CHRISTMAS REMEMBERANCE

RIP Marion Carrie Heisler Craig


This is my first Christmas since my mom passed away last fall, so I decided to do something in her honor for my Christmas card, but didn’t want it to be dismal and sad.  I’m a big believer in celebrating someone’s life, not mourning their passing.  Remembering the good times and keeping those memories alive and with me.  After considerable thought as to what would make her happy, I chose to paint a picture of her pride and joy in life; her little dog Tiny B.  Tiny B is an adorable little miniature dachshund with the sweetest temperament of any dog I’ve known.  That little creature was the sparkle in her eye, her confidant, her companion and her bed-warmer.  She had someone to care for and talk to and a reason to get out of the house many times each day to take walks.  Anyone who is an animal lover knows what kind of love and companionship pets can provide.

First, I found a photo of the little dog and decided to paint her in a Santa hat.  This would be my first EVER oil painting!  I have never used oil paints before, mostly due to the mess and smell they can cause while I had young kids in the house.  Recently, I came across a new product called “water-based oils” and gave them a try.  I know it sounds contradictory, but they thin and wash up with water and behave much as normal oils do.  Instead of taking months to cure, they dry in a matter of weeks. 

Next, I sketched the main outline down in pencil on my canvas board.  Then I did an underpainting of black acrylic to block in the main shapes before I got started.  After layering on the colors of the pup, I found they blend much better if you have oil paint already on the surface to work into.  I’ve never had to deal with the texture of a dry canvas before, so that was a new aspect of the painting to take into consideration.  If possible, it can lend a nice texture if used properly.

From years of watching BOB ROSS on tv, I knew that “thin paint sticks to thick paint”.  I continually tested more or less water in the paint to see what would happen.  You need barely skim a color with your brush and you are dragging it all through the painting.  This can be a very good thing because it makes your subject look like it is reflecting the colors of its surroundings.  Don’t’ tell anyone it was an accident.  You are sworn to secrecy!

I kept dabbing away with paint.  It’s amazing how you can really build it up.  SO different from watercolor theory!  The focus of the painting was on the nose and eyes…the rest of the picture I tried to leave a bit blurred and indistinct.  The whole painting only took a few days’ work, which was also pleasant to learn as I’m used to paintings taking weeks to finish.  Actually, I often have to force myself to quit or I would fiddle with them forever.

The cards have turned out to be very sweet.  I hope all my friends like them and that it puts a smile on their faces.  So Mom, wherever you are, this one’s for you.  I love you and I miss you.
                                       

on 02/12/11
Posted on 12/02 at 07:09 PM
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