I finally added some finishing touches to my Santa painting and will move on to new projects. If you have not already left a title suggestions for a chance to win a free 8 x 10in print of this image you have until this Friday November 5th, 2010 to leave a name suggestion in the comment section of this blog post or on my Facebook fan page here .
Remember the theme :"Santa is giving the ailing world the gift of water through this magical water bird."
Here are some close-up shots ~
"Santa's Eco Opus Magnum"
Oil on Canvas ~ 16 x 20 inches
Santa is looking the viewer directly in the eye in order to connect. Rather than showing him smiling, his mouth is slightly open as if he is about to speak and/or respond to you. As kids we used to wish for things, perhaps when you ponder about the message of this painting you might be inclined to wish for all the people of the world to have access to clean and free drinking water. Perhaps he is granting the wish?!
The magical bird is made of water and his feathers and fins are supposed to remind us of flowing water. The body is somewhat encased by a representation of the world. Can you guess which continent it is showing?
Santa's hand tenderly rests on the water bird while he feeds it. I love painting hands ~
The cage is a purely decorative element, reinstating the idea of the bird, just in case someone should wonder what that strange looking thing on Santa's lap is.It was also added to balance the painting and add visual interest. Basically eye candy~
The cage is a purely decorative element. In this painting I really limited my color palette to burgundy, orange/yellow and blue. None of the gay reds and greens that we are so accustomed to for Christmas. I hope that you like this departure into the realm of fantasy and wish you gould luck if you participate in the challenge.
I took this painting to my booth at Art A Fair and continued work on it. It is a lot of fun to engage in conversations with the show visitors and receive input and thoughts on this project. Everyone seems to be in agreement that the message of Santa giving the ailing world the gift of water is a good topic and an interesting approach to show Santa addressing not only our
wishes for material things, but also what we really need in order to survive as a species.
Don't forget to leave your title suggestions in the comment section below!
I am still tinkering away at the magical bird and it's body while wondering what to do with the background. Enlightenment has not struck yet and it looks like Santa 2010 might have to take a back seat while I work on a couple of new portrait commissions.
I started work on this Santa in 2009, but had to stop due to my shoulder problem. Then came the portrait commission of Sarah and poor Santa was set aside until now. I can not sit idle for long and prefer to work while exhibiting at shows, so I take this painting with me and continue to work at it. People love to watch an artist at work and this gives me a chance to share a bit of my studio work with them.
The magical bird still needs a lot of work and it's body which represents earth needs to be further developed. Can you tell which part of the globe is being shown?
Help me find a title ~ win a free print! All you have to do is leave me a comment on this blogor on my Facebook Fan Page . When the painting is finished I will do a drawing and the person whose title I have chosen receives a free print of this painting!
I like to start with a monochrome under painting. This enables me to figure out how the figure relates to it's settings and which areas need to be in shadow or in the light.
When adults make wishes ~ what do they wish for? One of the things I wish for is a healthy planet where we can all live in peace. So this got me thinking about how to translate this into a painting that still fits within the Santa series.
In Santa's domain everything goes, so why not have him care for a magical bird that symbolizes the most important thing to him - planet "Earth" . The goal is to make the bird's body, not only be a globe, but one that sparkles with water. Without water - there is no earth. Of course that created all sorts of challenges as far as how to fill the empty space on Santa's right side, story, etc...
I created a cage that is not really a cage but sort of a fancy water nest. I haven't tackled the water reflection yet, because quiet frankly I have to built a mock up cage first to see what to reflect.
My other problem is the background. I know it needs to be quiet dark, but I don't know what. For now I keep thinking having drapes, unless the aha moment happens and something better pops to mind.
Almost forgot those big buttons on his garment will be medals of freedom. While looking for buttons and medals, I found a real medal that represents freedom showing birds in flight. Gotta love the internet!
~ Preparing the Props
Have you ever wondered what the artist thought when he or she painted a particular painting? I do this all the time and try to create an interesting narrative in my own work as well.
After finding a suitable Santa figure, I started to look through some more photos I took to find a suitable costume. Of course the color was off and a lot of cutting and pasting had to be done in Photoshop to redress my model. Here is when I wished I had access to a great seamstress and a wonderful model. Alas...
In the reference photo the model's hand is raised and I needed to find something that fits into that space and acts as the anchor for the story line. Here is where it got really tricky. The shape of the hand dictated what could be used and I figured the easiest would be a ball. But a ball is boring, what would Santa do with a ball? Get ready to place it in a sack? Already done, boring!
Writers pick a word and by means of association find a substitute. I did the same, I wrote ball, bowling ball, head of a polar bear, clock face, snow globe, world - aha - world -glass world perhaps? Where are those photos of the glass marbles?
But that still didn't make for a storyline. So now it was time to get imaginative and think children stories. Using the ball as the body, I made an imaginary bird. I repeated the same thought process for the tail and claws and ended up using an antique fish knife.
So now Santa is consulting his fantastic bird about world affairs or maybe he is just taking some time out with his pet?
I still had some empty space and filled it with a decorative bird cage. So right now the stage is set, the characters in place and it's up to me to breathe life into it so that you can read your own story into the painting.