Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Everett's 2nd Birthday Painting

The Royal Hudson and The Three Sisters (Canmore) 2017 acrylic on cradled panel 13" x 18"

He's all over trains these days, so for Everett's second birthday painting Laura suggested a train and mountains. The Royal Hudson immediately came to mind as I recalled the only time I've seen this train. It was in the interior of B.C., on our way home from the west coast. It was the morning after we'd sprung the clocks forward. Laura was exactly three months old. The time change had the effect of making me think the babe and I had slept through the night, but had we really?  I look so tired because I was!

Yours truly with the baby Laura, April 1st, 1978
The Royal Hudson train when we saw it, April 1st, 1978
The drawing
At work, September 30th, 2017
Day two

If this painting has the feel of a watercolour it's because I used the acrylics transparently and very thinlyIn my time, I've painted many mountain landscapes, a good deal of them in watercolour. I didn't expect to have any trouble with the mountain but I did wonder how I'd manage the train. Miraculously it fell easily off the end of my brush and the painting went from drawing to being finished in just three days.

I scored a Canadian stamp image from the Internet and was rather pleased with myself for changing its denomination to 2, for the little man's birthday, which is September 18th. It was Bill's suggestion to paint the track running right through the stamp which helped the stamp to become a part of the painting. Adding the stamp and the railway crossing sign makes it a bit of a mixed media piece.

Day three and The Royal Hudson and The Three Sisters (Canmore) is complete 

Initially all of us were bummed that the Manila parcel, with all their birthday and Christmas gifts, arrived after Christmas but as it turned out it was a good thing. They are 14 or 15 hours ahead of us so we would never have been able to watch them opening their gifts Christmas morning. On January 3rd, the family got a second Christmas and we able to view it all via FaceTime.

Everett opens his painting in Manila, January 3rd, 2018

Cutest little man with his painting, January 23rd, 2018

Monday, January 1, 2018

Avery's 9th Birthday Painting

The Night a Dragon Hatched Under Northern Lights  oil on panel  12" x 16" 

Avery turned nine October 16th. That evening, we came bearing gifts but no painting. I hadn't even started hers yet because, first, I had to create a painting each for the Manila kids so they could be wrapped and ready to ship before my hip replacement. Bill dropped the parcel (filled with birthday and Christmas gifts for the entire Koebel family) at Forex, Calgary on October 19th. Sadly it didn't arrive in time for Christmas making the birthday paintings for Amira (six on December 9th) and Everett (two on September 18th) late as well. I made a clean sweep of tardiness last year. The three birthday paintings were the sum total of paintings I created in 2017. 

Avery was gracious when I apologized for being late. Later that birthday evening she made this precious announcement "I'm into dragons and Northern Lights, just some thoughts for my birthday painting." 

As I researched dragons online it came to me that, as fascinating as they are, a painting of an adult, fire breathing dragon, in Avery's darkened bedroom would have the potential to give her nightmares. And so I decided to depict a hatchling because, well, aren't all babies adorable and basically non-threatening? 

The drawing.  I textured the cave walls using a palette knife and heavy gel medium.
The acrylic underpainting 

The garishness of the painting, as it was in the stage above, bothered me. Blending acrylics has always been incredibly difficult for me. I haven't invested in the "open" slower drying acrylics. I knew I would need to switch to oils to get the look I was after.

Thinly applied oil on the sky

Using Super Sparkle Lustre Pigment (from Papertrail, Waterloo, ON) I sprinkled the milky way onto the wet oil paint. I was too heavy handed with the powder and I considered it a fail which necessitated painting over the sky. The second time around I was a great deal more cautious in sprinkling the milky way ...

The auroras repainted with the new milky way.  Here, the dragon and nest are still acrylic.

I further blended, refined the borealis and painted the dragon in oil. You'll notice I opted to paint the trees out, thinking that they didn't really add to the overall composition. 

Here the dragon has a coat of oil paint

The brightness of the dragon's upper right arm and chest required darkening plus the scales of the chest needed to be realigned in a better curve ...

All finished - The Night a Dragon Hatched Under Northern Lights  oil on panel  12" x 16"

At the beginning of December, the Scammells a came for a weekend providing me with the opportunity to gift the painting. It gives me great pleasure that Avery likes her dragon, whom she has named Winksey.

December 3rd, 2017
December 3rd, 2017, I'm that Avery is happy!

Up next, once they are received, will be Amira's and Everett's birthday paintings.