so the knife strokes would hold their shape as they dried. Being that the canvas is very large it did take me the whole jar of medium! Wow! But I was very please with how the background turned out.

I had drawn the figure on the canvas before starting and did a base coat of a watered down burnt sienna just to take away the scariness of a blank white canvas. But as I was laying the thick background color paint on the canvas  I kind of lost the edges of the figure so I just decided to cover the whole canvas with background then redraw the subject later.

Once I had the background knifed in I started to rethink the whole waiting till it dried to draw in subject. After all if I wait then the subject will have weird texture in strange places making it not read right. So While it was still tacky I placed the drawing of the dancer on top and intended to just use the indent of the pencil edge to make a trace line, not using any carbon paper as to leave a dark mark. I actually thought that i=this would just leave and slight indent in the paint giving me enough information as to where to place the subject. But when I pulled the paper off the outline of the subject came with it leaving a rough edge.0118171501

This is one of those things that Bob Ross would call a happy accident. I loved the roughness of the edge! In fact I considered leaving the painting as it was, but quickly changed my mind as I still wanted to work more on her. so I scraped out the inside of the outline so that I could start painting the gymnast.

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Here you can see the rough edges around the subject. I think it adds interest to the piece. Anyway as I finished up with the skin tones I realized that this was not a gymnast but a dancer. I’m the artist I can make these kind of decisions! LOL! She needed a pretty flowing dress and some point shoes. What do you think?

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So I started painting her dress. I liked the blue from the background as there was just a touch of it. So I lightened it and made a pretty pastel chiffon dress. This I did totally with the edge of the paint knife and lots of paint. I was very pleased with how it turned out0120171925a

But the next morning I was rethinking it. Though I still loved the dress it just didn’t make the dancer pop! I mean I loved the skin tones and how rich it felt, but the dress kinda made her look, well unfinished, flat, she just didn’t make the statement I wanted her to make.

So I took the photo of her into photo shop and did a quick dress color change on her. Now I am not skilled in photo shop at all and there was probably a much better way of doing it then what I did , but this worked. So I pulled colors from the background and laid in the color into the dress.

After showing these choices to a couple of artist friends of mine I decided on the dark blue dress. I just felt if gave the feeling I wanted and the pop that it needed. My daughter even suggested that I could put some sparkle stars in her dress echoing the galaxy feel from around her. SO I did. And Here she is finished.

Dream Dancer

31″ x 47″ x 1″

Acrylic on Gallery wrapped canvas

$1,000.00

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Once I get a good photo of her so prints I will finish her with a couple of layers of gloss varnish. This is also My first piece with my new signature that you will be seeing on all my works from this point out.!

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God bless your day and Thank you again for following my Works In Progress!

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