I don’t know about you but the greatest gift I can receive is a hug from my grand kids, let alone when one comes up and cuddles in for the long haul just because. Well that is what happened Christmas day 2019. I was sitting on the sofa with my granddaughter when she leaned into me and got real comfortable. This was not the first time by any means, but as she is 16 now it was kind of a surprise. A very wonderful surprise.
I’m not sure why it surprised me, but it did. You see my eldest grandson (18) started collage this fall, and well I guess I have been telling myself that since him and his sister are full grown that this old lady was going to have to learn that she was just not going to see them much anymore. “They will go off to school, get lives of their own, move away and lets face it, what young adult wants to hang out with an old lady? right?”
Now I’m not one for Drama, or feeling sorry for myself and dwell on negative things (AT ALL!) But this one kinda came in the back door without me noticing. Even without me realizing that I was thinking it. It just seamed like a fact.
But this Christmas proved all of those worries to be totally false. First of all, My grandson goes to school south of home and so he just stopped in to visit with me on his way home for Christmas vacation. I almost missed him because I was playing my stereo so loud. LOL! But he pounded loudly on my door to make sure I heard him. We talked for over 2 hours (something that he and I have never done before.) Grown up to grown up. It was the most fabulous thing to happen to me in years. We found out that we had a lot in common, and that many of our thought patterns were the same. We even like some of the same music! It was absolutely a magical moment in time that I will cherish for ever.
Then on Christmas day as I was sitting on the sofa beside my 16 year old grand daughter, she turned and leaned into me and snuggled in and stayed there for about 20 minutes, maybe more. At one point my arm went to sleep and my back started hurting, but I wasn’t about to move and possibly end this beautifully precious moment. Realizing that this was a fleeting moment in time, I asked my daughter to please take a photo of us together so I could cherish it forever. (Something I rarely do, but I am doing more often these days.)
Then a couple days later I see this post on my granddaughter’s Instagram and I was moved to tears. So much for my fears of the kids not enjoying time with this old lady! LOL!
To my surprise my husband heard me ask my daughter to take a photo and he pulled out his camera as well, so I was blessed with two different views. While I loved the head on shot my daughter took, the side view from my husband struck me as a potential painting.
So a couple days after Christmas I started on the painting. It was so wonderful to work on this one with the joy of this memory so fresh in my mind.
I started out with just basically blocking in the forms and trying to get a good start on the values. I did not worry so much about likeness right away.
The red blanket on the back of the sofa stops behind my granddaughter’s head in the photo, but I wanted to use that bright color of the blanket as part of the composition to bring attention to the two faces. So the blanket magically got a little bigger.
One of the tools I like to use while painting a portrait is to take photos of the progress as I go and compare them to either the reference photo or to a previous stage in the painting to see if I am getting closer to the likeness of the subjects or further away. It is amazing what this process can point out to the eye very quickly.
Another tool I like to use is to change the photo of the painting to Black and white to check if my values are correct. Nothing makes a painting fail quicker then not getting the values correct.
This painting is only a 12″x 16″ so these faces were pretty small. I’m not sure why I keep doing this to myself, but it is hard to get a likeness when the faces are only about 2″ square.
Once finished with the painting, I purchased a lovely floating frame for this gallery wrapped canvas and wrapped it up as a valentines gift for my beautiful Granddaughter. It was such a joy to take her and her mom out for a coffee and to present her with my heart in the form of a painting. I think she liked it! What do you think? I sure do love this KIDDO~