Monday, December 1, 2014

A Mermaid Called Emily

As is my tradition, I make our granddaughters paintings for their birthdays. When I showed our daughter this mermaid painting, which I'd created for her niece, Denise asked me not to show it to Avery for she would be sure to want it. Although, I had months to consider how to approach the second mermaid painting, I was coming up blank. How could I make this one completely different? Finally, the inspiration came when I saw the Mucha poster girls in Prague.

EMILY FROM THE SEA   acrylic on cradled panel 24" x 18" x 1"

Just as I had struggled over a concept, once it was finished I fussed about a title for this mermaid. While remembering Avery's last weekend stay with us, a smile came to my face as a light went on in my head. I had taught Avery about my painting name. How to say it. How to spell it. It was then that I asked her what she'd like to use for a painting name? Without hesitation she responded "Emily." Quickly followed by "I wish my name was Emily."

I've learned (the hard way) that a well planned drawing is critical for this type of project

Day one of adding colour

Colouring her in was great fun for the first day or so, after that it became tedious. I kept going out of the lines, which meant I needed to paint the lines back in! 

Day two

And then there was the hiccup of repairing an accident. Somehow, I managed to drag my sleeve across my palette and from said sleeve I deposited tomato red over the soft blue sky. When I noticed what I had done, I hollered No!, NO!, NO! so loudly that Bill came rushing downstairs to see what was the matter.

Day three

Portions of the painting are opaquely painted. There are also transparent, watercolour-like areas, such as the background, the sky and parts of the water. The tail and bra are transparent as well with a wash of interference violet-green over them, to create a fishscale-like shimmer. 

Day four

The rich fulfillment came in the gifting. On November 27th, after Avery's "Jubilee" school concert (at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary) I presented her with Emily ...

Avery with her Dad and Mom
By gosh, I think she likes it!
 Now that Avery is six, and in grade one, she can sound out the painting title

I love this shot!


  1. Fabulous painting Grandma and Avery looks tickled to have it!

  2. Wonderful painting, Alice, and Avery looks totally overjoyed with it...the start of something (more) artistic in her life, that name!

    1. Thanks, Win. Yes, this year more than all the others her eyes lit up upon receiving her painting. Made my heart swell!

  3. fabulous painting and something she will enjoy for the rest of her life - what a great grandma!

    1. Thanks Mellowood (sorry I can't remember our name!). The appreciation Avery is able to show, now that she is "older" is such a wonderful reward!