Sunshine and Ribbons – a large house portrait play-by-play

Over this past winter I was looking forward to summertime Farmer’s Market season. But when I looked into joining my local Market, I realized a table there would take up every sunny Saturday from May to October. Since Saturdays are my usual day of rest, this didn’t sit well. I developed a huge block about signing up, and then doubted myself. I questioned and twirled things around in my head, looking for a solution. Markets get an artist in front of new people, and exposure is extremely helpful for sales. My “block” led to going to speak with some folks, which providentially led to a brief five-minute talk with a father, whose wife said she found me a few weeks later online by googling “Elise Artist Vermont”. 

I am very grateful because making happy memories for others is one of the main reasons I paint commissions! I hope this painting brings this family a huge sense of peace and rest, and a reminder of their roots.

Play-by-play photos of how a painting develops is a teaching tool. Many beginning artists don’t know how to start a painting, or what to work on next to strengthen their pieces. I hope this pictorial record will be helpful.

The foundation of any piece is a solid, in-scale drawing. I used photographs I took and a photocopy machine to help with this stage, as it save me literally hours of time. I’ve done the hours for many years, and now have chosen to save my eyesight for painting the piece.

You will see how I moved two of the girls with their ribbon sticks from the left, to the right side, at the request of my clients.

The sun shadows on two of the girls are probably not very accurate, as I moved them from where they were originally photographed, but I did the best I could to make them look realistic.

The scariest part of this work was putting in the sky. I used French Ultramarine blue, which has a grainy texture to it, mixed with Antwerp blue…the flat wash I envisioned had streaks from my brush, which panicked me…a sky can make or break a painting! What makes or breaks aspects of your life? 

The last photo contains the face of their little dog, peering out a window at the front of the house.

In other news, I have decided exposure to wasp pesticide is not something I desire in my life, so, I will be moving again soon. Move twelve in eight years, coming up…here’s to an even more beautiful new location, yet to be discovered. Wish me well!

Your painting-friend,

Elise

Detail of the piece thus far:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

~ Psalm 133