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.


  1. You know I just love this painting - I'm with Avery on both the dragon and the northern lights! I love how you've created a feeling of intense warmth as Winksey discovers the universe from her cave; I can tell she's going to love it here, especially from Avery's new bedroom. Pure delight, my friend, and lucky Avery!

    1. Many thanks, Win, you are always the first to comment and do so with much praise. I really appreciate it, thank you good friend.