It’s snowing here in the Netherlands! And my neighbors and their kids went out to build a huge igloo outside the house. What a good start to getting inspired for a new painting! And now the story continues. The first evening of snow, my boyfriend told me he saw an owl which is not surprising as the area where we live is filled with lots of interesting flora and fauna. Then the following day, he told me he saw a small brown rabbit in the garden meandering in the snow.. I then began noticing some small paw prints dotted along the snow outside which I assume is our naughty neighborhood cat. To top it up, a friend on FB posted up a photo of a snow cat (snow man but a cat). And of course I decided to tie it all in and make a cute painting with it!!!
(The owl I photographed in Hokkaido last year. The photos of the rabbit I downloaded from google search (watermarked) and snow cat from my friend’s post. Rest is mine)
For this painting I went for my large A3 sized Marabu Mixed Media sketchpad. The paper is nice and thick at 300gsm. First I coated it with some white gesso mixed with a few drops of Indigo acrylic ink and applied with a palette knife, then spreading it across with a short wide bristled brush. The gesso takes a few minutes to dry and once completely dried, I set about my pencil sketch with some dark blue aquarelle pencil, and for the owl and trees in brown.
Based on the inspirations I gathered, I decided to create a little story! The brown bunny goes into the igloo and invites her Teddy Bear friend to build a little snow cat. And what is this cat in the form of? Hello Kitty of of course! I am such a huge fan of Hello Kitty and so had to include her in the story. Then along comes our naughty Ginger tabby cat stops in front of the igloo to say hi. She leaves a trace of her paw prints in the snow. And in the corner is the little owl hooting. How kawaii is that!
I began painting the igloo and the ground with some Titanium fluid acrylic. Making the background in gessoed blue was a great idea as you can see streaks of both the blue and white which further enhances the coldness. The tree branches and parts of the owl were filled in with Antelope Brown ink.
Then for Bunny and Teddy as well as other parts of the Owl, I went for Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold. Vat Orange was used for the cat. Where I had left over paint on my brush, I would smear some on the brown in the trees to pull the painting together. I then mixed some Payne’s Grey ink with some Titanium white fluid acrylic to paint the inside of the igloo, The Payne’s Grey was also used on the owl’s wings and the outline with white for the rest. For the paw prints, I was unable to decide at first and tried a few possibilities. I finally went for white with a tiny bit of the Quinacridone Nickel to warm the painting a bit more.
And time to paint my Hello Kitty! I painted her in with Titanium White paint, using some Cadmium Red Light for the ribbon, whilst drawing her eyes and whiskers in with gel pen. The scarves of Bunny and Teddy were filled in Hansa Yellow Light, a color I also used for Hello Kitty’s nose. Final touch is the smiling eyes of Bunny and Bear with white then black gel pen. And now…!
Funnily enough, the process of this painting was also influenced by following Tracy Verdugo’s Story Painting Class! Gathering images and inspiration to create a little story was her idea so I have her to thank. Another influence from her was creating a painting using a limited color palette, as illustrated above. Whilst the painting is quite simple and relatively quickly done, I am well pleased with it as this cute story really shines through. And you can also feel the coldness of the winter just looking at it but soon warm up because of the warm colors used. So glad to see the little animals are having fun and keeping cozy outside!
Oh my gosh that’s great! I love to hear the stories behind one’s art. I think outside things influence our art more than we realize.
Thanks! And exactly, the best way to get creative is by looking around you and gathering inspiration. 😊