Thursday, December 31, 2015

Everett's Christmas Stocking

In order for me to get my last post of 2015 out before the year expires, I must give you a rare double header today.

Everett December 31st, 2015 at 3.5 months old

Our first grandson, Everett Marshall Koebel, arrived a week early, on September 18th, 2015  weighing in at a whopping 9lbs. 7oz.  Born in Columbia, Maryland makes him an US citizen which is why his stocking caricature wears stars and stripes ... he's our all American boy!
As I've done for every other family member I made him a stocking for his first Christmas. 

Once I've got the sketch drawn, I make a second one so that I can cut it up as pattern pieces which are used to cut out the coloured felt bits. I hand stitch these to the face of the stocking.

Pieces pinned in place ready to sew

Just when my fingers are weary of pushing the needle around, the hand work is done. Using the sewing machine, I sew the back to the front and add the cuff, thread the ribbon into it and attach the jingle bells.

The finished stocking

Below are the stockings I made for Everett's parents. Laura's for her first Christmas in 1978, Adam's after they had partnered up and his sister's when she was born four years ago. 

Unfortunately, Everett's stocking (which was in the parcel to Manila with Amira's birthday painting) was the only stocking at the Koebel's Christmas this year. Their shipment from Maryland had arrived in the Philippines but it didn't clear customs in time for Christmas, so Everett shared his stocking with his big sister.

Amira and Everett
Sadly, we were without these little folks, and their parents, here in Canada this Christmas. One day I hope that all the stockings will be hung together once again ...

Christmas 2011

Amira's Birthday Painting

Granddaughter Amira turned four on December 9th

As it was being mailed to Manila (with the Koebel family Christmas parcel) Amira's birthday painting needed to be light weight and smaller this year, but hey it was almost on time!
On our back deck on a warm day back in May 2013, Meg Nicks showed me and Win Dinn how she makes acrylic "pours". That tutorial, which I have since forgotten how to do, yielded the rich background below. Until November of this year I never knew exactly what I would do with it, but it proved to be perfect for "Butterflies". 
The richly coloured, very shiny surface of the first and only "pour" I've made
I went with Amira's mother's suggestion for the subject matter. Using a commercial stencil I applied the smaller mauve butterflies. Later I darkened some of the lower ones with thin washes of darker purple.  Without any particular plan I painted on the first butterfly ...

... and then the other two. Laura had suggested glitter, but I couldn't see how glitter would enhance the painting. With my favourite stencil and Ferro, a paste by Viva D├ęcor which provides a lovely relief, l added the flourishes to the top left and bottom right corners.

I wasn't happy with the dull, slate colour of the flourishes

The graphite colour of the stenciled flourishes looked dead against all the pure colour so, with a fine brush, I painted over them with intense, purple alcohol ink, which absorbed beautifully.

The finished 12" x 12" acrylic painting  -  BUTTERFLIES   -  (unframed, with painted edges)


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Avery's 7th Birthday Painting

In an effort to present Avery with a less childlike painting I chose the Prague skyline thinking that it's a pretty adult scene, yet it maintains the magical charm of a fairy tale which a seven year old girl could relate to. I was extra late in delivering this year. We were away on her birthday, October 16th, and I was not at all organised before leaving on September 28th. There are any number of excuses I can give for not getting at the painting promptly after our return (October 21st) but none of them really wash. Except that it was an epic subject to tackle and at times I wondered if I had lost my mind.  

PRAGUE SKYLINE   oil on canvas 12" x 24"

Once I had the drawing established, I added some dried bits of vegetation (using gloss gel medium) to create texture in the foreground trees. Thanks to Debie for the dried plant life. It's yarrow, I  think. The Flower Children can verify this for me ... 

In order to make the vegetation white, I gessoed over the bits taking care to apply the gesso much more thinly over the drawing so as not to obscure it entirely ...

As I often do, I began the painting using acrylics, thinking I'd finish it in that medium but the final coat on the sky was lack-lustre and disappointing so, as I have done so many times before, I turned to my oils. They never fail to give me the luminosity I'm after.

Early stages in acrylic

The oil brush stokes going every which way in the sky capture the light differently causing it to sparkle. As you can see, looking at the right side of the photo below, I powered out (in this session) before covering over the acrylic paint entirely ...

 Here, as above, the foreground tower is much too dark

Almost done ...

... but OH NO, this is when I noticed that so many towers and spires were leaning to the left! I corrected as much as I could but there comes a time in a painting when you have to say "It's enough. It's done. Sign it." And so I did. Please scroll back up to the top of the page to view the finished painting.

It was
December 11th, the night of Avery's school Jubilee Concert, when I finally presented her with the painting ...

I do think she likes it

Studying the Prague Skyline