This is a portrait painting I did to remember a recent visit by my daughter, her wife and their baby. It was magical to have them all out to the house and spend time with them.
For a reference I used a picture that my daughter took of me on the floor in the living room, chatting with Maeve. There’s another picture of hers that I want to use, too.
It’s nice to have a reference that I didn’t set up myself for a change. I am always so self-conscious when I’m doing the picture taking. This is a nice composition. The figures are loose and relaxed. I like the way the light is outlining our heads and faces. I tried not to overwork the faces, but it’s easy to get carried away. Just means I need more practice!
I recently heard from someone whose portrait I’d done a few years back when I was in the middle of my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project. She wanted to know if that portrait and the one I’d done of her husband were still available to purchase.
I was pretty sure they were. I’d enjoyed making them, especially because of the furry hat and beard in one of the reference photos. (I have a weakness for furry hats and beards.) And sure enough, I found them in my flat file.
I mean, I make paintings because it’s fun and challenging and therapeutic, but I always love it when they find a home. Portraits especially. No one wants to live in a flat file all their life, right?
Here they are:
Below is a picture of how they’re displayed in her home.
Very exciting! A big thank you to publisher and editor Pat Stinson, who wrote about my artistic coping skills during the pandemic. It’s nice to be noticed! Here’s the article:
The Freshwater Reporter is printed 16 times a year and features local news and events with a positive vibe. I confess that I have a weakness for start up publications, having gone through it myself in a previous life, and I’ve been advertising my studio and gallery in The Freshwater Reporter since they first began putting themselves out there. You go!
If you’re up my way, please be sure to stop by Art on the Town Gallery in downtown Pentwater, Michigan. It’s a lovely consignment art gallery with a lot of really nice work to enjoy, including some of my own paintings. Here’s a gallery of the originals I have there this year:
I also have cards and prints of my landscapes and skelly art there, too. Art on the Town features 29 members showing ceramics, fused glass, jewelry, sculpture, fiber art, photography and painting. Pentwater is a lovely little town on Lake Michigan, a beautiful day trip from Grand Rapids.
Click here to go to Art on the Town’s Facebook page.
If you go, be sure to bring a mask to wear inside the gallery. Many of the members are in the high risk category for Covid-19 and they volunteer to be there for shoppers and browsers. Nobody should have to die for their art.
Thanks to everyone who followed along with me and who purchased paintings. Woohoo! You’re all awesome.
FYI, I plan to continue painting more skeletons coping with life in 2020. There seems to be a lot of interest and I have more ideas to play around with. Want to see me tackle something specific? Send your suggestions and I’ll add them to my list…
I’ve also heard from some of you that you’d be interested in a picture book featuring this series. Another suggestion was a poster with all the Covid skelly pictures on it. I thought about doing a series of coasters because the square format just sort of begs for that treatment. What do you think? Any of these ideas sound good to you? Let me know!
How are you coping? I’m bored out of my mind right now, like everyone else. So naturally I got to thinking about how a skeleton would deal with this “stay at home, do not pass go, do not collect $200” lifestyle. And I decided she’d do all the things that I’m doing–like exercising, reading, ordering take out–in an effort to stay sane and positive and be a good person. But for some reason, it’s funnier when someone who’s already dead is doing it instead of me. So I decided to make a painting cartoon journal out of it.
My ulterior motives… … included finally, finally practicing using acrylics. Also, to sell a little art for a good cause (see below). And these are very little art. Each canvas is just 6×6″. Small enough that making one every day is fun and not overwhelming, yet big enough to be able to paint tiny bones without having to use a single filament brush.
They’re the perfect size for hanging in that tiny blank space on your wall or perhaps on a mini easel on the corner of your desk where you’ve always wanted a grim, yet curiously hilarious reminder of what it’s like to be living in the world right now.
20 Paintings in 20 Days: What I Did on My COVID Vacation So here’s the deal. I’m going to be posting a painting a day for the next 20 days, starting with Monday, May 18, 2020. If you’re on my Bone Appetit email list (sign up is in the menu) you will get two emails per day. The first one will go out at noon and I’ll share the preview sketch. The second one will be at 9 pm, to show off the finished painting.
If you’d like to purchase a painting, email me or text me at 904-566-4473. I’m pricing them at $25 each and it’ll be first come, first serve starting with next Monday morning’s email. The price includes USPS first class shipping (gotta prop that org. up, too!). Half of all proceeds will go to my local food bank, Lakeshore Food Club, here in Ludington.
Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to keep myself occupied while staying at home. One day I sewed masks for the local hospital. They were lime green and matched the outfit I’d made earlier for Violet, my porch vulture.
And then I made a black cape for my skeleton rat, Ralph. I still need to fashion a scythe for him. Any Terry Pratchett fans out there? He’s supposed to be the Death of Rats from the Discworld series.
I’ve been reading. A lot. Sometimes two books a day. I find in times like these, when my mind is running around like a headless chicken, that I prefer to read books that have happy endings. I recommend Connie Willis’s time travel series, especially Blackout and All Clear. Her stories celebrate every day heroes and the ways we support each other when things are falling apart. Her writing makes me feel hopeful about the future.
I’ve been painting, too. There’s a show scheduled at LACA in Ludington in July that will feature local art work done during the pandemic. I plan to submit a couple pieces for that and I’ll get you more information about it at a later date, so stay tuned.
Before the stay at home orders for Michigan were in place, Steve and I were working to get my new gallery space painted. We got it done in the nick of time, but had to stop with the rest of the renovations until it’s safe to go out again.
There’s so much left to do! Put up some tulle and twinkly lights. Get Laurie’s Dolloween art in there. Paint skeleton foot prints on the floor, and a few other spooky, fun things. It’ll be cool when it’s done. I hope everyone will have a chance to come and see it this summer, but if not, maybe I can make a virtual tour? I’ll ask my son Nick to help me. He’s very good at figuring stuff out.
I’ve also been working on a brand new website that will just have skeleton art on it. Slowly getting all the skellies up there. I’ll let you know when it’s fully functional and ready for business. Meantime you’re always welcome to shop for them here on my website. Oh, and I just added a Gift Card option, so please take advantage of that.
Of course, the hardest part of all this is not being able to reach out and hug your family. I have a granddaughter in Kalamazoo who’s growing up so fast!
I still have plenty of things to do to keep me occupied. I have basement walls to paint. There’s a garden to put in. Dogs to walk. You know, stuff. And there’s always more art to make.
I hope you’re all staying busy and healthy and safe. Take care, everyone. We’ll all get through this together.
Yay! All done. That was quick. Sort of. Compared to the last one, I mean. Skelly Godiva was a challenge in more ways than one but I’m very pleased with how she turned out.
Actually, it might have been worse. Fortunately for me, Collier’s original included a beautiful red blanket covering most of the horse, so I wasn’t faced with a second ribcage to render, hah! It’s the little things that keep me from going insane on these pieces.
This probably took me close to 40 hours to finish. The Old (Dead) Masters paintings often require a lot more craftsmanship, just because I’m going for a pretty accurate copy, otherwise the joke falls flat. Well, maybe it does anyway for some people, but those aren’t the ones I am painting for!
The original has been sold (thank you, Mary!) but of course you may purchase canvas wraps, paper prints and cards of the finished artwork in my shop or things like pillows, phone cases and mugs in my Fine Art America shop.
Thanks again, Megan, for the idea to do a Lady Godiva skeleton painting!
Here are some time-lapses of my latest work in progress, Skelly Godiva. This is number 19 in my Old (Dead) Masters series and it’s based on a classic painting of Lady Godiva by John Collier. Enjoy!